Sunday Morning Special: “Upstairs, Downstairs” Guest of Honour

Sunday, May 15, 2011


One of the most watched episodes of the much-beloved original Upstairs, Downstairs series was the fifth episode of the second “series” (in the U.S., we’d call it a “season”) entitled, “Guest of Honour.” In this episode, Lady Marjorie and Mr. Bellamy welcome a special guest into their home—King Edward VII. Of course, His Majesty’s dinner companion wasn’t his consort, Queen Alexandra. As Lady Marjorie put it, “Her Majesty doesn’t play bridge.” He was, instead joined by his longtime mistress, Alice Keppel.

Let’s pause for a moment to note an interesting historical fact which never ceases to amuse me. Alice Keppel, King Edward’s “friend,” is the great grandmother of the present Duchess of Cornwall and wife of Prince Charles, Camilla. As we know, Camilla was “friends” with Charles during his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales. So, it seems that “entertaining” members of the Royal family is a family tradition.

Okay, back to Upstairs, Downstairs. What’s most exciting about this episode is the glimpse into the preparations for such an event. Mr. Hudson, Mrs. Bridges, Rose, Edward and Ruby show us the care and detail that the staff of a great Belgravia townhouse would have taken in preparing a feast for the King.

It’s a lovely and interesting episode. Here’s a clip.



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