My series review is here. Read the recap for episode 2 (The Balmoral Test), for episode 3 (Fairytale), episode 4 (Favourites), episode 5 (Fagan), episode 6 (Terra Nullius), episode 7 (The Hereditary Principle), episode 8 (48:1), episode 9 (Avalanche), and episode 10 (War).
One already iron-willed woman is dominating the headlines, and another, who’ll be forced to become so, appears on the scene
Trooping the Colour takes place at Buckingham Palace to a voiceover of a speech from Irish Republicans about redoubling their efforts, “so that the Crown retreats and leaves Ireland forever.” On the palace balcony, Earl Mountbatten joins the Royals. Over lunch they discuss Charles’ love life.
Charles goes to Althorp, the stately home belonging to Earl Spencer, to go rising with Sarah Spencer, Diana’s older sister. He sort of meets Diana, who is dressed as a tree and hiding behind a plant. Later Sarah tells him Di was desperate to meet him.
“I rather like what I’ve seen of her so far,” says the Queen to the Duke of Edinburgh, watching Margaret Thatcher on the news on the day of the 1979 General Election. Philip meanwhile bemoans two women running the shop.
A news article digs out an old assessment of Thatcher when she was turned down for a job: “Headstrong, obstinate, and dangerously self-opinionated.”
At the first of their weekly meetings between Thatcher and Her Majesty, the Queen shares her skill at predicting new Cabinets, and cross-checks Mrs Thatcher’s list with her own – later Mrs Thatcher admits she was remarkable accurate. She tells the Queen she doesn’t like women in high office as “they become too emotional.”
“I doubt you’ll have that trouble with me,” replies Elizabeth.
At home in the flat above Number 10, Maggie irons Denis’s shirts and discusses their meeting with him. She thinks she and the Queen could work very well together.
The royals head up to Balmoral, Anne wants to give up competing in how jumping and the Duke of Edinburgh tries to buck her up. The Queen and Anne go stalking, the Duke goes shooting.
Charles, who is still secretly seeing the now-married Camilla Parker Bowles, is away salmon fishing in Iceland. He speaks to his uncle / surrogate father, Earl Mountbatten, on the phone, but the conversation is bad-tempered.
Mountbatten – staying at his home in County Sligo, Ireland – writes to Charles, suggesting he should work harder and find a decent wife. The Earl then goes out on a fishing boat with some family members, including his twin teenage grandsons. A bomb, planted by the IRA, is detonated remotely from the shore – destroying the boat and killing Mountbatten, his grandson Nicholas and 15 year old Paul Maxwell, a young crew member.
On the flight back from Iceland, Charles is given Mountbatten’s letter. It is highly critical of Charles and his relationships.
The Queen phones Mrs Thatcher, who tells the Queen she will wage war against the IRA.
The Duke of Edinburgh tells Charles Mountbatten would have hated sentimentality. He has left 500 pages on his own funeral and wanted Charles to do a reading. The Duke admits it has hurt, being replaced in Monutbatten’s affections by Charles, and the role Mountbatten then went on to play as a surrogate father to Charles. The Prince of Wales offers to stand aside as a reader, but the Duke says what matters is what Mountbatten (“Dickie”) wanted.
Anne is back in the saddle and competing again – while leaving Badminton after watching his sister successfully compete, Charles sees Diana, who offers her condolences. Later Charles calls Sarah Spencer, who is getting married, to find out about Diana: “Is she fun?” he asks.
He then phones Diana, who is in her flat listening to Call Me by Blondie, then drives to Althorp to visit her.