Five Things to Watch for in A Royal Night Out (2015)


UK and Commonwealth fans of World War II costume flicks have another film to add to their must-watch list (there’s no specific release date listed for us Yanks, just October 2015). The comedy-drama A Royal Night Out is shaping up to be 2015’s answer to The King’s Speech (2010), this time focusing on the daughters of George VI, the Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) and their efforts to celebrate VE Day in as normal a way as possible for two teenage princesses who have just lived through the sheer hell that was WWII.

The plot appears to be relatively uncomplicated, with a hint of romance, a dash of excitement, and a touch of pathos, all dusted with feel-good humor. Is this movie going to blow your mind? Probably not, but it does have a number of things going for it. Such as…


1. Rupert Everett as King George VI

2015 A Royal Night Out

I get tummy flutters over those pursed lips!

I will watch ANYTHING with Rupert Everett in it. I will watch him read the phone book silently to himself. I will watch him brush his teeth. I don’t care what he’s doing, if he’s doing it, I will watch it because he’s JUST THAT GOOD TO WATCH.


2. 1940s Tailoring Everywhere

2015 A Royal Night Out

I should also mention that their hair is ON POINT.

One of the hallmarks of women’s fashion in the 1940s is that it was very tailored. Nipped-in waists, broad shoulders, curve-hugging skirts ending just below the knee … Costume-wise, it is a tailoring nerd’s paradise. Claire Anderson is the costume designer, and she’s been involved mainly with modern films until A Royal Night Out. It’s hard to mess up the 1940s since there’s so much extant material to pull from, including clothes that are still wearable, sewing patterns, and visual reference material in the form of film, magazines, photographs, etc. That said, I think Claire’s design intuition is pretty decent on the whole and the costumes look believably 1940s.


3. Pretty Pretty Princesses in Pink Dresses

2015 A Royal Night Out

I need Elizabeth’s dress. Like, right now.

I’ll admit this gets me right in the little girl feels. Look at these dresses! They are beyond precious, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. I would kill to have such a dress.


4. Excellent ’40s Hair and Makeup

2015 A Royal Night Out

And not a victory roll among them…

Pay attention to the eyebrows, in particular. They actually are shaped how women would have worn them in the ’40s (thin and arched), not like they are today (wooly face caterpillars).


5. Elizabeth’s Military Uniform

2015 A Royal Night Out

How YOU doin’?

It always seems like the military historians can pick out a minor flaw in a movie costume uniform a mile away, so don’t take my word for its accuracy. Again, it’s really about the tailoring for me. I just love this era for its structured female clothing.

I can’t comment on much else since I have not yet been able to see the film, but the lighthearted trailer will give you a pretty good idea of how the costumes look on the hoof, as it were.


Have you seen A Royal Night Out? Share your thoughts in the comments!


About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

5 Responses

  1. Michael L. McQuown

    Thee should be a number of pics of HRH Elizabeth in uniform; the official one and many taken by the press.
    To expand on your comment about accuracy, there is no real excuse to ever screw up military uniforms from the 18th century on since there are many surviving and preserved examples in regimental museums, national military museums, etc. There are also those wonderful books originally published primarily for gamers but widely used by reenactors which come from Osprey.

  2. Clara

    PRETTY PRINCESSES IN PINK, I AM IN. (Plus Elizabeth is my girlcrush Sarah Gadon who will also be playing Ebba Sparre in the Queen Christina of Sweden biopic “The Girl King”)

  3. K.

    1940’s should be hard to mess up, yes, but it is messed up quite frequently and quite a lot anyway – sexed up, dumbed down, made all black and white, heroic and sentimental.

    And the hair is never as frizzy, flyaway and sometimes just plain bad as it should be. But that’s allright, I suppose.


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