Imagining our Regina
Moviegoers are astonished about the work of “The Queen” screenwriter, but maybe not for the right reasons.
Fans of the film say they’re intrigued that Peter Morgan was able to act as a fly on the wall in conversations between Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair following the tragic death of Princess Diana. Problem is, he has no idea what was actually spoken. Although the events following her death that led to turmoil at Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street are authentic — the tension conveyed through the tabloids, the disenchantment of the commoners regarding the role and usefulness of the monarchy — the dialogue between the protagonists is completely made up.
“There’s absolutely nothing of what I wrote that can be substantiated,” Morgan freely admits. “I imagined the conflict, and I guess it stands to reason. What I wrote was a drama of the imagination.”
It’s a credit to Morgan’s ingenuity that audiences believe the conversations to be legitimate. He extensively researched the actions of both government officials and the royal family in the days immediately after Diana’s passing and came up with what seemed like logical conversations.
What helped is that previously to “The Queen,” Morgan — who also co-wrote “The Last King of Scotland” with Jeremy Brock — penned “The Deal,” an inside look at the relationship between Labor Party rivals Gordon Brown and Blair while they were vying to become prime minister. The telepic was critically applauded and accelerated Morgan’s status as a historian of modern-day Blighty politics.
“Because of the success of ‘The Deal,’ people wanted me to take another look at another piece of contemporary English history. I sort of had Blair’s voice,” he explains.
All he had left to do was find Her Royal Highness’, too.