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Image of film still A Royal Night Out 470

A Royal Night Out takes to the streets

Date posted: 13.05.2015

V.E. Day, 1945. As Churchill's famous radio address announces peace in Europe, the crowds spill out onto the streets to celebrate the end of the war.

A Royal Night Out, directed by Julian Jarrold and written by Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood, throws this momentous occasion into a new light. The film, released this Friday, presents the never-before-told story of the night Britain's two young princesses escaped the confines of Buckingham Palace to join the city's celebrations. 

The film peers behind the walls of the palace, as Elizabeth (Dracula Untold's Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) beg their parents to let them out. Swept up in the moment, King Edward (Rupert Everett) and Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson) relent, and the girls embark on an evening of dancing, laughter and - for some - the first glimpses of romance.

Fit for a queen

With the girls passing incognito among the bustling crowds on London's streets, the film sees them take in some of the capital's iconic landmarks and nightlife hotspots. While some of the filming may have taken place outside of the capital, there could be no substitute for the original. "We could not double Trafalgar Square, The Mall or Buckingham Palace," says location manager Tom Howard. "So we decided to use the real thing."

The shoot was greatly helped by members of the London Filming Partnership, Film London's network of organisations who work together to make the capital a film-friendly city. Howard continues: "The GLA helped enormously with allowing a 24hr occupation of Trafalgar Square with 250 extras and a WWII spot light. The Westminster special events office allowed us to lay a roadway to place buses and vehicles back on the North Terrace for the night. Royal Parks also were involved greatly from the start with presenting the script to the Palace to see if they had any objection to us recreating the celebrations at Canada Gates, which they did not. Battersea Park and Hammersmith Bridge also played their parts in recreating this special night."

"Filming in London is challenging," he adds, "but always seems to come up trumps!"

Celebrate with London's Screen Archives

Want to see what life was really like in 1945? We celebrated the 70th anniversary of V.E. Day with this film of a street party from London's Screen Archives. See the residents of Ridsdale Road, Anerley welcome the news with a tea party, tug of war and a few Union Jack hats.

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