My series review is here. Or read my episode recaps: episode 1 (Gold Stick), episode 2 (The Balmoral Test), episode 3 (Fairytale), episode 4 (Favourites), episode 5 (Fagan), episode 6 (Terra Nullius), episode 7 (The Hereditary Principle), episode 8 (48:1), and episode 10 (War).
“Now – much more importantly, who is Billy Jo-el?”
A white dress is being put in position backstage, while ballet dancer Wayne Sleep tells the dresser that only four people know what is about to happen.
Diana and Charles arrive at the Royal Opera House for an arts gala, to celebrate Prince Charles’s 37th birthday.
During the opera scenes, she looks as if she’s about to fall asleep – then she excuses herself from the royal box, before surprising him and the audience by appearing on stage and dancing with Wayne Sleep to Uptown Girl. Charles is not impressed.
Still, the pair get an eight-minute standing ovation. In the car on the way home Charles is furious – he tells her the newspapers will be full of her the next morning when it’s his birthday – and she tells him she is starting to loathe him. He goes back to Highgrove in Gloucestershire.
The next morning at breakfast, the Duke of Edinburgh discusses Diana’s dance with the Queen. “Why did you never do that for me?… like Salome,” he asks her, with his wife replying tartly that he had his own ballerinas for that. She then asks him who Billy Joel is.
On 10 March 1988, Charles and Diana are away skiing with friends in Klosters in Switzerland. There’s an avalanche, and Charles and some of his friends are caught in it.
Martin Charteris goes to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. He tells them Charles is missing, and that the party was skiing on a challenging off-piste slope; two people have been swept away and a man’s body found. If Charles is dead, there are contingency plans already in place.
Charles’s codename in case of his death is revealed to be Menai Bridge. The Queen tells Philip they are all bridges, because bridges are seen as linking the life and the next: she is London Bridge, the Queen Mum is Tay Bridge, and the Duke of Edinburgh is Forth Bridge.
Charles is confirmed safe with his friend Mrs Palmer-Tompkinson in intensive care. Hugh Lindsay has been killed. His widow Sarah, who is pregnant, works in the Buckingham Palace press office.
Warned by Martin Charteris to expect more speculation about the Waleses’ marriage, the Queen visits Princess Anne at Gatcombe Park and asks her about it. Anne tells her mother that he is older than his age while Diana is younger than hers, creating “not an age gap but an age chasm”. Despite both being aristocrats they have different personalities and live on different planets (“plenets”).
All things considered, Anne thinks they’ve done quite well. But now they’re moving away from each other – Prince Harry has been born, duty has been done – and both are seeing other people. Charles is seeing Camilla, facilitated by much of Gloucestershire, but Diana is seeing more men.
Princess Margaret has told Anne of a “revolving door” at Kensington Palace, where Diana lives; the marriage is actually in a worse state than the papers are saying.
Hugh Lindsay’s funeral takes place.
Charles tells Camilla that when he thought he might die, under the snow, he realised he wanted her as his wife and not Diana.
Diana and Charles meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen says royal marriages are a reflection on the monarchy and asks if neither no longer wants to make the marriage work. Charles starts to talk, but Diana interrupts: she does want to make it work, she pleads enticingly, and explains that on hearing about the avalanche she realised what they’ve been doing to each other in the marriage.
The Queen talks of respect, turning a blind eye (here the camera is on Philip…), arrangements they might come to. Diana says she’ll commit to anything. Charles asks if he gets to speak; “To say what? What else is there to say?” asks the Duke, baffled. Charles visits Camilla, furious at being outmanoeuvred by his wife.
Diana tells her therapist she’s given her lover James Hewitt the boot and wants to make the marriage work. Then she tells her own staff she won’t take his calls. She wants to make the marriage work – their seventh anniversary is approaching. Meanwhile Charles is trying to fit in a weekend in Scotland with Camilla. The date he has chosen is his wedding anniversary, and Adeane tells him Diana would like them both to be at Highgrove that weekend. Charles looks horrified.
Diana is driving the children to Highgrove, listing to Queens’ Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Charles is going round the house removing all evidence of Camilla, including photos and her nightie. At dinner they give each other presents. He has bought Diana a history of her childhood home, Althorp, commissioned in 1822 by her ancestor. She tells him performing is how she can show him how she really feels. Her gift to him is a video of her singing on stage, in costume, All I Ask Of You from The Phantom of the Opera. They watch it together, and yes his face is a picture.
He later tells Anne how awful the performance was. Anne is frank with her brother: that no one wants the Waleses’ marriage to end including Camilla; and that Camilla’s marriage is actually happy in its own way.
He has a heart-to-heart with Camilla in his car, asking if she would be prepared to leave her husband Andrew Parker Bowles if the opportunity arose. She asks him to remain realistic but tells him she does love him.
Charles continually refuses to take Diana’s calls. She gets back in touch with Major Hewitt and smuggles him into Kensington Palace, and Charles is informed by his spies.