- Philip: But everyone does have one!
- Queen: I don't have a bottom. I'm the Queen.
- Philip: But what do you sit on?
- Queen: Cushions.
- Philip: But what do you sit on when you go to the loo?
- Queen: I don't go to the loo. I'm the Queen.
The excellent film centres on the week between Diana's death and her funeral. I was lucky enough to avoid most of this as I was on holiday in Cornwall, in a house with no TV. We got the gist of it, we read the occasional paper, and when we drove back on funeral day the roads were empty. I remember wishing this kind of thing could happen more often.
The film has laughter and tragedy; it has all the charged emotion of the time; it has the squirming at the first inklings of just how ghastly the funeral is going to be. And it backs up what I felt back then. We have no idea what was going through the heads and hearts of the royals as they spent most of the week up in Balmoral. And how dare anyone suggest otherwise? I mean - how dare anyone lecture another, who has suffered a personal bereavement (when the lecturer has never even met the dead person, or at best parasited off her existence) ... how DARE that person lecture the bereaved one on how she should be acting? It should have been exactly what the first instinct and (apparently) the Spencers said it should be - a private, non-state affair.
But no. It sickened me then and it sickens me now. Boo-bloody-hoo, our fairytale princess has died so come and show us you care. Face it, it was not the British people's finest hour. But, the Queen got the public mood wrong, Blair got it right and the result was Goodbye England's Rose.
(Another Spitting Image sketch I remember has Diana choosing a name for her recently born second child. "I thought of Henry because that's what all my friends are called, yah, right?" Exactly.)
Technically, the Queen was correct in every decision. Diana wasn't a royal, she certainly didn't deserve a state funeral, and the Royal Standard doesn't get flown at half mast for anyone (not even the Queen's father when he died) because that's not what it's for. But enough people shouted loudly enough to get their way anyway. In one respect, the Queen did what she was told by the people, which is good; but in another, it was basically a more-or-less benevolent form of mob rule and that is bad.
The film has a nice dig at the end about the ease with which one can fall from grace in the media, in the form of advice from the battle-chastened Queen to her new Prime Minister who during the affair was voted more popular than Churchill. Of course, Churchill's war had a point to it. And he won.