SPENCER*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
Christmas Eve, 1991 – A military convoy arrives at the Sandringham House in Norfolk. Chef Darren McGrady (Sean Harris) prepares the staff for the big dinner. Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) is driving herself there, but she finds herself lost and goes to a nearby rest stop to ask for directions, where the people there are surprised to see her. McGrady later finds Diana not far from the house near a field where her childhood home was. She points out the large scarecrow in the area that she used to dress in her father’s clothes as a child. Diana walks over to the scarecrow and removes its jacket.
Diana arrives for the feast, where she greets her sons William (Jack Nielen) and Harry (Freddie Spry) and spends time with them before dinner. She meets Alistair Gregory (Timothy Spall), who has been assigned to the house for the season. Diana appears to be friends with the royal dresser, Maggie (Sally Hawkins).
As she gets ready for dinner, Diana puts on a pearl necklace, but she tells another servant about how she saw her husband Charles (Jack Farthing) in a photo with Camilla Parker Bowles (Emma Darwall-Smith) and knew of their affair, which is why Diana left Charles initially. Diana later finds a book of Anne Boleyn, reading a bit about her and talking to a mannequin of how Anne was beheaded by her husband when he fell for a different woman and wished for her to be queen instead. Maggie comes in, and Diana tells her she doesn’t like the dress that has been picked out for her to wear with the pearls, but she eventually relents as Maggie helps her.
Diana sits for the dinner, where Charles and Queen Elizabeth (Stella Gonet) are among those in attendance. Diana envisions the ghost of Anne Boleyn (Amy Manson) sitting there as well. She starts to imagine herself ripping off the necklace, with the pearls dropping into the soup, and Diana continuing the eat the soup with the pearls inside. She eventually retreats to the bathroom and makes herself vomit.
Diana later goes into the kitchen where she sneaks herself some treats. Gregory finds her, and when she asks him what his position is, he tells her he is an equerry for the queen. He notes that someone observed Diana dressing and undressing by a window with the curtains open, and he notes that a photographer could have spotted her due to the attention she brings to herself, but she is annoyed by his comments. Afterwards, she walks outside toward her old home, but she is spotted by some guards, who escort her back to the house. When she returns, she wakes up William and Harry to play a game with them.
On Christmas morning, Diana finds that a new dresser has been assigned to her since Gregory apparently had Maggie sent back to London. Because she is more comfortable with Maggie, Diana tells the dresser that prefers to only see Maggie and that she can dress herself. She later joins the family for breakfast, where Charles makes snide remarks about Diana purging her food.
Diana joins the family for a service at St Mary Magdalene Church. Following the service, Diana spots Camilla being there, in addition to all the photographers. She becomes uncomfortable with all of them snapping photos of her. Gregory and other servants later comment on how Diana is wearing the wrong attire for the day.
Diana reads more of the Anne Boleyn book and continues to see Anne’s ghost haunting her. After a nap, she sees Charles and other men firing rifles. She later speaks to him about his wanting to bring William and Harry to go pheasant hunting. He instead criticizes her own behavior, bringing up the incident with the open curtains and telling her that she needs to have two sides to herself – the real one, and the one that is presented to the public. It also turns out he arranged for Maggie to sent back to London and implies that she put the Anne Boleyn book in Diana’s room to suggest that her mental state is falling apart.
The family gathers to watch Elizabeth’s Christmas speech. After the viewing, Diana stops to talk to Elizabeth outside. Although she is pleasant towards Diana, she suggests that they are viewed as “currency”.
Diana later expresses her feelings about things to McGrady, and then asks him for wirecutters. She later sits outside the grounds of the estate and talks to a pheasant, warning it of its fate. Gregory approaches Diana and sits to talk to her. He talks about his business and how he and others have sworn their lives to the crown, with several dying for Diana and the other royals, but she says that she never wanted anyone to die for her. She also believes that Gregory had planted the Anne Boleyn book in her room for her to find, though he denies it.
Preparations are being made for the evening’s Christmas dinner. Diana finds that the curtains have been sewed shut to avoid attention from unwelcome onlookers. She envisions cutting herself with the wirecutters. She also believes that Maggie has come back, but it is just another servant. Eventually, Diana starts walking out of the house, seeing Anne’s ghost following her again until she sees herself dressed as Anne. Diana then altogether abandons the dinner party and uses the wirecutters to enter the grounds of her old home. She walks through the darkened halls of her old home and comes across her childhood bedroom, where she reminisces about spending Christmas there. Diana sits down and cries as she thinks about her happier memories, and then she sees Anne’s ghost again, only this time, she speaks to Diana and tells her that she tore her own necklace off and encourages her to do the same with her pearls as a means of her independence. Diana then sees herself walking happily through the grounds of the estate by herself, as well as enjoying time with her sons.
Diana wakes up on Boxing Day and is met by Maggie. The two retreat to the beach and spend time together. Diana talks to Maggie about her personal struggles with her marriage and her mental state. Maggie tells Diana that she is in love with her, although seemingly plays it off as a joke. She still assures Diana that what she really needs is love.
Diana drives towards the grounds where the men are participating in the pheasant hunt, and she bids farewell to Maggie. She walks towards the men and their rifles, mimicking the pheasants movements. She calls out to William and Harry and tells Charles that she will be taking them away. Charles hesitates but ultimately agrees to to let them go with her. Diana says goodbye to McGrady and Maggie before driving away. We also see Gregory returning the Anne Boleyn book to the library.
Diana takes the boys to get KFC and uses her surname Spencer for the order. They then enjoy the afternoon by the River Thames, where Diana looks to the water and mulls over an uncertain
The film is a fictionalized account of Princess Diana's time at the Sandringham house during Christmastime in the wake of Prince Charles's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. While Diana struggles to keep up with the standards of the royals, she also does her best to look out for her sons William and Harry.
Diana is haunted by the ghost of Anne Boleyn, another royal wife left scorned by her husband. Diana's only friend is Maggie, the royal dresser, who gets sent away back to London by Charles. Eventually, after a visit to her old home and spending time with Maggie again, Diana decides to take some agency in her life and removes her sons from a pheasant hunt that she didn't want them participating in.
Diana takes the boys out to get fast food and they spend time by the River Thames, where Diana is uncertain about her future but not weighed down by the expectations of the royal family.