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September 2, 2016

Seldom do I exclaim “Wonderful” about a motion picture, but A Royal Night Out starring Sarah Gadon as Princess Elizabeth and Bel Powley as Margaret is, simply, WONDERFUL.

The Founding Fathers wrestled with the visible signs of monarchy by prohibiting “hereditary titles” and were troubled by the problem of concentration of power in the Executive branch of the new government. The person of George Washington and jealousy of the States kept the Executive Branch under wraps for at least half a century, but in the 19th century a very different attitude toward government power began to grow.

As Americans, we’ve lived with rejection of the idea of royalty and can become quite upset when an elected politician assumes too much and begins to act as if he inherited his office.

Nevertheless, there are aspects of human nature that can’t be denied easily.

I have long suspected that deep need explains personalized license plates and the drive to certify ourselves by acquiring degrees, certificates and diplomas. Even the Vietnam Memorial satisfies this need by giving a place on “the wall” for the names of our fallen.

How deeply we humans need affirmation of our personal and national greatness is revealed in a feature film about young Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen of England, and her sister Margaret, on the evening of VE-Day.  The English had suffered through a very long war beginning in 1939, a European war that the United States entered in 1941. On the day that Victory in Europe was declared, a war weary British nation celebrated by spontaneously convening a national party to end all parties.

Seeing this from Buckingham Palace, the two cloistered sisters resolved to join the fun.

What they experienced and learned about their fellow countrymen was life shaping for them and their story told in A Royal Night Out gives us Americans a peek at what it means for countries where inherited titles and a monarchy have been preserved. That vision, I assure you, is quite wonderful.


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