The Princess Royal Season 3 Christmas Special - The Ghosts of Christmas Past

The Princess Royal Season 3, Episode 11
The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Claude walks into the sitting room last Buckingham Palace.

Claude: As we all know, Christmas is approaching fast. It’s a special time for our family, we always spend it together under one roof.

Olivia: Well, not always.

Claude: That was your own choice!

Olivia: I didn’t specify what I meant, don’t have such a guilty conscience!

Claude: It’s clear what you meant.

Anthony: Ah, who cares? It’s Christmas, why are we still fighting pettily?

Claude: Glad to see Anthony’s decided to join us, that’s never a guarantee.

Anthony: I’m sorry I have a life!

Claude: Whose face is on our nation’s money? Not yours.

Claire: You have to admit, he got you there.

Anthony: Shut up! All of you!

Olivia: Claire was the only one saying anything, the rest of us were all, I presume, - because this was the case for me at least - running through a list in our heads of who we still have to buy Christmas presents for before the big day.

Eleanor: It’s December the nineteenth, you still haven’t bought your gifts?

Olivia: I like to live life on the edge.

Ethan: The edge of getting kicked back out of the family, that is.

Olivia: You’re supposed to be on my side!

Ethan: You often make it so difficult…

Fred: No need to worry, everyone, I’ll make sure she gets her shopping done.

Christine: I don’t think anyone was worried.

Olivia: What is that supposed to mean?

Christine: Um… what do you think it means?

Olivia: I take it as an insult! Like you don’t think I’d get you anything good anyway.

Claude: Don’t have such a guilty conscience!

Eleanor: I’ve already got all my presents for all of you. In fact, I’ve been finished since October!

Olivia: What a surprise.

Eleanor: I don’t understand why you’re being so combative because I enjoy being prepared!

Olivia: I’m not, I just wish you didn’t put me down for not having my Christmas chores done before Remembrance Day!

Claude: I’m loathe to do this, but I’m the King and I’m putting my foot down! You all need to let me talk!

Olivia: There isn’t a minute that goes by that you don’t remind us of you naturally being more important than all of us.

Claude: I have never said that. Never ever!

Olivia: Uh-huh.

Claude: I’m ignoring this unfair accusation to point out, to all of you, that Christmas is less than a week away, and we are heading to Sandringham as always. I was planning to ask if everyone was ready, but that is clearly not the case, at least not for The Princess Royal.

Olivia: I’m getting there!

Claude: I hope you don’t think I’d believe that.

Olivia: I’ll be ready by Christmas, no one worry. I’ve just been busy with other things. More royal eng-

Christine: My god, we know.

Olivia: None of you ever give me proper credit for it! I’m always seen as the black sheep!

Anthony: We don’t need to give you credit, you give yourself enough credit for all of us.

Olivia: None of you have to get me a gift this year, this ganging up on me has been a gift enough for me. It warms my decaying heart.

Ethan: Don’t be so sensitive, we all roast each other every now and again.

Olivia: It’s Christmas, you’d think you could lay off me for just a bit.

Claude: All right, no one attack Olivia for being ill-prepared. Just think it in your heads while I talk about what we have to do to be ready for this year’s holiday trip to Sandringham.

Five days later…

Claude: Mother, you can’t come to Sandringham in this weather.

Eleanor: You’re banning me from traveling? I gave birth to you!

Claude: There’s a blizzard, the meteorologists are all warning against non-essential travel.

Eleanor: Being together for Christmas is essential!

Claude: I don’t believe that was what they meant by that.

Eleanor: What could they have meant?
Claude: Hospital workers, police officers, those having a medical emergency…

Eleanor: Royalty trying to visit their family…

Claude: No, mummy.

Eleanor: Why couldn’t you have just taken me with you when you left for Sandringham on Friday?

Claude: You said it was too early to travel out of London, you had to be there in case there was an emergency.

Eleanor: Then why did you have to go?

Claude: I had events to attend in Norfolk, you know that. 

Eleanor: Now we won’t get to spend Christmas together, it’s so terrible. You know how my health is, I might not be here next year.

Claude: Mother, you’re a battle-ax. You’re probably going to outlive me.

Eleanor: This stroke took so much out of me. I don’t know if I can go on much longer! Come home for Christmas!

Claude: Mother, stop being dramatic! We’ll celebrate together as soon as travel is safe. Maybe we could even set up a Zoom or something so we can still see one another.

Eleanor: Oh, fine!

Claude: I love you, merry Christmas. Enjoy your quiet Christmas Eve -

Eleanor: It’s not quiet! I have Mandy here, I have Nathan, Alicia and her mother. I’ll have to babysit Mandy to make sure she doesn’t wander off into the snow and die of hypothermia, while that mother-in-law of Nathan’s is going to talk my ear off!

Claude: You’re going to have fun, it’ll be wonderful. We’ll talk later!

Eleanor: Don’t you dare hang up on your mother!

Claude hangs up.

Eleanor: How dare you? Demonic child of mine!

Alicia: Kid trouble?

Eleanor: Is it that obvious?

Veronica: I’m a mother, I can sense when a mother is frustrated with their child.

Eleanor: I know he wants me to stay safe, but a Christmas without my children, it’s awful.

Veronica: Wasn’t Olivia -

Eleanor: We don’t talk about that!

Veronica: Okay, I’ll avoid it. I do know what you mean, though. I’ve spent Christmases with Alicia when she was off doing her own thing, and it’s hard.

Eleanor: It’s harder than ever without Paul. At least if he were here, he could talk me down, put me at ease. He always did that, especially when I’d panic about the holidays.

Alicia: Mother, are you annoying the queen?

Eleanor: No, dear. We’re bonding.

Veronica: Yeah! Don’t ruin our mother bonding time!

Eleanor: Let her join in. It’s Christmas, we should enjoy all the family that we have.

Mandy: Oh my god, look at the sky! It’s white!

Eleanor: Maybe not that one.

Veronica: You know what, your majesty?

Eleanor: You can just call me Eleanor, I’m not the reigning queen anymore.

Veronica: I do not feel comfortable doing that.

Eleanor: To each her own.

Veronica: Anyway, I think we should go sit around the fireplace and tell stories about old Christmases. It’s one way to make us feel like we’re still with our loved ones.

Eleanor: That’s a good idea.

Alicia: I’ll grab Nathan, he’s probably wrapping presents, but we won’t be seeing anyone, so no use rushing.

In the sitting room…

Eleanor: I think my favorite Christmas memory was 1982. Nathan, your br-

Nathan: I wasn’t alive then. I feel a bit hurt.

Eleanor: Just listen to the story.

In 1982…

Eleanor: Darling, the children are here! And they’ve brought their children! Are you done in here?

Paul: I’ll be done when I’m done!

Eleanor: I think what you’re doing is very sweet, but this is far more elaborate than it has to be. Genevieve is nine, Arthur is three. Neither one of them is terribly difficult to fool.

Paul: If I’m going to dress up as Father Christmas, it has to be authentic.

Eleanor: In that case, you should make yourself invisible, because he’s not real at all.

Paul: Don’t be such a Scrooge!

Eleanor: I’m not a “Scrooge,” I’m simply a stickler for the truth. It’s impossible to be an authentic Father Christmas, because he’s a mythical creation invented by our own minds. Regardless, we should get downstairs. It’s Christmas morning, there’s nothing more magical than that.

Paul: I agree, let’s go!


Eleanor: Genevieve, Arthur, look who’s come for a visit!

Gigi: Gramps!

Eleanor: No! Father Christmas!

Ethan: Not every old man you see is your grandfather, kiddo.

Gigi: That one is.

Paul: Ho, ho, ho! No, I’m not! I’m Father Christmas! Kris Kringle! Jolly old Saint Nicholas! Santa Claus!

Gigi: No, you’re Gramps!

Olivia: Papa, I think the jig is up.

Paul: Children, I delayed my return to the North Pole -

Gigi: No you didn’t! You’re my gramps!

Paul: Look, Gigi, can you at least pretend to believe I’m Santa?

Arthur: Santa!

Paul: See, your cousin does it!

Gigi: Father Christmas isn’t even real!

Arthur: What?

Christine: Don’t listen to her, dearie. Your aunt Olivia steals all her presents, it made her stop believing.

Olivia: What? I did not! I could not!

Gigi: Belle at school told me her brother told her that Father Christmas is just her parents!

Eleanor: We’ll be pulling her from that school.

Olivia: You’re the queen. Shut the whole place down.

Eleanor: That’s not in the Christmas spirit, is it?

Olivia: Do I care? They ruined Christmas for my daughter!

Gigi: Are you saying she was being honest?

Olivia: No! Of course not! She’s a disgusting liar! I’ll have her beheaded like Marie Antoinette!

Ethan: What a beautiful Christmas morning conversation.

Paul: Shall we go open the presents I’ve left you?

Claude: I think that’d be wonderful!

Ethan: Don’t speak for the kids, they’ve still got questions.

Christine: I think we’d really all rather they not ask any more questions.

Paul: Exactly! We’re all so anxious for presents!

Gigi grabs Paul’s fake beard and pulls it off.

Gigi: See! Gramps!

Christine: Oh dear.

Arthur: Santa’s not real!

Ethan: Merry Christmas, everyone!

In the present day…

Nathan: And that was your favorite Christmas memory?

Eleanor: I believe I misspoke. It was certainly the first holiday memory that comes to mind, though!

Alicia: That greatly upsets me.

Meanwhile, at Sandringham, Claude is on the phone with the Prime Minister.

Meredith: How are you all dealing with these storms out there? Staying warm?

Claude: I’ve not left bed, and the Queen keeps bringing me hot cocoa. I’m having a wonderful Christmas Eve. Mother’s upset, though.

Meredith: I get it. I won’t be seeing Norah this Christmas, she’s back home in Belfast and I can’t travel. I’ll certainly miss spending the holiday with her.

Claude: This is the first time mum’s ever been unable to spend the holidays with most of us. Olivia is the only one she ever went without seeing on Christmas, for obvious reasons.

Meredith: Why is that?

Claude: I keep forgetting you’re a republican!

Meredith: I am not! I’m a staunch monarchist.

Claude: Now you are, at least.

Meredith: Always have been, aside from in my rebellious teen years. Nevertheless, I’m just a bit forgetful is all.

Claude: I wish we could be together. I remember the greatest Christmas. It was, I believe, 2011. My first Christmas as a grandfather.

In 2011…

Claude: My god, Arthur! She’s adorable!

Arthur: I know. I picked a good one!

Claude: Not Claire!

Claire: Aww, really? I thought my dress was cute!

Claude: It is, I just meant Charlotte. Look at her face!

Ethan: Becoming a grandfather has completely changed him. For once, he actually seems to be enjoying Christmas.

Paul: He’s always enjoyed Christmas! Deep, deep down.

Anthony: In the absolute pits of his soul.

Claude: I don’t know what you’re talking about! I have incredible Christmas spirit!

Eleanor: Exactly! Leave Claude alone, and let us all gather around the piano! Nathan’s going to lead us in song!

Claire: Is that a good idea?

Selina: Why do you have an opinion on this, you’re barely even integrated into the family yet. This is tradition!

Arthur: Is it?

Selina: Ever since I’ve been part of it, yes! One of us tries our hand at playing a carol while the rest of us all sing along.

Nathan: I’ve been practicing Jingle Bells!

Anthony: How boring. Should’ve been Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

Eleanor: No, it should not have been!

Paul: Before we sing, maybe we could open gifts? I have something for all of you, it’s really only fitting today!

Christine: Oh no, he’s got us turtle doves and French hens.

Selina: As long as I didn’t get the partridge in a pear tree, I’m good.

Mandy: Wow, look at that!

Eleanor: What do you see?

Mandy: Nothing. I just felt like saying something.

Eleanor: Of course you did.

Paul: Present time!

Claude: We’re getting to it.

Claire: Oh my god! It’s hid- incredible.

Anthony: Nice save.

Paul: They’re supposed to be ugly. It’s a trend!

Selina: Crimes against fashion is a “trend?” Anna Wintour is losing her touch.

Paul: I thought we could take a cheeky Christmas photo in these ugly sweaters right beside the tree and the fireplace!

Claire: But my hair and makeup!

Arthur: Dear, we’re among family. Don’t worry about that, I’ll find you gorgeous no matter how much my gramps’ horrible sweater smudges your makeup.

Claire: Aww, you’re too sweet!

Selina: Makes me sick.

Paul: All right, everyone gather!

Eleanor: Could you assist me in getting the sweater on if you’re going to rush me?

Paul: Of course, dearest love of my life.

Eleanor: Right, now I’m ready.

Paul: One… two… smile!

In the present day…

Claude: That picture is hanging in Sandringham to this day. I’m looking at it right now, actually. 

Meredith: I thought you were in bed.

Claude: These heartwarming memories got me all warm and toasty inside, I was finally able to roll out of bed and take a walk around.

Meanwhile, at Olivia’s apartment…

Olivia: I think this all sucks, Fred!

Fred: Don’t be so negative.

Olivia: It does! I finally get my family back, now I can’t even spend Christmas with them. I think of all these wasted years, all these moments I could have had with them, and it makes me sad. I feel like I barely have any Christmas memories with my family that are truly engrained in my mind. It’s all marred by the estrangement, I tried to bury it in those years to make the distance less painful. And now, another missed opportunity to make new memories. My mother just  had a stroke! She’s several thousand years old! I don’t know if I’ll get another Christmas with her.

Gigi: We can always go and visit her.

Fred: Are you crazy?

Gigi: It’s a ten minute walk.

Fred: There’s a blizzard outside!

Gigi: Then mother and I will go. Say, mother?

Olivia: I’m in! What do I have to lose?

Fred: Your toes!

Olivia: You’re ridiculously overdramatic.

Fred: I’m coming with. You’re not dying out there alone!

Olivia: That’s the spirit!

Thirty minutes later…

Eleanor: Is that a knock at the door?

Mandy: It’s the yankees coming for us!

Alicia: We’re already here.

Mandy: Shoot them!

Nathan: No, no! That’s my wife!

Mandy: You ma-

Eleanor: Forgive her. Many of her friends died in the American Revolution. Now, I’m opening the door, because it could be an emergency.

Olivia: Merry Christmas, mama!

Eleanor: What on earth are you three doing here?

Olivia: We couldn’t stand the thought of you alone in this great big palace on Christmas.

Nathan: Well, we-

Eleanor: The thought of it was making me sick myself! I’m so happy to see you! Merry Christmas!

Nathan: Really you weren-

Fred: Could you show us to the fireplace? We’re terribly cold.

Eleanor: I’ll bet! Wow, this is the greatest Christmas gift I could’ve gotten!

Olivia: That’s what we forgot, the gifts! Dear, would you run home and get them?

Fred: Are you joking?

Olivia: Do you love me?

Fred: I’ll be right back!

Olivia: That’s my little elf!

What did you think of the Princess Royal Christmas special? Let us know in the comments and make sure to read the midseason premiere of Marietta in early January! The Princess Royal will return for season four next summer!

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