The 2019 Royal Variety Show is officially underway! This particular event has been happening annually since 1912, with the proceeds donated to the Royal Variety Charity, which supports elderly or ill members of the entertainment industry. The Queen herself is patron, however a royal presence at the show is often delegated to another member of the family in honor of George V and Queen Mary’s presence in its inaugural year.
For those who missed the recaps of the first three episodes, you can catch up here, here, and here. With that, let’s get into this season’s fourth episode, “Bubbikins,” which covers an event I had completely forgotten about when predicting what would be shown this year: the Royal Family documentary. The episode merges three separate events that actually occurred: a poorly received interview by Philip, the filming and release of a two-hour special on the Royal Family, and the arrival of Philip’s mother, Princess Alice, at Buckingham Palace.
So, I lied – instead of posting this tomorrow morning, I decided to make this a three-post day. Happy Sunday and all that. Now: This season’s third episode will likely be among those that sticks out from the rest. It covers a real tragedy that occurred in Wales in October 1966 when the spoil tip (accumulated waste from coal mining) in Aberfan, Wales collapsed, slid down a slurry, and killed 144 people, 116 of which were children due to the debris hitting a nearby junior school. This episode begins by showing the disaster itself, but the majority of it covers the fallout for the British government, including its Head of State.
And so we have our first real Margaret-focused episode of the season, however the real focus is not yet on her marriage (though we are given a bigger glimpse), but on her relationship with Elizabeth. The inherent inequality of their stations is a theme the show has covered since its first season. Indeed, this particular situation – Elizabeth looking on jealously while Margaret shines – isn’t anything new; an earlier iteration of it exists via the episode, “Pride & Joy.”
After a nearly two-year gap, here we are again, convened for royal super bowl. For those who missed it, there’s a post from yesterday that level-sets where we left off in The Crown’s Season 2, so let’s get straight into it. It’s still 1964 in this season’s premier, but we are introduced to a new cast of characters who will carry us through the next two seasons. The show acknowledges this via the cold open, which has Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth reviewing new stamps bearing her image, the more updated sitting side-by-side with one featuring Claire Foy.
One benefit to a recent cold snap we’ve had is that it’s given me plenty of time to re-watch Season 2 of the The Crown in anticipation of this weekend. While I think I have watched it since its premier two years ago, I honestly can’t remember when that was, so it’s been a minute and was definitely necessary for re-acclimating myself to where we left off with the characters. I also went back and re-read my wrap-up of the second season, and, well, apparently I was quite displeased with the lack of character development the show focused on its central figure: the Queen(!)
The Duchess of Cambridge was in Norfolk today to officially open the Nook, a children’s hospice within her capacity as patron of East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH). This project has been in the works for years, with Kate having helped the organization launch its initial appeal for financing way back in November 2014. Since then, she’s carried out a series of supportive engagements that have helped raise awareness.
After a somber weekend, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge re-appeared on Tuesday to celebrate the volunteers working on their recently-launched text service, Shout, which aims to support those going through mental health crises. The program began in May under the umbrella of The Royal Foundation when it was still headed by the Cambridges and the Sussexes, but it’s been kept under the remit of the Cambridges since the split with the Sussexes still serving as secondary patrons. Notably, the Sussexes included a shout-out (no pun intended) for this engagement on their Instagram, while William acknowledged their roles in his speech. For those keeping track of the back and forth…;)
On Sunday, following the previous evening’s Festival of Remembrance, the British Royal Family turned out for the Remembrance service at The Cenotaph. This annual event is not only a hallmark of the royal calendar, but one that convenes the UK’s veterans, senior politicians, and members of the public for a somber recognition of those who lost their lives in service to the nation. Frankly, there are few countries who mark this occasion better.
On Saturday night, the Royal Family congregated at Royal Albert Hall for this year’s Festival of Remembrance, the prelude to Sunday’s formal ceremony. Like Trooping the Colour, it’s an event that nearly always draws the entire family, so high is its significance on the royal calendar.