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 7 (The Hereditary Principle), episode 8 (48:1), episode 9 (Avalanche), and episode 10 (War).
“The perfect wife, the perfect princess, and the whole place goes nuts.”
It’s February 1983 and Bob Hawke is interviewed about his likely Australian general election election victory, and how he wants a republic. “A head of state that looks like us, sounds like us, thinks like us.” The audience is with him.
The Queen is told of his victory and characterises him as a rough tough ex-union negotiator and world record beer drinker (literally!)
A flashback to an earlier, recent lunch with Princess Margaret, the Queen, Anne and the Queen Mother has them discussing Diana’s bulimia, and the Wales’s plans to take baby William. “We never took the children anywhere,” says the Queen – she and Philip left them at home for five months when they visited Australia in 1954.
Charles and Camilla go hunting, scenes cut with an evening drinks party where they jointly tell a long joke about a bear. The two are in hysterics at the end, before it cuts to a miserable-looking Diana and Charles in a pre-tour meeting with Commonwealth secretary-general Sir Sonny Ramphal, the Queen and Prince Philip. The Queen points out that on their own 1954 tour of Australia and New Zealand, they worked as a team and it brought them closer together as a couple.
On the private jet to Australia, Diana argues with Charle’s private secretary Adeane about William. She wants him with her through the tour, but arrangements have been made for him stay on a sheep station in New South Wales away from his parents for the first two weeks of the six week tour. Diana says her job is to be with her child and bring up the future king.
They disembark at Alice Springs, and William immediately re-embarks with his nanny.
At the couple’s first press conference they are clearly bored and Diana is unprepared, calling Ayers Rock “Ayers Dock”. Hawke watches it on TV while the Queen watches old footage of her triumphant tour of Australia in 1954. Regarding the current tour, the Duke of Edinburgh says she should have gone instead of sending the B-team.
Charles and Di climb Ayers Rock [as it was widely known as then – its official name is now Uluru / Ayers Rock] but she feels dizzy and has to go back down. Charles calls Camilla, telling his mistress that Diana is pathetic and letting the side down.
Diana argues with Adeane and Charles about seeing William; in the end she demands they go or she won’t continue on the tour.
At the sheep station with William, the three of them have that famous photocall with the baby on a blanket. Later when William is asleep they joke about his antics then develop something of a rapprochement. After arguing over which of them is the least understood, most unthanked, and most unappreciated, they talk about Camilla – and Charles says he loves Diana. They decide to encourage each other more, have more sex and compliment each other.
They fly to Perth then Darwin, Adelaide, Sydney and then Tasmania, and the public response is phenomenal. They dance in public on stage. One morning at breakfast Adearne tells Charles that Camilla has phoned, but the Prince of Wales doesn’t return her call.
Streets and balconies are full to bursting, well-wishes break through a cordon to get to Diana – she’s amazed at the response. Poor Bob Hawke is pissed off at the tour’s success.
At home Anne tells the Queen that the Australians love Diana because she’s a mother. She also reminds her mother that this was meant to be Charles’s big moment.
At a polo match, Charles falls off his horse but Diana is not there – she’s being photographed with a men’s swimming team. He watches a news report of her successes on the tour with growing annoyance.
Their rapprochement is over: at a ball, she stuns in red sparkles while he thinks she’s mocking him when she giggles behind his back during his speech. Later Hawke makes it worse by joking to Charles about how Di is ruining it for both men: “let’s face it, she’s made us both look like chumps.”
He explains that Terra Nullius means “nobody’s country”, and is what George III called Australia when the British arrived. He jokes that if only Charles had come on his own, Hawke might have got his wish for a republic.
The couple continue on to New Zealand though we only get a montage of their visit. Both are deeply unhappy, and Diana’s bulimia has returned. On their arrival back in the UK, Diana goes to Kensington Palace and Charles to Highgrove.
Diana requests an audience with the Queen. She explains the tour wasn’t a triumph as both are wretchedly unhappy, with Charles resenting her. She asks for the Queen’s input on Charles, but Elizabeth takes it as accusing her and Philip of being bad parents, and accuses Diana of playing to her gallery “excessively”. Diana admits acclaim is a comfort but re-iterates she’s had no help since she became a princess; and believes the public can sense her lack of support from the Family.
She wants the Queen to show how Diana is loved and accepted. The Queen dismisses her, and Diana hugs her which she hates. (Even the footman looks embarrassed.)
The Queen later calls it “a tight, rather desperate hug,” to the astonished Queen Mother, Princess Anne and Princess Margaret. She also asks them if Diana actually had a point – maybe the Princess of Wales is indeed the best person to “connect with the modern world.” The Queen Mother is unsympathetic meanwhile, saying that they all give up and bend eventually. Philip did and Diana will in time – if she does not, she will break.
Diana sits with her teddies on a window seat.