A Royal Night Out is a 2015 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Julian Jarrold and written by Trevor de Silva and Kevin Hood. The film stars Sarah Gadon as the young Princess Elizabeth, who with Princess Margaret (Bel Powley) ventures out of Buckingham Palace to enjoy the VE Day celebrations.
On VE Day in 1945, as peace is declared across Europe and London is celebrating, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed to join the celebrations, against the Queen's wishes. The King, impressed by Elizabeth's pleading, asks her to report back on the people's feelings towards him and his midnight speech on the radio.
Each girl, incognito, is chaperoned by an army officer with an itinerary to be back at Buckingham Palace by 1 a.m. Soon realising the Queen's planned itinerary does not fulfil their expectations of fun and meeting the ordinary people, Margaret is the first to slip away from her escort, followed by Elizabeth.
The princesses are separated on two different buses. Margaret is befriended by a naval officer seeking to take advantage of what he believes is just an ordinary girl, and Elizabeth by an airman who is absent without leave.
Margaret is led by her naval officer into a world of nightclubs, gambling, spiked drinks and brothels. Elizabeth and her airman have their own adventures trying to catch up with Margaret, which take them far beyond the 1 a.m. deadline into the early hours of the following morning.
The two officer escorts and the airman in the screenplay were fictional creations. In reality, the princesses in an organised group of 16 went out at 10 p.m. to mingle with revellers, and returned to Buckingham Palace at 1 a.m.
A Royal Night Out was released in the United Kingdom on 8 May 2015 and on DVD on 7 September 2015. The film was released in the United States on 4 December 2015, and released on DVD on 3 May 2016.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 71% rating, based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Undeniably slight yet thoroughly charming, A Royal Night Out uses a fascinating historical footnote as a springboard into a fun dramedy diversion." Metacritic reports a 59 out of 100 rating, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".