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Elizabeth and Margaret’s VE Day Adventure

“Ritz,” which depicts the rapid decline of Princess Margaret and may be the saddest episode in the entire series, also contains one of the most joyous scenes.

In a flashback, 15-year-old Margaret (Beau Gadsdon) gets 19-year-old Elizabeth (Viola Prettejohn) to sneak out of Buckingham Palace with her on Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945. They head to the Ritz London, where the genteel celebration in the ballroom is nothing compared to the raucous bash downstairs.

Elizabeth ends up dancing the night away—and kissing an obliging soldier, as she reveals to Margaret as the sisters tipsily make their way home the next morning. Of course the future queen swears her sibling to secrecy.

While that would’ve been the most epic thing ever, there’s no exact account of their evening. However, they were allowed to “join the exultant multitude” outside the palace, according to Ann Morrow‘s The Queen, and the girls “linked arms, sang, joined conga lines, and danced with strangers.”

In both versions of events, however, Margaret’s future love Peter Townsend did come along to watch out for them.

(In another party switch-up, Philip reportedly was there in real life but didn’t go in The Crown, prompting a barb from the queen about her dear friend Henry “Porchey” Carnarvon being a most reliable companion. Also her racing manager for decades, Lord Carnarvon really was her favorite person to talk horses with.)

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