The Queen's Sister (2005)

 

 

Director:     Simon Cellan Jones.

Starring:     Lucy Cohu (Princess Margaret),  Meredith MacNeill (Sharman Douglas),  Alex Barclay (Billy Wallace),  Edward Tudor-Pole (Cecil Beaton),  James Wallace (Sunny Blandford),  Aden Gillett (Peter Townsend),  Douglas Reith (Horace Featherstonehaugh),  Felicity Montagu (Gillian Fleming),  Peggy Batchelor (Mile End Flat Woman),  Peter Gordon (Mile End Flat Man),  David Threlfall (Prince Philip - Duke of Edinburgh),  Michael Elwyn (Archbishop Fisher),  Bruno Ouvrard (French Newspaper man),  Robert Fitch (Piers Waldron),  Jonathan Hansler (Colin Tennant). 

biopic of Queen Elizabeth II's sister Margaret (Peggy) who had a knack for getting into trouble

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

Margaret sings and the audience gives her a big applause.  Townsend comes in and she tells he that he is late. 

The King passed away in his sleep.  Elizabeth II is the queen now.  Margaret is her sister.  When she see her father's dead body laying on the bed she says:  "That's not my father." 

Princess Margaret is going with Captain Peter Townsend, the first Englishman to shoot down a German airplane.  Philip, husband to the Queen, advises Margaret not to marry Townsend.  If she does, she will lose all that she has.  Townsend is a divorced man.  Margaret tells him he thinks that she will end up like Uncle Edward who married a common woman and a divorcee Wallace Simpson.   The Princess says that Peter just married the wrong woman because the woman he married isn't her (Margaret).  Her sister will only speak to her through Philip.  Margaret says she likes Peter because he is the only one who makes her feel like she has not completely disappeared. Philip says that she marry Peter under civil law but the Church of England cannot marry the same man twice.  But, once again, Margaret will receive no salary is she marries.  Margaret screams that she wants to see her personally.  Philip gives her a letter from the Queen. 

The Princess decides not to marry Peter.  Her friend tells her now that the public loves her even more.  One newspaper even calls her a saint.   Her friend takes Margaret to Cafe au Paris where the Princess receives a strong round of applause.  When she sits the applause stops.  Margaret starts smoking.  This starts many of the women in the restaurant smoking.  Before this the women did not smoke in public.  To stir things up she kisses her best friend.  On the news it is denied that Margaret is having a relationship with here friend, who is the daughter of the US ambassador to Great Britain. 

At what appears to be a sex party, the men's names are put in to one hat and the women's names in another hat.  Each person chooses a member of the opposite sex and then they pair up in a room.  Margaret's partner turns out to the the photographer Tony Armstrong Jones.  He likes to call himself an artist. the like each other and soon Tony is driving her around on the back of his Vespa motor scooter.  They go into the shared bathroom and she gives Tony a blow job (not shown).  Then they have sexual relations. 

Tony and Margaret go to a night club.  Margaret wants to sing for everyone.  She sings:  "Let's Fall in Love." 

Margaret is the one who asks Tony about marrying her, but she flips it around on him and she asks him:  "Are you proposing to me?"   They both say the could be happy married to the other. 

Tony and Margaret go to a pub.  Tony gets into a scuffle with a rude bar patron and is getting beat up.  Margaret goes into action telling the other man:  "You will not menace the House of Windsor."  Then everyone realizes that this strange woman is none other than Princess Margaret.   The assaulter is shocked that he was fighting the boyfriend of Princess Margaret.  Everyone applauds for Margaret.  She tells Tony that she wants to marry as soon as possible. 

The wedding of Tony and Margaret will be broadcast on BBC TV.  It is billed as the royal wedding of the people's princess.  A member of Parliament named Willie Hamilton starts criticizing the costs of such broadcasts of the royals. Philip gives Tony some pointers on how to behave around the royals.  When he has to wait, says Philip, the best position is with one's hands behind the back.  He also tells Tony that he must walk three steps behind the Princess. 

Princess Margaret starts looking at houses.  She has big plans for the house she wants.  The redecoration will cost 60,000 pounds. 

The couple marry and go on a honeymoon.  One of Margaret's friends says he and his wife will build a house for her on the island on which she and Tony vacation.  She will have a big part of the peninsula, but Margaret asks her friends for even more land. 

Tony is now known as Lord Snowden.  When they go for the christening of their first child, Tony is upset when he cannot even go up to the baptismal fount with his wife and child.  He is beginning to feel as though he does not matter. 

At a party Margaret flirts with some of the men.  Meanwhile, Tony is with a pretty girl.  Tony goes over to his friend Barton and asks if he will watch out for his wife.  He is planning to go to Paris and is taking that pretty blonde, his assistant, with him.  Tony will be shooting a ballet for his paper.  When Tony is in Paris, Margaret has sex with Barton, but she looks bored while having intercourse.  Margaret is driven to the airfield to meet Tony when he arrives home from Paris.  She sees his assistant Jackie coming out of the plane after Tony had already deplaned.  When Tony gets in the car Margaret asks why did he ignore his assistant.  She thinks it's because he noticed his wife's car at the airfield.  Margaret is definitely jealous and definitely angry. 

Tony wants a quiet dinner at home wearing casual clothing.  This upsets the butler who offers Tony a jacket to wear.  Tony tells him to buzz off and the butler is offended.  Margaret sticks up for the butler saying that Tony cannot talk to the servants like that.  Tony is angry. 

One day Tony comes to pick up his son.  The butler informs him that his son is out with his mother.  Then Tony asks for his daughter.  His daughter is at home, but with the nanny and the butler refuses to give the key to Tony.  Tony starts chasing the butler to get the key, but after he tackles and searches the butler, he discovers that the butler doesn't really have the key.  So Tony goes over to the locked nursery room and demands that the nanny open the door.  She refuses and he kicks the door open.   This really frightens his daughter and she really screams and cries.  Tony realizes that was a mistake and starts to leave.  He passes Margaret coming up the steps who is asking him what has he done?  The butler tenders his resignation. 

The couple is really at each other's throat now.  Margaret accuses him of seeing someone behind her back.  Tony looks his door to keep her out of his room. 

Willie Hamilton, M.P. criticizes Margaret for her wayward ways.  Margaret now wonders what they all will say when she has to turn up at ceremonies without Tony.  She decides to skip a planned ceremony and goes to see the stage musical "Hello, Dolly!  Princess Margaret enters her box and stands by her chair waiting for the applause for her.  There is a long delay.  Nobody is paying any attention to her.  The manager has to go around telling the people to clap for the Princess.  Finally the applause starts and slowly gains speed until everyone is up on their feet and clapping for her.  Only then does she sit down.  Only now does her mood improve. 

Suddenly, Margaret's girlfriend notices Tony and Jackie leaving the theater.  Margaret is really angry with her husband.  When she sees him at home she tells him:  "You will not piss on the altar."  Tony replies that his wife drinks way too much.  Margaret denies that.  She tells Tony that they are going to Sunninghill.  Tony says he is not going.  He is going to Old House with the children.  Margaret tells he he cannot take the children.  Tony goes to his room locking the door behind him.  Now Margaret feels bad and she asks through the door:  "Tony, what are you making me pay for?"  Then she says that she can get someone too. 

Margaret loves to sing.  She is alone at a nightclub and starts singing to the songs played by the piano player.  A newspaperman is watching her.  Margaret goes home with the piano player and has sex with him.  The newspaperman soon gets photos of the affair.  The piano player is Robin Douglas-Home, the nephew of the Prime Minister.  This was the first suggestion of impropriety against the Princess. 

Tony is furious with her.  She says he has affairs too, but Tony points out that this is different, because she got her face on the front page!  He yells at her:  "Good God, Margaret, think of the children!"

Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.  Tony and Margaret lie for the cameras saying they are still together and still very happy.  After Tony leaves, Margaret thinks she can relax.  But she gets a note and she has to tell a girlfriend that she has to go back home.  Philip tells Margaret that the people believed her about the marriage, but she showed the people what she is doing with the money they give her and they don't like it.  The average couple are freezing at home while Margaret is having a good time in the Caribbean.  And Willie Hamilton is on Margaret's case again.  She tells Philip that Willie Hamilton is a pain in her ass, but Philip says he's not nearly the pain that Margaret is.  He says Margaret's activities actually threaten to pull down what it took a thousand years to build up.  He adds that some of the royals refuse to be pulled down by Margaret.  Margaret doesn't know how she can improve her image and asks Philip what she should do.  He suggests that she lie low for awhile.  And above all, she should not get involved with still another man.  Philip says that men have always been her poison. 

Margaret calls her friend Rachel and Curly Burke and asks to stay with them for awhile.  She says she is lying low, but a few occasional diners "with trusted familiars" would be good.  At one of the dinners Margaret is introduced to a young man named Roddy Llewellyn.  Rachel tells her that Roddy likes to sing and he even knows the singer Petula Clark.  Margaret sings with him, walks with him and goes to bed with him.  Rachel comes to Margaret and Roddy and wants to speak to Margaret in private.  Margaret says she can talk in front of Roddy.  Rachel tells her that Robin Douglas-Home has killed himself and the press found out where she is and are on their way here. 

To get away from the press Roddy takes her up to his farm that he shares with a group of hippies.  She talks a lot at dinner and seems to enjoy working in the garden.  On television she is very disturbed when she sees her husband going to Robin's funeral services with her mother.  The press arrive to see Margaret, but the hippies won't let them into the house.  The press leave.  Margaret tells Roddy they should go to Mystique.  They kiss and hug.  Just then a photographer snaps their picture through the window. 

With Philip Margaret watches her husband Tony on television.  He says that Princess Margaret and he are to be divorced. He also says he has done everything in his power to avoid divorce, but it has to be divorce for the sake of the children.  Philip tells Margaret that in addition to losing her marriage, she has lost her pension too.  He says that Elizabeth has been very generous to her by allotting a considerable sum to her each month from her own funds.  Margaret asks Philip:  "Are you angry with me?"  Philip smiles and says:  "What would be the point?"   Margaret takes it in stride and says she is not angry either. 

Margaret hangs out with some hippie types.  She gets stoned and acts very foolishly. 

On the news the big story is that Princess Margaret is being released from the hospital after being treated for exhaustion.  She falls on the steps as she is escorted out of the hospital.  Bothered by all the photographers, she asks a photographer if she could take some pictures with his camera.  He gives her the camera and she deliberately lets it fall.  The camera breaks and Margaret tells the photographer to bill her. 

Margaret goes back to the hippie farm to see Roddy.  Roddy tells her that he is going to marry one of the women of the farm named Pru.  Margaret congratulates him.  She says that when she learned of the death of Robin she promised herself she would think about it later.  But when she came to the farm, she completely forgot about Robin.  And now all she wants to do is work in the garden.  Roddy tells her that she should go home and Margaret simply says:  "I understand." 

Margaret sits in a chair by a heated swimming pool.   She takes a walk on the beach.  She is alone.

 

Very entertaining movie.  Lucy Cohu as Princess Margaret was very good and sexy too in the role of Princess Margaret.  Watching the film about Margaret was like watching a train wreck, because Margaret was in a downward spiral and couldn't stop it.  It seemed like she had an addiction to men, booze and good times.  As her brother-in-law said, men were her poison (or addiction).  She went from one man to another and another.  She lost her marriage and her pension and the good will of the people of Britain, and yet she still went on to another affair with a young man.  She definitely needed psychiatric help of some kind or another. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

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