Stephen Lamport, Prince Charles' secretary, calls Tony and tells him that Charles feels kindred with Tony in that they are both "modern men." Tony tells Lamport that Charles can count on him, and they hang up. After hanging up, Tony wonders why Charles is being so ingratiating, and his advisors tell him that Charles is worried about backlash against the royals' slow response to the tragedy. Charles, in particular, has called for extra protection, as he is afraid of violent retaliation from a citizen. "He probably thinks if he's seen to be on our side, then that'll leave the queen in the firing line," an advisor says, which shocks Tony.
The queen takes her dogs to go stalking and Charles insists on coming with her. In the car, Charles talks about the fact that Diana would have taken the boys to Paris had he died there, and expresses regret for not doing so. "No, they're much better off here," the queen insists. Charles talks about how affectionate and warm Diana was as a mother, alluding to her difference from Elizabeth. "Her weaknesses and transgressions only made the public love her more. Yet ours only make them hate us. Why is that?" Charles says. Abruptly, the queen stops the car and tells Charles she's going to walk back with the dogs alone.
Elizabeth watches a video interview with Diana, in which she says she does not think she will ever be queen, but that she would like to be "a queen of people's hearts." Diana then discusses the fact that the establishment she has married into would not want her to be queen "because they've decided that I'm a nonstarter." As Philip comes in the room, Elizabeth tells him that Charles alluded to Diana being a good mother, and expresses her own fear that they are actually partly to blame for Diana's death.
"We encouraged the match!" Elizabeth says, trying to defend herself, and Philip alludes to the fact that he thought that Charles would end his affair with Camilla, or perhaps get Diana to look the other way. As Philip goes to sleep in the other room, the queen asks him if he had luck with the stag, and he tells her that he got close. When he leaves, Elizabeth watches a montage of Diana on the television, before turning it off with a sigh.
In Tony's office, his assistant shows him some footage of Buckingham Palace, where people gathered there are angered by the fact that there is no flag flying at half-mast. "Will someone please save these people from themselves?" Tony says, exasperated, agreeing to call Balmoral to let the royal family know.
The royals prepare an outdoor barbecue, as Elizabeth informs the family that Tony called to say they should fly a flag. Philip refuses, suggesting that the flag only flies to "denote the presence of the monarch." The Queen Mother echoes that no one has ever gotten the flag at half-mast for their death. "Sometimes, in a situation like this, one has to be flexible," Charles says, but the elders continue to refuse.
Charles meets with an advisor and vents that his parents can finally see what it's like to feel intimidated by Diana's popularity. He makes a plan to release a public statement thanking people. The scene shifts to Tony watching Tracey Ullman getting interviewed on television. She disparages the royal family and speaks highly of Tony, and Cherie mentions that perhaps the public will finally see the royal family for what they are: "a bunch of freeloading, emotionally retarded nutters." Tony disagrees with Cherie's perspective, suggesting that it is completely impractical to imagine the country becoming a republic, because no one wants it. Cherie points out that Tony's mother would be the same age as the queen if she were alive, and that Tony used to complain about her old-fashioned behavior.
Robin and an assistant discuss recent headlines that dismiss the royal family and their response to the tragedy. Tony prepares to make a speech and questions his advisors' use of the word "revolution." "People want to see a change," they insist, but he looks unsure.
Tony calls the queen and asks if she's seen any of the papers and if she would like to make a statement. She suggests that the editors are just trying to sell papers, but Tony insists that "the mood is quite delicate" and that they ought to fly the flag at half-mast and also come down to London as soon as possible. "If you imagine I'm going to drop everything and come down to London before I attend to my grandchildren who've just lost their mother, then you're mistaken," she replies. She suggests that soon the British people will adopt a more "restrained grief" soon and that the royals should just ride it out. "If that's your decision, of course the government will support it," Tony says, before hanging up.
Robin calls Tony and tries to explain to Tony that the queen is being stubborn because she believes that "it's god's will she is who she is." He explains that the abdication in Elizabeth's youth basically killed her father, who became king. "This public reaction has completely thrown her," he explains. Tony tells Robin he will do what he can to quell the bad press.
After Charles has cozied up to Tony a few times, Tony begins to wonder what it's all about, and comes to the shocking realization that Charles is positioning himself to appear on the side of the modernizing prime minister rather than that of his stodgy family. Even more shocking is the fact that Charles fears he will be assassinated if he is seen to be on the wrong side of the issue, and would rather his mother take the fall than himself, which is the major motivating factor in his deference to Tony. As Tony stays in his job, he comes to realize just what a fragmented and political organization the royal family really is.
The queen's frigidity extends to her position as a mother. She perceived as distant and cold not only by the public, but also by her own children. On their brief car ride, Charles talks about the fact that Diana was such a warm and caring mother to Harry and William, and one can sense that he is marking the contrast between his ex-wife and his mother. Elizabeth is quick to disparage Diana's perceived warmth as a performance for the cameras, but the point has been made. In this scene, we see that Charles wishes his mother had been as affectionate and kind a mother as his ex-wife was. The stodginess of the royal family is an alienating familial dynamic as well as a political posture.
As mourning for Diana continues, we begin to see some cracks in the queen's solid veneer, which betray a certain doubt. After Charles makes the proclamation about what a good mother Diana was, we see Elizabeth in bed watching an old interview with Diana, about how she did not fit in with the royal family and about Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Instead of being instantly repelled by the bad press that Diana spews about the royal family, it seems to strike a nerve, as she wonders if perhaps the royals did have something to do with Diana's death. While she remains relatively emotionless, we begin to see the ways the queen lacks certainty about her position on Diana and her tragic life, in spite of previous evidence to the contrary.
After working with the royal family for some time, Tony begins to see that the royals—as much as they are maligned by the public—are an inevitability of English government. One night, while watching the news, his wife Cherie suggests that perhaps England is at a tipping point and can finally do away with the monarchy. To this, Tony responds that that is unlikely, since the British people actually want a monarchy, in spite of what they say. Tony, in spite of his modern perspective, feels caught between the old and the new, the democratic and the monarchical, and feels conflicted about what he thinks about the political system at large.
In Robin's phone call to Tony after Elizabeth refuses to concede to the public, we learn a little bit more about why Elizabeth is so unmoored by the tragedy of Diana's death, beyond her traditionalism. He explains that when she was very young, Elizabeth's father had to take the throne, which is widely believed to have caused his death. Thus, we see that Elizabeth not only has a personal investment in business as usual, but a traumatic memory attached to her understanding of the monarchy and how it works.