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Mrs.Brown



	MRS BROWN BY JEREMY BROCK

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	Begin on black.  The sound of rain driving into trees. 
	Something wipes frame and we are suddenly hurtling through
	a forest on the shoulders of a wild-eyed, kilted JOHN
	BROWN.  Drenched hair streaming, head swivelling left and
	right, as he searches the lightening-dark.  A crack to his
	left.  He spins round, raises his pistol, smacks past
	saplings and plunges on.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	Close-up on BROWN as he bangs against a tree and heaves for
	air.  A face in its fifties, mad-fierce eyes, handsome,
	bruised lips, liverish.  He goes on searching the dark. 
	Stops.  Listens through the rain.  A beat.  Thinking he
	hears a faint thump in the distance, he swings round and
	races on.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	BROWN tears through the trees, pistol raised at full arm's
	length, breath coming harder and harder.  But even now
	there's a ghost grace, a born hunter's grace.  He leaps
	fallen branches, swerves through turns in the path, eyes
	forward, never stumbling once.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	BROWN bursts into a clearing, breaks to the centre and
	stops.  With his pistol raised, he turns one full slow
	circle.  His eyes take in every swerve and kick of the
	wildly swaying trees.

	There's a crack and a branch snaps behind him.  He spins
	round, bellows deep from his heart:

				BROWN
		God save the Queen!!

	And fires.

	Nothing happens.  The trees go on swaying, the storm goes
	on screaming and BROWN just stands there, staring into
	empty space.  A pause.

	Slowly, he starts to frown as the fact begins to dawn on
	him that he is alone.  He stares at the thrashing trees,
	waving their mocking arms at him.  His hand lets the pistol
	drop to his side.  He feels the rain drench down his face. 
	And now, for the first time, we see that his socks have
	fallen to his ankles and his knees are cut to shreds.  He
	shifts a foot.  His dress-shoes are covered in mud.  He
	goes on staring into the dark.  Nothing. 
	Just the wind and rain.  Gradually, we pull back, higher
	and higher.  As we do, we hear the quiet cultivated voice:

						FADE TO BLACK.

	CAPTION: "1864"

						FADE IN:

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		I have sent for a Mr. John BROWN from
		Balmoral.  Her majesty has mentioned
		him, on one or two occasions, as being
		a most devoted outdoor servant to
		Prince Albert during his last days
		there...

	John BROWN is now just a tiny figure dwarfed by the storm.

						 CUT TO:

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN VICTORIA'S DRESSING ROOM - DAY

	The screen is black.  As the camera pulls back, we discover
	that we are looking at a black night-gown.

	Queen VICTORIA is sitting at her dressing table, while an
	elderly HAIRDRESSER, also in black, works at her hair.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... The depths of the Queen's sorrow
		remain impenetrable.  She has now
		restricted herself to a regime of such
		ferocious introspection that we are
		all at our wits' end...

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, PRINCE ALBERT'S DRESSING ROOM - DAY

	A bust of the Prince Consort is draped in black.  His desk
	is laid out as if for work.  A VALET is brushing one of his
	suits before laying it carefully on the bed.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... The Household continues, at her
		instruction, to observe the rituals
		now so familiar to her, in a vain
		attempt to render vivid that which can
		never be revived...

	Close-up on a small table as a shaving brush is placed
	carefully beside a dish of freshly poured water.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN VICTORIA'S DRESSING ROOM - DAY

	The hairdresser is pulling VICTORIA's hair back into the
	widow's cape.  For the first time, we see her face.  It is
	set in a mask of severity.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... It will not surprise you to hear
		that she continues steadfast in her
		refusal to accept any public
		engagements, however trivial...

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN VICTORIA'S BEDCHAMBER - DAY

	A bronze cast of Prince Albert's hand hangs above the Royal
	bed.  His sleeping-gown is laid out on one side.

	A somberly dressed middle-aged man stands by the bed:
	DOCTOR JENNER, the Queen's physician.  He is placing
	potions and medicaments in a row on the bedside table.

	Behind him, TWO MAIDSERVANTS are busy stripping and
	remaking the bed while another raises the window to air the
	room.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... Family and staff expend all their
		efforts endeavouring to draw her out
		of this state of unfettered morbidity,
		but to no avail.  Indeed, Doctor
		Jenner will not undertake to vouchsafe
		her sanity, unless some remedy is
		found...

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN VICTORIA'S DRESSING ROOM - DAY

	VICTORIA is turning slowly around as a young ASSISTANT
	DRESSER completes the fastening on her black crepe dress.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... We must hope, therefore, that this
		Mr Brown will appeal to the Queen's
		sentimental, though deeply-held, view
		that all Highlanders are good for the
		health.  If she can at least be
		persuaded to take the air, the
		prospect of further recovery may seem
		less remote...

	The assistant dresser pulls too tightly on her dress. 
	VICTORIA winces slightly.

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
			(terrified)
		Sorry, ma'am.

	EXT. THE SEA FRONT, ISLE OF WIGHT - DAY

	We glide slowly past the coastline as a caption reads:
	"ISLE OF WIGHT. 1864."

	A DRIVER stands against the sea front with a horse and cart
	bearing the Royal coat of arms.

	John BROWN leads his pony along the dockside, towards the
	waiting driver.  He is in his late thirties, fit, handsome
	and dressed in tartan kilt and short jacket.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... He is arriving by boat this
		afternoon, by which time it is hoped
		Her Majesty will be in a fit state to
		consider riding out...

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, PRIVATE SECRETARY'S ROOM - DAY

	SIR HENRY PONSONBY, the Queen's Private Secretary, is
	sitting at his writing desk, completing a letter.

				PONSONBY (V.O.)
		... As to that decision, along with
		all others, we remain, as ever,
		prisoners of the Queen's grief.
			(beat)
		Ever your devoted husband, Henry.

	He folds the letter and slips it into an envelope.  He is a
	middle-aged man in a dark mourning suit; tall, Saturnine
	and with a civil servant's stoop.  As he looks up, we see a
	white-stockinged FOOTMAN standing to attention by the door. 
	PONSONBY hands the letter to him.

				PONSONBY (CONT'D)
		Windsor.

						 CUT TO:

	CAPTION: "OSBORNE HOUSE, ISLE OF WIGHT"

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, CORRIDOR AND QUEEN'S DINING ROOM - DAY

	A series of windows are being slammed open by white
	stockinged FOOTMEN as members of the ROYAL FAMILY and UPPER
	HOUSEHOLD hurry by in silence, all dressed in mourning and
	rushing to make the luncheon hour.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN'S DRAWING ROOM - DAY

	Queen VICTORIA heads down the empty corridor with two
	ladies-in-waiting, LADY ELY and LADY CHURCHILL, hurrying
	along a pace behind.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN'S DINING ROOM - DAY

	Members of the Royal family and upper household hurry into
	the icy dining room and take their designated places at the
	luncheon table.  Everybody is dressed in mourning and
	nobody speaks.  Wind whistles through the open windows. 
	Silence.

	Among the diners we catch our first glimpse of BERTIE, the
	Prince of Wales.  He is in his mid-twenties, plump, stiff
	dressed and balding.  He stands next to his young wife,
	PRINCESS ALEXANDRA, who fiddles nervously with her shawl,
	trying to keep warm.

	As BERTIE smooths down his thinning hair, DOCTOR JENNER
	bustles into the dining room, stands himself next to
	PONSONBY and proceeds to conduct a hurried conversation
	with the Prince of Wales, entirely in whispers.

				JENNER
		Congratulations, Your Royal Highness!

				BERTIE
		Thank you, Doctor.

				JENNER
		A boy, I hear.  Excellent, excellent.

				BERTIE
		Yes.
			(beat)
		Albert Victor.  Eddie for short.  What
		do you think?

				PONSONBY
		A fine choice, sir.

				JENNER
		Excellent!

	EXT. DOCKSIDE, ISLE OF WIGHT - DAY

	JOHN BROWN leads his pony gently up the ramp and into the
	carrier bearing the Royal coat of arms.  The DRIVER leans
	in.

				DRIVER
		Are you riding up front?

	BROWN looks straight at this man, quiet and reserved.

				BROWN
		I'll stay with the pony, thank you. 
		She's all the way from Deeside and
		she's not sure she likes you yet.

	The DRIVER shrugs and slams the doors on them.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, CORRIDOR AND QUEEN'S DINING ROOM - DAY

	VICTORIA reaches the dining room door and takes a deep
	breath.  LADY ELY and LADY CHURCHILL stop a pace behind.

				VICTORIA
		How many?

	LADY ELY is slightly taken aback.

				LADY ELY
		The Royal Family and senior members of
		the household, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Just them?

				LADY ELY
		Yes, ma'am.

	VICTORIA closes her eyes, then steels herself and steps
	through the door.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN'S DINING ROOM - DAY

	Everyone stiffens as VICTORIA walks in.  Acknowledging the
	other diners with a quick nod, the Queen takes her place.

	She flaps open her napkin and, bang on cue, everyone else
	sits and does the same.  The meal is served immediately by
	waiting SERVANTS, who plonk the food down without ceremony.

	It's a very ordinary meal of meat and vegetables.  VICTORIA
	starts eating heartily, straight away.  Everyone does the
	same.

	Only the clink of cutlery and the same eerie silence.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE, THE GROUNDS - DAY

	The Royal horse-carrier rattles into the grounds and on
	down the driveway past the beautiful, manicured lawns
	stretching away towards the ornate twin towers of Osborne
	House.  A few outdoor servants watch its progress
	curiously.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN'S DINING ROOM - DAY

	The silence continues as VICTORIA finishes her plain
	pudding.  Immediately, servants appear at every place and
	whip away the pudding bowls whether their owners have
	finished or not.  Nobody thinks this odd; it is part of the
	routine.  DOCTOR JENNER clears his throat.

				JENNER
		We're expecting Brown this afternoon,
		ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Whom?

	A beat.  VICTORIA takes a sip of water, dabs her mouth with
	her napkin and rises.  Everyone else rises too.  Suddenly,
	the Queen turns to Bertie's nervous wife, PRINCESS
	ALEXANDRA, and proclaims abruptly:

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		That's a very pretty shawl you are
		wearing, Alex.  Silk suits you well.
			(beat)
		But you are not eating enough.  One
		must not let vanity overrule one's
		appetite.

				PRINCESS ALEXANDRA
		Yes, ma'am.

	VICTORIA nods earnestly.  Lost to the effect her words have
	had, she marches out again.  Behind her, she leaves
	PRINCESS ALEXANDRA feeling humiliated and crestfallen in
	front of all the others.  BERTIE takes her hand and
	squeezes tight, trying awkwardly to console.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE - DAY

	The horse-carrier pulls up outside the servant's entrance
	and the DRIVER opens the doors.

	JOHN BROWN pulls out a watch from his waistcoat and checks
	the time.  His eyes narrow critically.

				BROWN
		I was due at a quarter past one.
			(beat)
		You're late.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, CORRIDOR - DAY

	A few minutes later, JOHN BROWN strides down the long
	corridor with PONSONBY at his side.  Their journey takes
	them down an endless series of corridors, past servants and
	householders hurrying about their duties.  The presence of
	the dead Albert is felt all around in the black-wreathed
	portraits and busts that crop up along the way.

	BROWN and PONSONBY could not be more contrasted.

				PONSONBY
			(in low tones)
		Her Majesty's routine at Osborne House
		is not as you will remember it.  The
		Household remains in full mourning and
		no-one is permitted to raise their
		voice under any circumstances
		whatsoever.  As for the Queen's
		routine, she breakfasts at nine
		thirty, lunches at two,takes tea at
		five thirty and dinner at eight forty
		five.  No one is allowed to leave the
		building while the Queen is at home. 
		On the rare occasions when she is out,
		you may ask permission to leave, but
		only with my consent. 
		You're to be ready to walk the pony at
		any time after ten o'clock.  You'll
		clean her outdoor things and do any
		odd jobs as and when she requires.

				BROWN
		How will I know?

				PONSONBY
			(surprised to be interrupted)
		I'm sorry?

				BROWN
		How will I know what she requires?

				PONSONBY
		You'll be sent a message.

				BROWN
		Who'll bring it to me?

				PONSONBY
		Her Highness' Equerry.

				BROWN
		I need a man who knows where I am.

				PONSONBY
		I'm sure it won't be difficult to find
		you.

				BROWN
		That's not good enough.

	A beat.

				PONSONBY
		Then we'll have to see what can be
		arranged.

				BROWN
		Aye, do.

	PONSONBY stiffens.  A beat.

				PONSONBY
		There is to be no communication with
		other members of the household on
		matters concerning the court except
		through myself or one of the
		Equerries.  No plans must be altered
		unless you are given prior authority
		by myself or a senior member of the
		household.

				BROWN
		I came down at the Queen's request. 
		I'll take my orders from her.

				PONSONBY
		In matters concerning the Household, I
		act on her behalf.

	BROWN takes the measure of him.

				BROWN
		Do you?

				PONSONBY
		Yes.
			(beat)
		I do.

	BROWN glances up the corridor.

				BROWN
		So, is passing wind out of the
		question or do I need permission for
		that?

	PONSONBY refuses to acknowledge what he has heard.  They
	reach the door of the Royal Chamber and he concludes the
	interview.

				PONSONBY
		As I am sure you remember from
		Balmoral, you do not talk while in Her
		Majesty's presence unless Her Majesty
		addresses you directly.

	BROWN refuses to answer, so PONSONBY knocks.  After a
	moment, the door is opened by LADY ELY who ushers them in.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, QUEEN'S SITTING ROOM - DAY

	BROWN walks stiffly into the room and stops.  PONSONBY
	waits by the door.

				PONSONBY (O.S.)
		Mr Brown, ma'am.

	VICTORIA is bent over the desk, working at one of her
	numerous red boxes.  She scribbles furiously at a letter,
	underlining and accenting words as she goes.  Finally, LADY
	ELY steps up to her side and whispers something in her ear. 
	She carries on working.

	BROWN has time to survey the room.  Dominating everything
	are the same black-wreathed busts and portraits of Prince
	Albert glimpsed in the corridor.

	Finally, VICTORIA nods and LADY ELY beckons BROWN forward. 
	He steps up in front of the desk and waits.  VICTORIA looks
	up and BROWN bows deeply.

	Silence.

	She stares at him for a long moment without apparently
	registering who he is.  He towers over her, in bright
	tartan, while she sits hunched in her seat, all in black
	and knotted with tension.

	Finally, she finds her voice.  She sounds nervous and edgy.

				VICTORIA
		Mr Brown.

				BROWN
		Ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		You are here safely.

				BROWN
		Aye, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		You are well?

				BROWN
		I am.

				VICTORIA
		And the pony?

				BROWN
		She's well, too.

	VICTORIA blinks at the sight of him.  His presence is
	bringing him back.  A beat.

				VICTORIA
		Your family sent cards.  It was much
		appreciated.

				BROWN
		I'm glad of it.

	In an effort to control her emotions, VICTORIA now sounds
	the same severe note as at lunch.  But BROWN, unlike
	others, seems unaffected.

				VICTORIA
		My husband was always very
		complimentary in speaking of you.  He
		would have approved, I am sure, of my
		calling on you in this way.
			(beat)
		I trust it does not inconvenience you
		too much.

				BROWN
		I've no family, ma'am, apart from my
		brothers and sisters.

				VICTORIA
		Yes.
			(beat)
		You have a brother in service here, do
		you not?
			(furrowing her brow)
		I forget his name.

				BROWN
		Archie.

				VICTORIA
		Yes.
			(beat)
		That will be company for you.

				BROWN
		Yes, ma'am.

	Silence.  VICTORIA starts to tire.  She takes a sip of
	water and spills a little on herself.  Flustered, she
	searches for a hanky but cannot find one.  LADY ELY hurries
	up with one of her own and the Queen dabs it off.  BROWN
	watches all of this with genuine concern.  When VICTORIA
	finally looks up, he stares at her in deep sympathy.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Honest to God, I never thought to see
		you in such a state.  You must miss
		him dreadfully.

	VICTORIA stares back in stunned silence.  PONSONBY coughs
	involuntarily.  LADY ELY freezes.  A beat.

				VICTORIA
		You do not - he ... get him out.
			(beat)
		Get him out.  Get him out!

	Suddenly, BROWN finds himself tugged backwards out of the
	room.  LADY ELY rushes up to assist as VICTORIA shouts
	herself into a fit of uncontrolled sobbing.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, BROWN'S QUARTERS - DAY

	Some minutes later, BROWN is angrily unpacking a trunk. 
	His humiliation expresses itself in the extraordinary
	ferocity with which he slams down every object.

	His younger brother, ARCHIE, sits on the bed.  He's in his
	early thirties, bright, sharp and dressed in the same
	distinctive kilt and tweed.

				ARCHIE
			(telling it fast)
		So the day they arrive, she greets the
		Sultan and his family with barely a
		word and then retires to her chamber. 
		The Sultan, not used to State
		Occasions without a head of State, is
		standing in the lobby waiting for
		someone to tell him what to do.  But
		the court is under strict instructions
		not to talk in the corridors so nobody
		speaks to him, not a living soul, for
		the whole afternoon.  So now it's
		dinner and everyone's standing round
		the table -- still not a word --
		waiting for Her Majesty to arrive. 
		One hour goes by, two, the Sultan's
		getting a wee bit peckish to say the
		least.  So finally, his wee laddy
		breaks for the cold meats and stuffs a
		slice in his mouth.  Well, the uproar
		when she heard.  You'd have thought
		someone had stolen the crown jewels.

	BROWN stares back, still pissed off.

				BROWN
		So?

				ARCHIE
		So, there are rules.  Things you do
		and things you don't do.

				BROWN
		I was just telling the woman how I
		feel, for God's sake.

				ARCHIE
		You don't tell Her Majesty how you
		feel.

				BROWN
		I speak as I find, Archie.

				ARCHIE
		Not down south you don't.

	BROWN slams a drawer shut.  ARCHIE lets it go and watches
	his brother.  A beat.

				ARCHIE (CONT'D)
		So what did Ponsonby do when she
		started shouting?

				BROWN
		I think he nearly ruptured his truss.

	A beat, then both men burst out laughing.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, SERVANT'S HALL - DAY

	The clatter of voices and banging doors as under servants
	hurry about with plates, knives and forks, laying the Upper
	Servant's huge table for dinner.  ARCHIE leads BROWN
	through this rush of activity.

				BROWN
		How much?

				ARCHIE
		Seventy a year.

				BROWN
		Not bad, not bad.

				ARCHIE
		How about yourself?

				BROWN
		Sixty.

				ARCHIE
			(grinning)
		That's pretty good for a ghillie.

	BROWN smiles dryly.  They pour themselves a drink from the
	table.

				BROWN
		Prince Leopold?  Is he the one who
		bleeds all day?  So what does his
		valet do?  Wash his poultices for him?

				ARCHIE
		It's better than shovelling horse
		shit.

				BROWN
		If you were looking for promotion, you
		should have picked one of the
		healthier ones.

				ARCHIE
		She's hardly a full hamper herself.

				BROWN
			(beat)
		It's only grief makes her like she is.

				ARCHIE
		Three years, John.  Is that not a bit
		long to be grieving?

				BROWN
		She loved him.

				ARCHIE
		Come on, man.  There's love and
		there's ...

				BROWN
		What?

				ARCHIE
		You know what I mean.

				BROWN
		I'm not sure I do, Archie.

				ARCHIE
		There's love and there's behaving like
		you do because there's nobody to tell
		you not to.

	Hold on BROWN.  He lets it go and moves on.  Across the
	hall, he spots the pretty ASSISTANT DRESSER watching them.

				BROWN
		Which one of us is she flirting with?

				ARCHIE
		The good-looking one.

				BROWN
		Aye?  Then she's obviously not got
		enough to do.

				ARCHIE
		You work the system right, you could
		ask her yourself.  Just be thankful
		you're not working for Household.  The
		Queen never lets them out of her
		sight.  But wee spats like us can slip
		through the net, easy.

	A beat.  BROWN stares straight at him.

				BROWN
		I'm no wee spat, ARCHIE.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, UPPER CORRIDOR - MORNING

	The next day, VICTORIA and her ladies are hurrying down a
	corridor on her way into the dining room.  VICTORIA
	suddenly stops and stares out of the windows.  Her
	entourage are several steps past her before they realize
	what's happened and scurry back to take up their positions
	behind.

	Now we see what has caught her attention.  BROWN is
	standing in the courtyard below, by his pony.  She watches
	him for a moment, then without reacting, walks on.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE - AFTERNOON

	Some hours later.  It is now raining.

	A gaggle of ROYAL GRANDCHILDREN hurry out of a carriage
	from their afternoon recreational while their NANNIES
	frantically try to keep them dry under the umbrellas.  John
	BROWN stands tall and erect on the gravel while they rush
	around him, laughing and giggling.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, UPPER CORRIDOR - EVENING

	Rain on the window.  VICTORIA is walking in the opposite
	direction down the corridor with her entourage.  She stops
	at the same place as before.

				VICTORIA
			(as if she had not seem him
			 earlier)
		Who is that?

	Lady Ely peers through the rain.

				LADY ELY
		It's Mr Brown, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		What is he doing there?

				LADY ELY
		He appears to be ... standing by his
		horse.

				VICTORIA
		I made no request to go out riding
		today.
			(beat)
		How long has he been there?

				LADY ELY
		I don't know, ma'am.
			(nervously)
		He was observed earlier, I believe.

	At this moment, PONSONBY comes down the corridor.

				VICTORIA
		Sir Henry, Mr Brown is standing in the
		courtyard.  I have no wish to go
		riding.

				PONSONBY
		I'm very sorry, ma'am.  I can't
		imagine -- he was certainly given no
		instructions.

				VICTORIA
		Please make sure it does not happen
		again.

				PONSONBY
		Of course, at once.

	VICTORIA takes one last look and walks away.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, PRIVATE SECRETARY'S CHAMBERS - NIGHT

	Half an hour later, PONSONBY stands at his desk facing
	BROWN.

				PONSONBY
		What on earth did you think you were
		doing?

	BROWN stares straight back.

				BROWN
		Awaiting my orders.

				PONSONBY
		You do not report for duty unless the
		Queen requests it.  You know that very
		well.

				BROWN
		I didn't come all this way to sit on
		my arse.

				PONSONBY
		You will await your orders like
		everyone else.  Unless you prefer a
		repeat of yesterday's little
		excitement.

				BROWN
		No.

				PONSONBY
		I beg your pardon?

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, UPPER CORRIDOR - DAY

	The next day.  From a high window, we see PONSONBY
	scuttling madly across the courtyard towards the figure of
	JOHN BROWN, who is standing exactly as he was the day
	before.

	VICTORIA watches impassively.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE, COURTYARD - DAY

	PONSONBY stands close to BROWN, shouting in his face.

				PONSONBY
		I thought I made myself perfectly
		clear.  You do not leave your room
		until Her Majesty requests it.

				BROWN
			(eyes straight ahead,
			 shouting back)
		Well, you tell Her Majesty from me, if
		her husband was here now, he'd have
		had her out of that house and getting
		some air in her.  What the hell's the
		point in me being here otherwise?!

	From the window above, VICTORIA takes in his words.  A
	beat.  PONSONBY collects himself.

				PONSONBY
		Go inside at once.

				BROWN
		Is that the Queen's request?

				PONSONBY
		Yes, it most certainly is!

	BROWN turns, grabs the lead rein and leads his horse back
	to the stables.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, STABLES - DAY

	A few minutes later, BROWN is in the process of stabling
	his horse.  Suddenly he turns.

	VICTORIA is standing at the far end of the stable with her
	entourage.

				VICTORIA
		Mr Brown.

				BROWN
		Yes, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		You have been told repeatedly not to
		stand in the courtyard unless
		requested to do so.

				BROWN
		Yes, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Then why do you persist in doing it?

				BROWN
		Because I think Her Majesty is wrong. 
		If ever there was a poor soul who
		needed fresh air, it is her.

	A beat.

				VICTORIA
		The Queen will ride out if and when
		she chooses.

				BROWN
		And I intend to be there when she's
		ready.

	Silence.  The two of them stare at each other.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE, THE GROUNDS - DAY

	The next day, high and wide over the stunningly manicured
	landscape.  Long lawns, wind-cropped copses and in the
	distance, the glittering sea.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE, THE GROUNDS - DAY

	VICTORIA sits side-saddle on a horse.  BROWN leads her in
	silence.

	EXT. CLIFFTOP - DAY

	VICTORIA looks up.

				VICTORIA
		Prince Albert was going to build a
		bench here.  He thought it one of the
		best views in Osborne.

				BROWN
		It's a fine spot, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		He thought so, yes.

	She stares ahead.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		In everything I do and everything I
		say, I try to think, as much as
		possible, what he would do, or say, if
		he were here now.  My Private
		Secretary wishes me to return to
		public duties--

	She stops abruptly, but BROWN cuts in.

				BROWN
		If Prince Albert were here today, he'd
		tell him a thing or two.

				VICTORIA
		Sir Henry is not alone.  They all wish
		it.
			(beat)
		The same people who refused to grant
		my husband the title of King because
		he was deemed of insufficient rank--

	She stops again, cutting quickly back to small-talk.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		It is a fine spot for a bench, is it
		not?

				BROWN
		Aye, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Yes.

	A pause.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I have some letters in the saddle bag. 
		I wish to read them.

	BROWN walks up to her side, opens the saddle bag and hands
	her a bundle of letters held together with ribbon.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I cannot read them like that.

	BROWN undoes the ribbon and tries again.  VICTORIA cuts in.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		You will hand them to me as I require.

	BROWN takes off the top letter and hands it to her.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, UPPER SERVANT'S TABLE - NIGHT

	The clatter and crush of the Upper Servant's table as UPPER
	SERVANTS sit themselves down to dinner while UNDER SERVANTS
	prepare to serve soup.

	ARCHIE comes in and sits himself somewhere in the middle
	next to an empty seat.  A moment later, BROWN strides in.

	But instead of sitting at the place beside his brother, he
	goes straight to the head of the table and plonks himself
	down.  Slowly, the clatter dies away as the whole room
	stops and stares at him in silence.  BROWN fixes them with
	a look.

	An elderly butler steps into the room and stares in
	amazement at BROWN.  A smooth young man, BERTIE'S VALET,
	hurries up to intercede.

				BERTIE'S VALET
		Mr. Carter, the Head Butler, sits
		there.

				BROWN
		Not now he doesn't.  This is my place.

				BERTIE'S VALET
		By whose authority?

				BROWN
		My own.

	A little frisson of oh-my-gawdness.  BERTIE'S VALET stares
	icily at him.

				BERTIE'S VALET
		The order of seating at the Upper
		Servant's table is arranged personally
		by the Queen herself.

				BROWN
		That's a tautology lad.
			(unable to stop himself
			 seriously explaining it)
		If you say the Queen arranges
		something, you've no need to say she's
		done it personally.  That's
		understood.

	But as far as BERTIE'S VALET is concerned, it isn't.  He
	stares down in mute fury, then snaps his fingers at one of
	the under servants, who rushes over.  There is a hurried
	exchange of whispers before the under servant rushes out.

	Unperturbed, BROWN brings out his flask and pours himself a
	substantial draft of whiskey.  He turns to the pretty
	assistant dresser, sitting to his right.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Are you dresser to Her Majesty?

	She blinks nervously at him.

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
		Assistant, sir, yes.

	BROWN tucks into his soup.  Everyone watches and waits.

				BROWN
		What's your name?

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
		Mary Taylor, sir.

				BROWN
		Have I seen you up in Balmoral, Mary?

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
		I hope to go up next year.

				BROWN
		You wouldn't happen to know what the
		Queen's reading for recreation, would
		you, Mary?

	The assistant dresser thinks for a moment.

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
		Lord Tennyson, sir?

	BROWN nods.  All conversation stops as the under servant
	bursts back in.  She halts at the door, looking blankly
	from Bertie's valet to the elderly butler.  A beat.  The
	old man stiffens and makes his way to the middle of the
	table.

	BROWN looks up from his soup.

				BROWN
		Am I the only one eating?

	With a clatter of spoons, everyone obediently eats.

	INT. OSBORNE HOUSE, DRAWING ROOM - DAY

	A few days later.  A morning "drawing room."  Standing
	round the unlit fireplace are DOCTOR JENNER, LADY ELY, LADY
	CHURCHILL, the two LADIES IN WAITING and PRINCESS
	ALEXANDRA.  All are dressed against the icy wind that
	whistles through the open window where VICTORIA sits
	knitting busily while BERTIE stands beside her, coat
	buttoned up to the collar.  PONSONBY has stationed himself
	opposite, beside a desk piled high with red dispatch boxes. 
	He runs through the daily itinerary.

				PONSONBY
		Lord Clarendon arrives, by invitation,
		at eleven o'clock, followed at twelve
		by a picnic in the grounds to
		celebrate Princess Alice's birthday. 
		Dispatches, as usual, at two.
			(finishes, then coughs)
		The Chancellor writes to say that, by
		happy coincidence, he will be in Cowes
		for the weekend.  He asks if Your
		Majesty might grant him an audience.

				VICTORIA
		Why?

				PONSONBY
		He thought, perhaps, Your Majesty
		might wish to be informed of the
		latest developments in government.

				VICTORIA
		No.  I shall be out walking.

	A beat.  BERTIE watches closely now.  PONSONBY coughs
	again, nervous.

				PONSONBY
		Then perhaps Your Majesty might
		consider it opportune if the Prince of
		Wales were to meet him on your behalf?

	VICTORIA stiffens.  She speaks without turning.

				VICTORIA
		On no account.

	PONSONBY gives up.  Politely, but firmly, BERTIE takes up
	the reins.

				BERTIE
		Mama, I really do think it's time we
		made ourselves a little more ...
		available.

	VICTORIA carries on knitting.

				BERTIE (CONT'D)
		I think we must accept our position in
		the country is not entirely unrelated
		to the continued absence of the
		Monarchy from public life.
			(silence)
		I thought perhaps we might consider a
		small gesture of some kind?

	VICTORIA looks up sharply.

				VICTORIA
		Gesture?

				BERTIE
		I thought, a dinner for our
		ambassadors perhaps?

				VICTORIA
			(cutting in firmly)
		No dinners, Bertie.
			(beat)
		Why are you dressed for outdoors?

				BERTIE
		It's so infernally cold in here.

				VICTORIA
		Cold is good--
			(calling across)
		Is that not so, Dr. Jenner?!

				JENNER
		I'm sorry, ma'am?

				VICTORIA
		Cold is good!

				JENNER
		Excellent, ma'am, excellent.
			(trying his hand)
		But perhaps if her Majesty were to
		consider accompanying her new-found
		physical vigor with the benefits of
		mental activity...

				VICTORIA
			(becoming very agitated)
		Why am I being lectured in this way?!

				JENNER
		Forgive me, Your Majesty.  In no way
		did I wish to suggest--

				VICTORIA
			(cutting across him)
		I will not tolerate anybody lecturing
		me about the responsibility of the
		monarchy....

				BERTIE
		Mother....

				VICTORIA
		... Least of all my son.  It was his
		irresponsibility that drove my husband
		to his grave.

	An appalled silence.  With great dignity, BERTIE absorbs
	the shock of the insult and quietly steers the conversation
	in another direction.

				BERTIE
		If it is inconvenient to Her Majesty,
		then perhaps she might consider
		allowing the Prince of Wales to host--

				VICTORIA
		I do believe they send so many boxes
		to taunt me. 
		Doctor Jenner writes to them to say
		that my nerves are in an extremely
		fragile state and yet they continue to
		hound me with box after box after box
		after box after box!

	Silence.  VICTORIA has crossed to the window and stares out
	at the view.  Having recovered her composure, she turns to
	address them all.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I wish to take the Princesses for a
		swim.

	For a moment, nobody believes what they have heard.  She
	continues.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		The turns I have been taking in the
		grounds have proved most beneficial to
		me, and Brown thinks that salt water
		will do me good.

	Bertie stares at her in silence while PONSONBY and DOCTOR
	JENNER exchange a worried look.

	EXT. PRIVATE BEACH, ISLE OF WIGHT - DAY

	The doors of the Royal bathing-machine swing open and Queen
	VICTORIA, in a voluminous swim-dress, sails out like a duck
	into the freezing sea.  As she does so, the doors of the
	other machines open and Princess Helena and Princess Louise
	follow her in.  Dignity does not allow them to shout out,
	but their expressions of constipated agony are a picture.

	VICTORIA begins swimming around in a vigorous little
	circle.

				VICTORIA
		Don't potter, children.  Swim.

	Hold for a moment on the princesses' miserable faces.

	EXT. OSBORNE HOUSE - DAY

	Half an hour later, PONSONBY, DOCTOR JENNER, LADY ELY and
	two FOOTMEN watch as BROWN helps VICTORIA up some steps and
	onto her horse.  He glances at the stiff line of
	householders and mutters curtly to himself.

				BROWN
		You could buy that lot for garden
		ornaments and still see change from
		ten guineas.

	The household do not hear this, but QUEEN VICTORIA has
	overheard and tries to suppress a smile. 
	As she settles into the saddle, her foot comes loose. 
	BROWN fastens it into the stirrups.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Lift your foot, woman.

	Everyone hears this.  VICTORIA obeys.  Taking the reins, he
	then walks the QUEEN out of the courtyard.  As they vanish
	from site, we hear...

				DISRAELI (O.S.)
		This nation is fortunate in so much as
		it is not governed by force...

						FADE TO BLACK.

	CAPTION: "1866"

						FADE IN:

	INT. THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT - DAY

	The speech continues as we follow the progress of a
	Tomahawk cartoon doing the rounds of the Tory back benches
	from knee to knee.  It is entitled, "Where is Britannia?"
	and shows an empty throne draped with the Royal cloak.

				DISRAELI (O.S.)
		... but by a chain of traditions that
		have been cherished from generation to
		generation, because in them -- in our
		traditions -- are embodied all the
		laws which have enabled us to create
		the greatest empire of modern times...

	During the above, the cartoon reaches the front benches and
	lands on the knees of the young, earnest STANLEY.  As he
	frowns at the picture in front of him, DISRAELI winds up.

				DISRAELI (CONT'D)
		... but, even though we have amassed
		great capital and even though we have
		established an industry with no
		parallel in the world, yet all these
		mighty creations are as nothing
		compared to the invisible customs that
		shape our lives.  To those honorable
		gentlemen of the opposition who seek
		to destroy the essential elements of
		this country, I say let them remember:
		England cannot begin again.

	During this peroration, we see DISRAELI for the first time. 
	He is handsome, obviously Jewish and wire thin, like
	Dickens on Slimfast.  He dresses almost dandyishly but
	speaks with startling vigor; a combination of brilliance
	and cheek that is his key.  To cheers from his back
	benchers, he sits.

	As he looks up, he catches the eye of his opposite on the
	Liberal benches.  GLADSTONE is different in almost every
	respect; dour, dogged, heavy-set and tall.  They stare
	levelly for a second, then DISRAELI flashes a brilliant
	smile.

	STANLEY plops the cartoon on his lap.

				STANLEY
		Have you seen this?

	INT. THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, LOBBY CORRIDOR - DAY

	A few minutes later, DISRAELI and STANLEY are strolling
	down the busy lobby corridor.  Throughout their talk, Tory
	back-benchers bustle up to pat their hero on the back and
	offer their congratulations.

				STANLEY
		Should we take it seriously?

				DISRAELI
		The cartoon or Her Majesty's
		absenteeism?

				STANLEY
		Well, both.

				DISRAELI
		The question is, do we need her?

				STANLEY
		Surely, you're not suggesting we
		dispense--

				DISRAELI
		My dear Stanley, a Prime Minister with
		only a handful of friends must respect
		public opinion.

	The pass GLADSTONE in a huddle of cohorts.

				DISRAELI (CONT'D)
		Gossip counts.  Lord Aberdeen was
		right.  This country is not governed
		by wisdom but by talk.
			(beat)
		Granted, it wouldn't take much to
		winkle the old girl out of mourning,
		but if public opinion is against her,
		then it doesn't do to appear too
		close.

				STANLEY
		So?

				DISRAELI
		We'll see which way the wind blows.

	DISRAELI sweeps through a prattle of back-benchers.

	EXT. PUBLIC BEACH, ISLE OF WIGHT - DAY

	BROWN and ARCHIE crash into the water.  It is freezing. 
	BROWN braces himself against the icy shallows by bellowing
	Burns at the sea.

				BROWN
		My heart's in the Highlands, my heart
		is not here!  My heart's in the
		Highlands a-chasing the deer!  Chasing
		the wild deer and following the roe! 
		My heart's in the Highlands wherever I
		go!

	ARCHIE is so creased up with laughing, he almost drowns.

	EXT. PUBLIC BEACH, ISLE OF WIGHT - DAY

	A few minutes later, BROWN and ARCHIE hurry back up the
	cold beach to rub themselves dry.  BROWN is very energized.

				BROWN
		One box of biscuits, one box of drop
		tablets, one box of pralines, sixteen
		chocolate sponges.  It's the same
		order every week, but does anybody
		bother to check it?  Now she has to
		travel all the way to Balmoral without
		the few luxuries she actually enjoys.

				ARCHIE
		So?  Someone'll send it on ahead.

				BROWN
		Aye, but will they?

				ARCHIE
		John, it's not your problem what she
		eats.

				BROWN
		The woman's surrounded by fools!
			(beat)
		She has to be packed and ready to
		leave by seven thirty tomorrow
		morning.  Knowing that lot, they'll
		still be dressing her at eight.

	BROWN takes a nip of whiskey and offers some to his
	brother.

				ARCHIE
		She's got an army of people to get her
		up and out.

				BROWN
		But I'm the only one she trusts.

	ARCHIE stares at him.  A beat.

				ARCHIE
		She'll blow hot and cold on you, John,
		she always does.  You want to be
		careful.

				BROWN
		I'm on ninety pounds a year plus
		seventy pounds for a pile of tartan
		I'd be wearing anyway.  That's as much
		as a Page of the Back Stairs gets and
		that job's only for toffs.
			(raising his hip flask
			 triumphantly at the sea)
		I'm Her Majesty's Highland Servant! 
		Indoors and Out.  There's no stopping
		me now.

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - NIGHT

	A few days later.

	The clatter of carriage and horse as the ROYAL PARTY
	thunders through gathering dark toward Balmoral Castle.

	CAPTION: "BALMORAL"

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - TWILIGHT

	A mass of torches encircle the ROYAL PARTY as kilted
	GHILLIES and STAFF swarm round the carriage, opening doors
	and clambering off boxes while a regiment of PIPERS play
	them in.

	Amid this swarm of activity, we glimpse BROWN opening the
	door to a smiling VICTORIA as she climbs down, followed by
	PRINCESS HELENA and PRINCESS LOUISE.  Emerging from another
	carriage come BERTIE and PRINCESS ALEXANDRA, staring grim
	faced at the castle.  HENRY PONSONBY and DOCTOR JENNER
	alight from their carriage as PONSONBY slips on his gloves
	and pinches his nose at the pain of remembrance.

				PONSONBY
		Oh God, not the pipes!

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	The next day.

	High over the vast, bleak mountains of Lochnager and Loch
	Muick.  VICTORIA and BROWN are riding fast towards the top. 
	Reaching the summit, VICTORIA points excitedly at the far
	horizon.

				VICTORIA
		What are those?

				BROWN
		What?

				VICTORIA
		Those, over there, there.

				BROWN
			(horse chestnut trees...)
		Craobhan-geanmchno-fhiadhaich.

				VICTORIA
			(beat)
		Craobhan-geanmchno...
			(bursts out laughing)
		How can I possibly say that with a
		straight face?!

	BROWN lets it go and they ride on.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I am thinking of publishing my
		"Highland Journals."

				BROWN
		Are they worth reading?

				VICTORIA
			(beat)
		I am told so.

				BROWN
		Who by?

				VICTORIA
		Sir Henry Ponsonby tells me they are
		charming.

				BROWN
		What does he know about the Highlands?

				VICTORIA
		He has been attending at Balmoral for
		many years.

				BROWN
		That doesn't make him an expert.

				VICTORIA
		His remarks were directed at the
		quality of the writing, not its
		subject.

				BROWN
		I don't groom a horse to have it
		admired by others, I groom it because
		it needs grooming.

				VICTORIA
			(curtly)
		I do not do it for others.  But
		Ponsonby thinks they are good.

				BROWN
		Just say what you have to say, woman. 
		What other people think shouldn't
		matter to you.

				VICTORIA
			(snapping)
		Of course I shall say what I have to
		say.  I always do.

	The stare at each other until BROWN kicks his horse on.

				BROWN
		Aye, well, if all you want is a good
		opinion then he'd be sure to oblige
		you.

				VICTORIA
			(riding alongside)
		What Mr Ponsonby was appreciating was
		their literary merit, a skill not
		intimately associated with the
		knowledge of grooming.
			(beat)
		Literary appreciation does not begin
		and end with Tennyson.

	BROWN lowers his head.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
			(in a softer tone)
		I mention you in them.

	BROWN says nothing.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		In particular, the occasion when
		Albert was alive; the Royal Carriage
		overturned during a storm and you
		demonstrated such loyal service in
		returning the Queen and the Princesses
		safely to Balmoral.

	Taking a sprig of heather from her brooch, VICTORIA holds
	it out to him.  A beat.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		For friendship.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DAY

	A few days later, PONSONBY, DOCTOR JENNER and BROWN stand
	at the chamber-desk, talking over the Queen's itinerary.

				BROWN
			(briskly)
		She'll be away on Friday between eight
		o'clock and six in the evening to
		visit the Grants in Glasalt.  If she's
		to make the journey there and back in
		the day she's to have no distractions
		the night before.  She'll take a light
		supper alone in her private drawing
		room and retire early.

				PONSONBY
		She'll need to sign dispatches before
		she retires.

				BROWN
		That can wait till the weekend.

				PONSONBY
		There are important papers from --

				BROWN
		It can wait.  Anything else?

				JENNER
		Are you sure Her Majesty is up to such
		a long journey?  She has only just
		recovered from a severe head cold.

				BROWN
		If I thought she wasn't up to it, I
		wouldn't let her go, would I?

	BROWN snaps together his papers and walks out, leaving
	PONSONBY and DOCTOR JENNER standing lamely at the table.

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DAY

	The next morning.  The ROYAL FAMILY are picnicking in the
	grounds.  VICTORIA walks along a path accompanied on one
	side by BROWN, on the other by BERTIE.

	BERTIE is in mid-plea.

				BERTIE
		Surely it is for the gentlemen to
		decide when to stop...

				VICTORIA
		It is a disgusting habit, Bertie.  It
		should be discouraged.

				BERTIE
		Yes, but isn't midnight a little
		excessive?

				VICTORIA
		It is quite late enough.

				BERTIE
		But mama, the room was built expressly
		for that purpose.  It has been a
		smoking-room by tradition ever since
		father --

				VICTORIA
			(cutting in angrily)
		Brown's responsibilities are onerous
		enough already.  He has far too much
		to do without having to stay up all
		night waiting for you to go to bed. 
		The smoking-room will be closed and
		the lights put out at twelve o'clock.

				BERTIE
		Mama...

				VICTORIA
		And that is my last word on the
		matter.

				BERTIE
		Well, I'm sorry, but I really do think
		it's too much that the gentlemen of
		the house should be dictated to by a
		servant.

				BROWN
		It's the Queen's decision.

				BERTIE
		I beg your pardon?
			(to VICTORIA)
		Mama...?

	Before Bertie can continue, BROWN steps right into his
	face.

				BROWN
		I think you should go now.
			(beat)
		You've tired your mother enough.

	BERTIE stares back, too stunned to speak.  He glances at
	his mother, but VICTORIA looks off into the distance as if
	she has not heard.  BERTIE turns and storms away.

	INT. ESTATE COTTAGE, BALMORAL - DAY

	JOHN BROWN is standing in the doorway of a small cottage
	watching, with amused detachment, as a middle-aged couple,
	MR and MRS GRANT, race about their tiny living room, trying
	desperately to make it presentable for the Queen's sudden
	visit.  They fling open the windows, slosh water on the
	fire, tidy up their two grubby BOYS, plump up the cushions,
	dump knitting under the sofa and try to smarten themselves
	up, all in the space of a few seconds.

				BROWN
		There's really no need for this.

				MRS GRANT
		I'll not have her seeing it like it
		is!
			(beat)
		I know she means well, but I wish
		she'd warn us she was coming.

				BROWN
		She thinks if she warned you, you'd go
		pouring water on the fire and stuffing
		the knitting under the sofa.

				MR GRANT
		Aye, well, you can't stop a wife being
		house-proud.

	MRS GRANT surveys the room critically.

				MRS GRANT
		All right.
			(beat)
		Show her in.

	EXT. ESTATE COTTAGE, BALMORAL - DAY

	VICTORIA sits on a horse and trap.  BROWN steps out and
	helps her down.

				BROWN
		They're ready now.

				VICTORIA
		I hope they didn't go to any trouble,
		John.

				BROWN
		Ah, well...

	INT. ESTATE COTTAGE, BALMORAL - DAY

	VICTORIA steps in to be greeted by all four GRANTS in one
	military row, smoke still steaming off the fire.  BROWN
	stands behind her, barely able to contain himself.  But for
	VICTORIA, it is all she's ever known and so she takes it as
	perfectly normal.

				VICTORIA
		Mr Grant.  How good it is to see you.

				MR GRANT
			(bowing deeply)
		Your Majesty.

				VICTORIA
		Mrs Grant.  How is your knee?  Has the
		pain eased a little?

				MRS GRANT
			(bobbing in terror)
		Oh not so bad, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Good.  Oh and here are Douglas and
		John.  Haven't you grown?

				MRS GRANT
			(still bobbing away)
		Growing all the time, ma'am.

	MR GRANT remembers himself and gestures VICTORIA towards a
	chair.

				MR GRANT
		Will you sit, ma'am?

	From his place by the wall, BROWN notices how easily she
	smiles as she is led to the chair.  She points to a picture
	on the wall and her good humour is infectious.

				VICTORIA
		I know that!  That's Cairn Lochan.  We
		picnicked there once, did we not,
		John?

	INT. A SOCIETY PARTY, LONDON - DAY

	A few days later, a party of ARISTOCRATS, MINISTERS,
	DIPLOMATS, ESCORTS, BUSINESSMAN and WHORES.  Into this
	brouhaha come DISRAELI, his elderly wife MARY ANNE and the
	young STANLEY.  It is all eyes and nods here.  Everyone
	knows everyone.

				DISRAELI
		Ah, the greasy pole.

				MARY ANNE
		Don't be facetious, dear. Remember
		your position.

				DISRAELI
		It's my position I'm thinking of.

	Across the room, STANLEY spots BERTIE amid a crowd of
	acolytes.

				STANLEY
		I see the Prince of Wales is here.

				DISRAELI
		I hope he got his mother's permission.

	STANLEY smiles faintly.  DISRAELI homes in on a punter and
	raises his hand, already working the room.

				DISRAELI (CONT'D)
		Lord Salisbury!

	INT. A SOCIETY PARTY, LONDON - DAY

	The society party is hotting up.  STANLEY is deep in
	conversation with three SOCIETY LADIES.

				SOCIETY LADY 1
			(ridiculously pleased with
			 herself)
		Why is the Queen penny-wise and pound
		foolish?  Because she looks after the
		Browns and lets the sovereigns take
		care of themselves!

	A peal of naughty laughter.  Unseen, DISRAELI steps up.

				DISRAELI
		And in your opinion?  Is she foolish?

	The SOCIETY LADY stares blankly back.

				SOCIETY LADY 1
		Well I ... well, I mean to say, it's
		hardly right, is it?

				DISRAELI
		What?

				SOCIETY LADY 1
		Well, the Queen and --
			(appalled whisper)
		Mr Brown.

	DISRAELI stares at her steadily, already thinking ahead.

				DISRAELI
		La superstition met le monde entier en
		flammes.

				SOCIETY LADY 2
			(thick as shit)
		I beg your pardon?

				DISRAELI
			(changing tack)
		Has anybody seen this ... Mr Brown?

				STANLEY
		He is her personal servant, I believe.

				SOCIETY LADY 1
			(knowingly)
		Follows her wherever she goes.

				DISRAELI
		He would hardly make a very good
		personal assistant if he did not.

	INT. ESTATE COTTAGE, BALMORAL - DAY

	BROWN stands by a wall, smiling to himself at the sight of
	QUEEN VICTORIA struggling to help lay the table while MRS
	GRANT nervously prattles on.

				MRS GRANT
		... it's not my best china.  I mean,
		it is my best china now, but the
		family set got stolen last summer.

				VICTORIA
		Oh, I'm so sorry ...

				MRS GRANT
		Of course it was no-one on the Estate. 
		More likely one of the lads from
		Braemar.  Or further even.
			(beat)
		I'll fetch the salt.

	MRS GRANT scurries away.  VICTORIA immediately holds up the
	spoons to BROWN with a questioning look -- above or beside
	the plate?  He nods her to the top and she quickly carries
	on.

	INT. A SOCIETY PARTY, LONDON - DAY

	DISRAELI and MARY ANNE stand with BERTIE and his ACOLYTES.

				BERTIE
		Mr Disraeli.  Ma'am.

				DISRAELI
		Your Royal Highness.  What a pleasure
		to see you here.

				BERTIE
		Have you met Mr Lyle?  He's in
		sugar...?

				DISRAELI
		I don't think I've had that pleasure.

	DISRAELI shakes hands with the fat sugar tycoon who wobbles
	with drink.  MARY ANNE engages him in conversation while
	BERTIE turns DISRAELI aside.

				BERTIE
		No doubt you've heard the rumors.

				DISRAELI
		I take no account of gossip, Your
		Highness.

				BERTIE
		My concern is for the reputation of
		the Monarchy.

				DISRAELI
		Of course.

				BERTIE
		I fear the influence he has on her. 
		The man's word is not to be credited. 
		He is an arriviste of the very lowest
		water.
			(beat)
		She's having a bust cast of him.  In
		Nero Marquino marble.

				DISRAELI
		I see.

				BERTIE
		I would talk to her myself, but she
		won't listen to me.  She must be
		persuaded, by someone she respects, to
		abandon this ridiculous favoritism
		before a situation develops.

				DISRAELI
		A situation?

				BERTIE
		I don't imagine you frequent the
		Republican Clubs.  But the fact that
		neither you nor I are members should
		not blind us to the significance of
		their existence.
			(beat)
		The Tory Party has always been our
		party.

				DISRAELI
		I'm flattered you think so.

				BERTIE
		I tell you, if we don't stick together
		on this, you could find yourself First
		President's Opposition.
			(murdering it)
		Du Royaum Uni.

				DISRAELI
		Quite.

	A beat.

				BERTIE
		I don't think we can overstate the
		seriousness of this.

	DISRAELI nods and BERTIE walks swiftly back to his party. 
	The moment he's gone, STANLEY steps up to DISRAELI's side.

				STANLEY
		What did he want?

				DISRAELI
		To know when he'll be king.

	INT. ESTATE COTTAGE, BALMORAL - DAY

	VICTORIA, BROWN and the GRANTS are eating around a large
	table.  Like a wife watching her husband, VICTORIA beams
	proudly at BROWN as he tells a story.

				BROWN
		... so Grant here and myself are
		riding over Lochnagar and the rain's
		pouring down in sheets and all we're
		thinking about is getting home for a
		drink, when through the gloom Grant
		spots a couple of poachers.  He gives
		me a shout and we chase them down
		towards the loch until Grant has your
		men up against the stacks and he's
		shouting and cursing at them, "Why are
		you poaching on Royal land?!"  And one
		of the little fellas looks up at him
		and says, "coz we've come up in the
		world."

	For a split second, both the GRANTS look petrified, then
	BROWN and VICTORIA explode into laughter and the GRANTS
	relax.  Suddenly the GRANTS are helpless with laughter too. 
	Beginning with VICTORIA's glass, BROWN pours out liberal
	quantities of whiskey all round.

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DUSK

	Later that night, the courtyard is packed with a gaggle of
	worried HOUSEHOLDERS holding lamps.

	Through the light, BROWN and VICTORIA clatter into the
	courtyard on the horse and trap.  DOCTOR JENNER breaks
	through the crowd in a state of high excitement.

				JENNER
		Your Majesty!  Thank goodness you're
		safe!  I'll have a bath prepared
		immediately.  I recommend Macdonald's
		African Embrocation --

				BROWN
			(cutting in)
		Ah, pipe down, man.  The woman's fine.

				VICTORIA
		We stayed a little longer than
		expected with Mr and Mrs Grant.  It
		was most agreeable.

				PONSONBY
		We were expecting you to return by
		six.

				VICTORIA
		And now I am back.

	BROWN cannot resist one more little dig.

				BROWN
		We took a nip of whiskey.

				VICTORIA
		To keep out the cold.

				BROWN
		Aye.

	VICTORIA smiles and BROWN lifts her off the trap.  Before
	walking in she turns and, in front of everyone, says...

				VICTORIA
		Thank you, John.

	BROWN bows and the QUEEN walks on.  As she straightens up,
	he finds PONSONBY and DOCTOR JENNER staring back at him in
	utter disbelief at what she has just said.  He turns and
	leads the horse back to the stables.

				JENNER
			(under his breath)
		She's drunk.

	PONSONBY doesn't answer.  He is watching BROWN very
	closely.

				JENNER (CONT'D)
		A distinct flushing around the cheeks. 
		She was drunk, I tell you.

				PONSONBY
		No, she wasn't.

	Silence.  JENNER turns to look at PONSONBY.

				JENNER
		Surely not ...

	PONSONBY's face is set hard.

				PONSONBY
		Don't even think about it.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, BALLROOM - NIGHT

	A crush of kilted GHILLIES as we slam into the height of
	the annual Ghillie's Ball.

	The whole court is reeling through the dance; all of them
	beholding the extraordinary spectacle of QUEEN VICTORIA and
	JOHN BROWN dancing together in the middle of the hall.

	PONSONBY and JENNER stand by the wall, watching.  Close-up
	on PONSONBY'S face as JENNER mutters darkly.

				JENNER
		Pandora's Box ...

	With a slam of feet the reel ends, the GHILLIES roar and
	BROWN and VICTORIA stand smiling at each other in silence. 
	A King and his Queen.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, BALLROOM - NIGHT

	Later that night.

	We find BROWN, slouched on the ground, dead-drunk and
	snoring loudly.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	A few days later, four JOURNALISTS are scrabbling up a
	stony path, armed with telescopes.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	A large ROYAL PARTY is making its way smoothly and quietly
	up the mountain.  BROWN is on horseback, leading VICTORIA
	on a dapple-grey.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	The JOURNALISTS rattle up the hill.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	BROWN and VICTORIA start pulling ahead of the main party.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	The JOURNALISTS scramble up to some gorse bushes, dump
	themselves down and start setting up the telescopes.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	BROWN and VICTORIA near the summit when BROWN suddenly
	stops.  He stiffens and turns to face the wind, as if
	catching a scent.  VICTORIA frowns.

				VICTORIA
		What is it, John?
			(beat)
		John?

				BROWN
		I heard something.

	BROWN's eyes fix on some distant gorse bushes.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		I won't be long.

	He dismounts and races off.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	The JOURNALISTS are peering through their telescopes.

				JOURNALIST 1
		Where did he get to?  I've lost him?

	Below them, BROWN races across the riverbank and
	undergrowth, unseen.

				JOURNALIST 2
		I don't know if there's much worth
		writing about.

				JOURNALIST 1
		Hard to tell.

	BROWN rears up above them and stops.

				BROWN
		This close enough for you?  Go on!  On
		your way!  You filthy scavengers!

	The JOURNALISTS scramble to their feet and start legging it
	down the hill, while BROWN roars furiously, hurling their
	bags after them.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		You leave her alone, do you hear?!

	The JOURNALISTS vanish below the hillside.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, UPPER SERVANT'S TABLE - NIGHT

	That night.

	BROWN is standing at the head of the table, yelling at the
	UPPER SERVANTS, irrespective of ARCHIE or anyone.

				BROWN
		If I catch the miserable by-blow who
		told those men where she'd be, then
		I'll hang his balls to dry on Jock
		Wemyss, so I will!!

	ARCHIE glances up at BERTIE'S VALET.  He is staring down at
	the table, teeth gritted, fists clenched.  BROWN rounds on
	them all again.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		What happens to John Brown is his
		business, but the Queen's security
		will never be compromised!

				BERTIE'S VALET
		We --

				BROWN
		You'll talk when I'm finished!

	BERTIE'S VALET stares at him in astonishment.  BROWN turns
	back to the table.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		That kind of disloyalty will not be
		tolerated in this house, is that
		clear?
			(beat, yelling)
		I said, is that clear?!

	There is a general mutter of assent.  BROWN turns and
	storms out as ARCHIE gets up to follow.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, HENRY PONSONBY'S ROOMS - DAY

	A few days later, PONSONBY is sitting at his desk, hands to
	his hips, listening quietly as DOCTOR JENNER reads from his
	copy of Punch.

				JENNER
		"Court Circular, Balmoral."
			(beat)
		"On Tuesday, Mr John Brown enjoyed a
		display of sheep-dipping by local
		farmers.  On Wednesday, he attended a
		seance where he was pleased to listen
		to a recital of Auld Lang Syne by Mr
		Robert Burns himself ..."

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, LOWER CORRIDOR - DAY

	BROWN crashes through a door holding a copy of the same
	journal.

				JENNER (O.S.)
		"... On Thursday, Mr John Brown walked
		on the slopes, accompanied by family
		and friend ..."

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, CORRIDOR - DAY

	BROWN storms up to PONSONBY's door.

				JENNER (O.S.)
		Mr Brown retired early.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, HENRY PONSONBY'S ROOMS - DAY

	BROWN bursts in on PONSONBY and JENNER, slamming down his
	copy of Punch on the desk.  He is furious but controlled.

				BROWN
		If I find out that you had anything to
		do with this, I will have you sacked.

				PONSONBY
		I believe that decision rests with Her
		Majesty.

				BROWN
		Don't think I can't persuade her.

				PONSONBY
		I don't doubt that the Queen was
		highly amused.  She has always had a
		very healthy sense of humor.

				BROWN
		This is a slur on her good name.

				PONSONBY
		In as much as the article is about
		yourself, I think you must now accept
		that the public has a right to its
		interest in you.

				BROWN
		Nobody has any rights over me.

				PONSONBY
		We are all of us subject to forces
		beyond our control, Mr Brown, even
		you.

	BROWN stares at him in silence.  A beat.

				BROWN
		You'll regret saying that.

						FADE TO BLACK.

	CAPTION: "1867"

						FADE IN:

	INT. THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT - DAY

	Chaos.  The Tories are losing the vote as both sides of the
	house stand and shout at each other while the SPEAKER rises
	in his chair.

				SPEAKER (O.S.)
		Order!  Order!  ORDER!

	A buzzing silence settles as the house sits for the vote. 
	The COUNTERS approach the chair.

				SPEAKER (CONT'D)
		Result of the vote to the first
		reading of the Bill to Disestablish
		the Irish Church.

	A murmur of excitement from the LIBERALS.

				SPEAKER (CONT'D)
		Order!

	A beat.

				COUNTER
		Ayes to the right, three hundred and
		thirty, noes to the left, two hundred
		and sixty-five...

	By the time he reaches "sixty-five" his voice is drowned in
	cheers from the Liberal benches.  DISRAELI and the rest of
	the front bench sit in stony silence.

	Somewhere on the Liberal back benches, a wild-eyed
	maverick, DILKE, rises to his feet shouting:

				DILKE
		Mr Speaker, I table a motion in
		furtherance of the Bill to
		Disestablish the Monarchy!

	A roar from the irate TORIES and chaos reigns again.

				SPEAKER
		Order!  Order!!  ORDER!!!

	INT. THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, LOBBY CORRIDOR - NIGHT

	An hour later the house is empty except for a few
	straggling MPs hurrying home.  An exhausted DISRAELI stands
	in the corridor with STANLEY.

				DISRAELI
		We're going to lose.

				STANLEY
		You can't know that for sure.

				DISRAELI
		Gladstone's got his party facing the
		same way for the first time in years. 
		We need help.
			(long beat)
		Where is the old girl?

				STANLEY
		Who?

				DISRAELI
		Mrs Brown.

				STANLEY
		It's questionable whether there's any
		advantage to be had from that
		direction.  She's never been less
		popular.

				DISRAELI
		In the press, perhaps.
			(holding up Punch)
		But she's sold more copies of her
		Highland Journal in three months than
		Punch will ever sell in a year.  Time
		to wheel her out.

				STANLEY
		She's refusing to leave Balmoral.

				DISRAELI
		What's her excuse this time?

				STANLEY
		The Princess Louisa is too ill to
		move.  Frankly, the Queen's rather
		upset at the recent spate of bad
		publicity.
			(beat)
		You're smiling.

				DISRAELI
		I was trying to imagine "rather
		upset."

	The elderly prelate, DEAN WELLSELLY, hurries in through the
	lobby doors.  DISRAELI puts on a welcoming smile.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		Forgive me, gentlemen.  I'm late.

				DISRAELI
		Not at all, Dean.  Good of you to
		spare the time.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		I came as quickly as I could.

				DISRAELI
		You've seen the latest cartoon in
		Punch, I take it?

				DEAN WELLSELLY
			(completely lost)
		I beg your pardon?

	DISRAELI opens the copy of Punch and hands it to Dean
	Wellselly.  The Dean clears his throat and starts to read.

				DISRAELI
			(as Wellselly reads)
		One of our madder brethren in the
		house was calling for disestablishment
		of the monarchy.

	Dean Wellselly looks up from the article, horrified.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		Good Lord.

				STANLEY
			(playing the soft glove)
		I'm sure it won't come to that.

				DISRAELI
			(the hard glove)
		No.  But it has now become a matter
		for our consciences.
			(beat)
		I was just telling Stanley how vital
		it is that the nation should feel the
		visible influence of the Sovereign. 
		As a reminder that Parliament, indeed
		my own ministry, depends on the will
		of the Queen.

	DEAN WELLSELLY nods his head gravely.  Over his shoulder,
	STANLEY is gaping at DISRAELI's silky distortion of the
	party political maneuver into a moral imperative.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		I couldn't agree with you more, but I
		am only Dean of Windsor.  I don't
		understand what ...

	DISRAELI interrupts.

				DISRAELI
		We hear from Balmoral that Mr Brown is
		interesting Her Majesty in some of the
		forms of worship associated with ...
		low-church Presbyterian.

	Silence.  DEAN WELLSELLY'S face is a picture of
	unrestrained horror.  Low-church.  Presbyterian.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		What can we do?

				DISRAELI
		Oh, several things.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, QUEEN'S DRAWING ROOM - DAY

	Some days later.

	Queen VICTORIA sits at her desk while Henry PONSONBY stands
	in front of her, holding a copy of The Times.

				VICTORIA
		Read it.

				PONSONBY
		Again?

				VICTORIA
		Read it!

	PONSONBY coughs once and begins again.

				PONSONBY
		"The Times wishes to join the rest of
		Her Majesty's loyal subjects in
		expressing its deep joy at the news
		that the Queen is soon to come out of
		her mourning."

	VICTORIA glowers at him.

				VICTORIA
		Who told them that?

				PONSONBY
		I have no idea.

				VICTORIA
		Why not?

				PONSONBY
		I -- forgive me, ma'am, I am no wiser
		than yourself.

	Suddenly, VICTORIA's temper goes and she shouts at him.

				VICTORIA
		No-one should think themselves wiser
		than me!
			(beat)
		It is not for any of the Queen's
		subjects to presume to tell Her
		Majesty when and where She should come
		out of mourning.  It is the Queen's
		sorrow that keeps her secluded!  It is
		Her overwhelming amount of work and
		responsibility, work which She feels
		will soon wear her out entirely!

				PONSONBY
		Your Majesty --

				VICTORIA
			(cutting right through him)
		Is it not enough that She is uncheered
		and unguided that she should also have
		to suffer these malicious rumors?!
			(a pause, more quietly)
		I am not a fool.
			(beat)
		I know there are those in the
		establishment too afraid to attack me
		and so they attack my dearest friends. 
		Sometimes -- I feel that Brown is all
		I have left of Albert.
			(beat)
		And now they attack Brown too.

	She looks up, eyes blazing.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I will not give him up to them.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, ROOM ADJOINING DRAWING ROOM - DAY

	BROWN is guarding the door to the drawing room while the
	balding BERTIE muscles up, eye ball to eye ball.

				BERTIE
		I wish to see my mother.

				BROWN
		She's busy.

				BERTIE
		Convey her a message.

				BROWN
		She's away to Windsor tomorrow.  Talk
		to her there.

				BERTIE
		Tell her the Prince of Wales wishes to
		speak with her urgently about matters
		concerning the press.

				BROWN
		Are you deaf as well as stupid?

	A split-second.  BERTIE gapes at him.

				BERTIE
		What did you say?

				BROWN
		I said, are you deaf as well as
		stupid?

				BERTIE
		Do you know who you address, sir?

				BROWN
		Whom you address.

				BERTIE
		The future King!

	A beat.

				BROWN
		Well, everyone's entitled to their
		opinion.

				BERTIE
		Out of my way!

	Foolishly, BERTIE tries to barge his way past.  Suddenly
	BROWN loses it completely.  He grabs the Prince of Wales by
	the shoulders and pins him back, shouting right into his
	face.

				BROWN
		LEAVE US ALONE, WHY DON'T YOU!!

	For a split-second, BROWN's eyes flicker as he senses he
	has gone too far.  A look of pure venom in BERTIE'S face,
	then ...

	EXT. WINDSOR CASTLE, QUADRANGLE - NIGHT

	Weeks later.

	In a roar of hooves and wheels, the Royal Carriage sweeps
	into the huge quadrangle.  JOHN BROWN stands rigid on the
	box, glowering at all the world.

	CAPTION: "WINDSOR"

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, SERVANT'S CORRIDOR - NIGHT

	A pair of doors open out onto a torchlit driveway as a mass
	of SERVANTS rush in and out, ferrying bags an trunks.

	BROWN marches in, still charged-up from the strain of the
	journey's watchfulness.  He spots an UNDER-PORTER snatching
	a break.

				BROWN
		You!  What's your business here?!

				UNDER-PORTER
			(jumping to)
		Under-porter, sir.

				BROWN
		Well, don't stand where you shouldn't!

	The UNDER-PORTER scrambles up the stairs.  A few SERVANTS
	exchange looks.  BROWN seems more determined than ever to
	exert his control.

	EXT. WINDSOR CASTLE, STABLES - NIGHT

	That night.

	Carrying an old storm lamp high over his head, BROWN walks
	towards the stables.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE - DAY

	The next day.

	BROWN is on horseback, riding with VICTORIA through the
	grounds.  He is still jumpy, eyes flicking left and right,
	searching for intruders.  They are being followed at a
	distance by two EQUERRIES on horseback.  VICTORIA frowns
	peevishly.

				VICTORIA
		Must they always follow us?

				BROWN
		I ordered it.  It's for your own
		safety.

				VICTORIA
		Dear me, you'll be telling me to watch
		what I eat next.

	BROWN doesn't react.  A beat.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		Am I not safe enough with you, John?

				BROWN
		Aye.
			(looking away)
		But there are Fenians reported on the
		mainland.

				VICTORIA
			(tutting irritably)
		The threat from the Irish is greatly
		exaggerated, I'm sure.

				BROWN
			(snapping back)
		I'll decide when it's exaggerated.

	BROWN chucks his horse on, bringing a firm halt to the
	conversation.  A beat.  He pulls up suddenly, staring at
	the shadows in the copse.

				VICTORIA
		Is anything the matter, John?
			(beat)
		John?

	He stares for along moment and then lets it go.

				BROWN
		Nothing's the matter.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, STABLES - NIGHT

	BROWN marches down the line of horse boxes.  A stable-lad,
	BARNEY, is feeding the horses.  He looks twitchy.

				BROWN
		Hey, Barney.

				BARNEY
		Mr Brown, sir --

				BROWN
		It's cold out there tonight, Barney.

	Reaching his pony, BROWN stops and smiles.  The animal
	lifts its face to him and he softly strokes his muzzle.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Yeah, there's a good girl.
			(to Barney)
		Have you had a look at this hoof?  She
		was limping badly.  I think there
		might be a stone in it.

				BARNEY
		Yeah, yeah, I did.

				BROWN
		Good man.  And is she all right?

				BARNEY
		Yeah.

				BROWN
		Good.  She's a good girl.  Aren't you? 
		Yeah, she's a lovely girl.  And you
		know the Queen's riding tomorrow?

				BARNEY
		Yeah.

				BROWN
			(beat)
		Are you all right, Barney?

	BARNEY twitches again and BROWN realizes too late.  The
	split-second he turns, he sees THREE MEN.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Oh, aye...

	The MEN pile onto him and he collapses under their weight.

	As he falls, BROWN manages to yank himself round, bang up a
	fist and fling the others off him.  But the FIRST MAN is up
	again, twisting an arm round his neck and tugging him back. 
	The others grapple his arms down, but BROWN is incredibly
	strong.  Even now, grunting and scrabbling, he makes them
	fight to force him back.  BARNEY stands transfixed in
	horror.

	Dumping BROWN against the wall, the men step back and start
	kicking the shit out of him.  BROWN curls into a ball, jaw
	locked, hands over his head.  Not a sound.

	Finally, they back off, panting hard.  The FIRST MAN pulls
	out a bottle of whiskey, yanks back BROWN's head and forces
	whiskey down his throat.  It spills over his face and
	dribbles down his neck.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, QUEEN'S SITTING ROOM - DAY

	The next day.

	VICTORIA is standing at the windows.  The door opens and
	LADY ELY walks in.

				VICTORIA
		Well?

				LADY ELY
		Mr Brown is unable to attend today.

				VICTORIA
		Why?

				LADY ELY
		I believe he is unwell, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Unwell?

				LADY ELY
		I understand he was in a fight.

				VICTORIA
		Has he been hurt?

				LADY ELY
		I believe not, ma'am.  I understand --
		he'd had rather too much to drink.

	VICTORIA walks away and steps behind her desk.

				VICTORIA
		You may go.

	LADY ELY bows and walks out.  VICTORIA stares at the desk a
	moment, then picks up her pen and tries to work.  She
	cannot.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, BROWN'S QUARTERS - DAY

	BROWN sits on the edge of the bed in only his
	undergarments.  His face, arms, legs and fingers are livid
	with bruises, but he sits there, stiff-backed and gritting
	his teeth, while ARCHIE crouches in front of him, tending
	to his wounds.

				BROWN
		And she sent no word down?

				ARCHIE
		They said you were drunk.
			(beat)
		Why don't you tell her the truth?

				BROWN
		She'll think it's her fault for
		keeping me.

	ARCHIE completes one of the dressings when BROWN suddenly
	reaches back and starts trying to put on his shirt.

				ARCHIE
		What are you doing?!

				BROWN
		I'm getting dressed.

				ARCHIE
		You've got three broken ribs, man!

				BROWN
		I've got my duties to attend to.

				ARCHIE
		Don't be an idiot!  You're in no fit
		state to go anywhere.

				BROWN
		She'll be worried about me.

				ARCHIE
		She'll get over it.

				BROWN
		I can't let her down now, Archie.

				ARCHIE
		And when was the last time she put
		herself out for you?  Look, John,
		whatever she says to you now, in the
		end you're still a servant.

				BROWN
		Oh, I'm much more than that.

				ARCHIE
		Aye, she may say that to you, but the
		woman can say what she wants.

				BROWN
		You watch your tongue.

				ARCHIE
		Come on, man, I'm telling you what you
		already know.

				BROWN
		You know nothing about her!

				ARCHIE
		When are you gonna see it, John?  She
		doesn't give a damn about you.

	BROWN lunges for the bedside drawer and pulls out a card
	showing a coy picture of a pretty woman.  He holds it up,
	eyes blazing.

				BROWN
		From the Queen!

	He reads out the inscription.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		My lips may give a message better of
		Christmas love than e'en this letter.
			(beat)
		To my best friend, J.B. from his best
		friend, V.R.
			(he thrusts it in his
			 brother's face)
		Best friend!

				ARCHIE
		Aye.

				BROWN
		She means it.

	ARCHIE stares at him.

				ARCHIE
		She'll drop you.  When she's done with
		you, she'll drop you.

				BROWN
		Get out.
			(beat)
		Out!

	ARCHIE steps back but BROWN roars at him.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		OUT!!

	ARCHIE steps outside and BROWN is left alone.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, QUEEN'S SITTING ROOM - DAY

	The next day.  VICTORIA sits at her desk.  PONSONBY hands
	her letters to sign.

				PONSONBY
		... to be followed by a visit from
		Lady Bridport.  She is keen to secure
		a place for her niece as Maid of
		Honor.

	VICTORIA signs the last letter and sits back.

				VICTORIA
		I am tired.

	PONSONBY coughs.

				PONSONBY
		There is one other matter.

				VICTORIA
		What is it?

				PONSONBY
		I have a letter, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		From whom?

				PONSONBY
		From Princess Helena and other members
		of your family.

				VICTORIA
			(stiffening defensively)
		My family is quite capable of
		communicating with the Queen in
		person.

	PONSONBY does not reply.  Finally, VICTORIA is obliged to
	ask.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		What do they want?

				PONSONBY
		They are demanding the dismissal of
		John Brown on grounds of drunkeness.

	VICTORIA stares through the window, expressionless.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, CHAPEL - DAY

	VICTORIA walks through the ornate chapel, nervously
	fingering her handkerchief.  Waiting for her, smiling
	softly, is the Dean of Windsor, DEAN WELLSELLY.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		You wished to see me, ma'am?

	She holds his eyes for a moment, then nods.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, CHAPEL - DAY

	A few minutes later, VICTORIA and DEAN WELLSELLY are seated
	in a corner of the chapel, talking softly.  She cannot
	bring herself to look at him and so does not notice how
	carefully he is watching her throughout the interview. 
	This is incredibly hard for her to say, but she struggles
	to be as honest as possible.

				VICTORIA
		My husband tried always to make me
		think more subtly.  Of course he
		taught me so much and I can never
		repay my debt to him, or the love I
		feel, even now.  But, in truth, I
		think I am someone who can only feel
		things while they are alive to me. 
		For that reason, I know I do not have
		a subtle mind.  I know that.  But I
		work hard and I try to do my duty.
			(she hesitates; she is
			 struggling now)
		However, I have noticed of late that
		my feelings of grief are not so strong
		and -- that I find myself leaning more
		upon the comfort of living friends.
			(beat)
		Friends close to me now.

	She stops herself.  She is crying.  DEAN WELLSELLY watches
	her a moment, then speaks close, choosing his words
	carefully.

				DEAN WELLSELLY
		Your Majesty, a settled resignation is
		more lasting proof of affection than
		active grief.  If the good Lord sees
		fit to bring one into contact with
		congenial fellow beings, one should
		not analyze one's reaction too deeply. 
		To allow oneself to be comforted by
		someone else need not imply any
		disloyalty to the memory of the loved
		one.

	Silence.  VICTORIA stares into the long, dark chapel. 
	Gradually, as she takes in the tone of his remarks, her
	disappointment turns to anger.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, QUEEN'S SITTING ROOM - DAY

	The next day, VICTORIA stands at the far window and her
	back to the room.  Lined up against the wall are BERTIE and
	his siblings.

				VICTORIA
		Sir Henry.

	PONSONBY steps forward.

				PONSONBY
		Ma'am?

				VICTORIA
		Please tell the Princess, and other
		signatories to this letter, that the
		Queen will not be dictated to, or made
		to alter, in any way, what she has
		found to answer for her comfort.
			(beat)
		Do I make myself clear?

				PONSONBY
		Ma'am.

	A beat.

				VICTORIA
		You may go.

	They all file out.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE - DAY

	A few days later.

	BROWN and VICTORIA are riding on horseback.  Although
	better than he was, BROWN'S face is still badly bruised. 
	They turn a corner banked by trees.  BROWN is watching the
	QUEEN closely.  She stops.

				VICTORIA
		I would like to get down.

	Without a word, BROWN dismounts and helps her off her
	horse.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		John?

				BROWN
		Yes, ma'am?

				VICTORIA
		I was told you were in a fight.

				BROWN
		Yes, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Has someone seen to those bruises?

				BROWN
		Yes, ma'am.

	A beat.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Ma'am?

				VICTORIA
		Yes?

				BROWN
		Having considered my position here at
		court, I have come to the conclusion
		that it is in the best interest of
		Your Majesty that I should resign.

				VICTORIA
		I do not accept.

	A beat.

				BROWN
		I had foreseen that you would not. 
		But Your Majesty should understand --
		that my mind will not be changed in
		this.  I leave for Deeside --

				VICTORIA
			(cutting in)
		The Queen forbids it.
			(beat)
		I cannot allow it because I cannot
		live without you.  Without you, I
		cannot find the strength to be who I
		must be.  Please.

	She takes his hand to her mouth and kisses it gently, then
	looks at him, utterly helpless.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		Promise me you won't let them send me
		back.

	A long silence.  BROWN holds her hand tight.

				BROWN
		I promise.

						FADE TO BLACK.

	CAPTION: "1868"

						FADE IN:

	EXT. LOWLANDS - DAY

	A few weeks later.

	A tiny horse-drawn carriage creeps across a huge Highland
	landscape.

				DISRAELI (V.O.)
		Yesterday, Gladstone talked for three
		hours on the Irish Church Bill ... I
		am as guilty as the rest of
		underestimating his reforming zeal.
		Tory days may be numbered, but I fancy
		there yet remains one last hope of
		deliverance.  Wheresoever the blame
		lies, we must now close ranks and
		defend Mrs Brown's England.  As for my
		interminable journey to the land of
		Calvin, oatcakes and sulphur ...

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DAY

	DISRAELI hurries through the pouring rain.

				DISRAELI (O.S.)
		... no Prime Minister made greater
		sacrifice than attempting to run the
		country six hundred miles north of
		civilization.

	Reaching the castle, he hurries inside and the great doors
	bang behind him.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, QUEEN'S DRAWING ROOM - DAY

	The next day.

	QUEEN VICTORIA is playing the piano like she walks, with
	great vim and vigor.  The tune is some quaint Scottish
	ballad which she belts out in her clear strong voice,
	almost drowning out PRINCE ARTHUR, PRINCE LOUISE and PRINCE
	LEOPOLD who are meant to be accompanying her.  They stand
	in a nervous semi-circle, fumbling their harmonies. 
	Ignoring them completely, VICTORIA bobs up her head with a
	quizzical smile to make sure she is being appreciated.

	DISRAELI and the rest of the HOUSEHOLD stand a few yards
	off, smiling rigidly.  DISRAELI, the consummate politician
	to his inch-high insteps, out-smiles the lot of them.  This
	man is in raptures of delight.  And the more liquid his
	smiles, the happier he makes VICTORIA.  He beams, she
	belts, until her children are drowned out completely.

	And then, with characteristic suddenness, VICTORIA stops
	playing and launches into one of her tirades.  The
	HOUSEHOLD wobbles in shock like children on a switch-back,
	but DISRAELI glides smoothly from delight to sober concern.

				VICTORIA
		How dare the Irish break with the
		Anglicans? 
		If Albert were alive today he would
		never allow the Crown to give up
		Church patronage.  No, the Irish must
		be told, very firmly, to stay exactly
		where they are.  It is the thin edge
		of the wedge, Mr Disraeli.  Next, you
		will be telling me that the Crown no
		longer governs this nation.

	A beat. A nervous silence in the Household.

				DISRAELI
		Your Majesty remains at the very
		epicenter of governance.  As for your
		people, look no further than the sales
		of your Highland Journals to see in
		what affection the nation holds their
		Queen.
			(beat)
		You sell even more copies than Mr
		Dickens.

				VICTORIA
		But I lack your prose, Mr Disraeli.

	VICTORIA gives him a tiny smile.  DISRAELI acknowledges it,
	then steers the conversation back.

				DISRAELI
		Of course I understand your concern. 
		You miss your people.
			(a pause)
		And they miss you.

	VICTORIA registers a slight flicker of defensiveness at the
	implied criticism.

				VICTORIA
		Then they may read about me.

				DISRAELI
		Indeed, and for that they are
		eternally grateful.

				VICTORIA
		Is that not enough?

				DISRAELI
		In so many ways ... and yet it is your
		presence they crave.  A figurehead.

	VICTORIA has the measure of him.

				VICTORIA
		I never thought to be bullied by you,
		Mr Disraeli.  You, I thought,
		understood a widow's grief.

				DISRAELI
		Forgive me, ma'am, I cannot speak for
		the nation, only for myself.  As Prime
		Minister I confess I miss your
		presence, but that is only an
		expression of my own selfish desires
		and I should not burden you with it.

	The Household waits.  Has he clawed himself back?  VICTORIA
	acknowledges his apology.  Her voice drops and she talks
	directly to DISRAELI, straight from the heart.

				VICTORIA
		I stay here because I am happy.
			(beat)
		Is that such a terrible crime?

				DISRAELI
		No, ma'am.

	At this moment the far door opens and BROWN walks in.

				BROWN
		Time for your walk.

	Without a word, VICTORIA rises from her chair and starts
	following him out.  As they pass DISRAELI, she stops.

				VICTORIA
		This is my good John Brown.

				DISRAELI
			(taking him in)
		Yes.

				VICTORIA
		I have asked him to show you a little
		of Highland life while you are with us
		at Balmoral.

	BROWN measures DISRAELI suspiciously.

				BROWN
		What brings you here?

				DISRAELI
		A man can refuse only so many
		invitations from his Queen.  It was
		remiss of me not to come earlier.

	VICTORIA smiles.  BROWN stares.

				BROWN
		What do you know about the Highlands?

				DISRAELI
		I am a blank sheet.

				BROWN
		Do you hunt?

				DISRAELI
		Occasionally.

				BROWN
		Dare say you can be taught.

				DISRAELI
		To shoot perhaps, but not to kill.

				BROWN
		If you hunt, you kill.

	DISRAELI counters effortlessly.

				DISRAELI
		Well then, I'll do my best.

	EXT. HIGHLANDS, GLEN GELDER - DAY

	Staying close to the ground we develop through a series of
	shots showing the other highlands -- sheet rain against
	heather and gorse, rivulets of water slashing through mud,
	crude pathways sliding in wind and all ball-breakingly
	cold.

	Coming up the hill, we begin to make out a hunting party. 
	The sound first.  Like a small army, crashing their way up
	the winding path.  GHILLIES urging on their horses and
	dogs, guns and equipment jangling off pony-hacks an then
	the tall figure of JOHN BROWN striding out in front.

	Making no concession to anyone, he force-marches them up
	the hill, eyes on the hunt ahead. Behind them trot the men
	on horseback -- DISRAELI, PONSONBY, BERTIE and other
	GENTLEMEN, each led by GHILLIES and ATTENDANTS, among them
	ARCHIE.

	Suddenly, BROWN stops and raises a hand.  The party halts.

	He listens for a second.  Satisfied that he has found his
	quarry, he brings his hand down and the party of gentlemen
	dismount as quietly as they can.

	As he waits, BROWN winces slightly from the pain in his
	side.  He pulls a flask of whiskey from his sporran and
	drinks.  All the time, DISRAELI keeps his eyes on BROWN.

	EXT. HIGHLANDS, GLEN GELDER - DAY

	The stalking.

	Everyone is now fanned out along the hillside, a ghillie to
	each gentleman, slowly and silently moving up the hill.

	DISRAELI stalks with BROWN, panting hard to keep up, eyes
	on his man, trying to make no sound.

	Suddenly, BROWN stops.  Very slowly he rises.  DISRAELI
	rides alongside and sees ...

	A huge stag staring majestically across the hillside.

	Keeping his movements smooth and slow, BROWN brings up his
	rifle, cocks it and offers DISRAELI the kill.  With a
	deferential gesture of the hands, DISRAELI declines.  BROWN
	stares at him a split-second, raises the rifle to his
	shoulder and fires.

	EXT. HIGHLANDS, GLEN GELDER - DAY

	The kill.

	A rapid montage of guns firing, as we cut to ...

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DAY

	BROWN sweeps in from the hunt, DISRAELI dripping at his
	side.

				BROWN
			(demonstrating with his
			 rifle)
		Always remember, you keep it tight to
		your shoulder, you absorb the kick. 
		Aim for the head.  Then imagine it's
		Gladstone.

				DISRAELI
			(smiling)
		Quite.

	BROWN pulls out his flask and offers some to DISRAELI, who
	declines.  He watches BROWN take a long swig.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, UPPER SERVANT'S TABLE - NIGHT

	That night.

	BROWN is standing at his place, drinking steadily.  He has
	a sheet of paper and a pen and is ticking off a list. 
	Lined up in front of him, trying desperately not to laugh,
	are five or six UPPER SERVANTS including the pretty
	ASSISTANT DRESSER and BERTIE'S VALET.  They each step up,
	one at a time, to make their report.

				BROWN
			(ticking as he goes)
		... Back doors, West Wing.

				UPPER SERVANT 1
		Checked and locked, sir.

				BROWN
		Side doors, East Wing.

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
		Checked and locked, sir.

				BROWN
		Louder, girl!

				ASSISTANT DRESSER
			(creasing up)
		Checked and locked, sir.

				BROWN
		Kitchen and lower house.

				BERTIE'S VALET
		Checked and locked, sir.

				BROWN
		Back and upper corridors.

				UPPER SERVANT 2
		Checked and locked, sir.

				BROWN
		Front door.
			(beat)
		Checked and locked.

	Folding up the paper, BROWN downs his glass of whiskey and
	sits.  On his nod, dinner is served by UNDER SERVANTS amid
	a clatter of cutlery and chat.

	ARCHIE looks across at his brother but BROWN is hunched
	over his plate, pecking at his food.

	Someone titters and ARCHIE looks up.  BERTIE'S VALET
	coughs.  BROWN slowly lifts his head.  His eyes have the
	slightly unfocused look of too much drink.  It is clear to
	ARCHIE that he is about to be sent-up.

				BERTIE'S VALET
			(with a smug smile)
		Did you see any Irish assassins today,
		Mr Brown?

	Brown doesn't react.

				BERTIE'S VALET (CONT'D)
		We heard the dogs were Fenian
		sympathizers.

	Brown drinks.

				BERTIE'S VALET (CONT'D)
		Or was it the stag ...?

	Everyone bursts out laughing.  Brown slams down his glass.

				BROWN
		There's not a soul here cares about
		that wee woman's safety except me! 
		She'd die in a ditch if I wasn't there
		to look out for her --

	He stops.  ARCHIE has come across to his brother's chair
	and pulls gently on his arm.

	BROWN stares at the SERVANTS.  Everyone is about to burst
	out laughing.  Keeping his dignity, he pushes back his
	chair and lets ARCHIE lead him away.

	As BROWN reaches the double doors, the laughter hits him in
	the back like a wave. ARCHIE holds him steady.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, BROWN'S QUARTERS - NIGHT

	BROWN is lying on a grubby bed.  ARCHIE is looking around
	the untidy room.  For the first time, he notices a thick
	manuscript on the table.  BROWN follows his eyes.

				ARCHIE
		What's this?

				BROWN
		It's a diary.

				ARCHIE
		Be careful who sees it.

				BROWN
		What do you take me for?

	ARCHIE turns back to BROWN.

				ARCHIE
		You should have someone look after
		you.

				BROWN
		I'm all right.  I just need to rest up
		a wee bit.
			(feeling everything spin)
		The room ... You don't have to stay.

	BROWN shuts his eyes and starts to drift.  ARCHIE watches
	over him.

				ARCHIE
		The place is a mess.

				BROWN
		I can't move to tidy.

				ARCHIE
		It's what the maids are for.

				BROWN
		I'm not having some prattler going
		through my things.

	A beat.

				ARCHIE
		Won't you give yourself a rest, John? 
		She's other people to look out for
		her.

				BROWN
		She needs me, Archie.  She canna do
		without me, she said it to my face.
			(his hands come up to cover
			 his eyes)
		How can I stop now?

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, SERVANT'S CORRIDOR - DAY

	Dawn the next morning.

	BROWN is scrambling into his jacket as he hurries down the
	stairs.

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DAY

	BROWN crashes out of a side-door -- just fully dressed --
	to be met by the smiling figure of DISRAELI.  He is got up
	in smart walking boots, plus-fours and a tweed jacket.

				BROWN
		You sent for me.

				DISRAELI
		I've been called back to London.  My
		last day.  I thought I might take a
		walk on Lochnagar.

	BROWN stares straight back.

	EXT. LOCHNAGER - DAY

	An hour later, BROWN leads DISRAELI up the hill.  BROWN has
	his head down, on with the job.  DISRAELI slows to a halt.

				DISRAELI
		Princes and Lords are but the breath
		of kings, An honest man's the noblest
		work of God.
			(beat)
		You must miss such magnificent views.

				BROWN
		I don't think about it.

	They reach the top and continue along the high ground. 
	DISRAELI glances at BROWN and notices the limp.

				DISRAELI
		Forgive me, I've called you out and
		you should have been resting.

				BROWN
		I'm fine.

				DISRAELI
		You're injured.

				BROWN
		It's nothing.

				DISRAELI
		Still, someone must attend you.  Your
		wife should not have let you out.

				BROWN
		I'm not married.

				DISRAELI
			(deadpan)
		Oh.

				BROWN
		This is the top.

	DISRAELI admires the view for a moment, then continues.

				DISRAELI
		I confess, I sometimes feel as if I am
		not married myself, I see my wife so
		little.  But I'm forgetting the
		rewards.

	He looks across.  BROWN keeps staring ahead.

				DISRAELI (CONT'D)
		The look on their faces when one walks
		into the room.  Still gives one a
		ridiculous thrill.

				BROWN
		I wouldn't know.

				DISRAELI
		Surely --

				BROWN
			(interrupts)
		What I do, I do for my Queen.

				DISRAELI
		Was there never ambition?

				BROWN
			(beat)
		Maybe, once.

				DISRAELI
		Then I envy yo.

				BROWN
		Why?

				DISRAELI
		To have achieved one's ambition, or to
		have reconciled oneself to its limits,
		is a lifetime's work.

				BROWN
		I do what I do.

				DISRAELI
		For Her Majesty.

				BROWN
		Aye.

				DISRAELI
		But yourself?
			(beat)
		What about John Brown?

				BROWN
		I said.
			(beat)
		I serve the Queen.

				DISRAELI
		No other aspiration?

	BROWN stares for a long moment.  Finally he speaks.

				BROWN
		To see her safe.

	DISRAELI steps a little closer.

				DISRAELI
		You will not be unaware of the threat
		now posed by Republicanism.

				BROWN
		Why do you think I keep her here?

				DISRAELI
		Ah, but therein lies the paradox.  It
		is her very isolation that encourages
		the malcontents.  The longer she is
		away, the stronger they become; and
		who, honestly, can promise security
		against that?  However many doors you
		lock, someone will always get in. 
		Even here.

	BROWN watches him, eyes alert.

				BROWN
		So...?

				DISRAELI
		The truth is, the Queen would be safer
		doing her duty and returning south to
		her public.  John Bull loves her and
		John Bull is her best defense.

				BROWN
		Her mind is set.  She won't change
		now.

				DISRAELI
		She trusts you, John.

	DISRAELI is right on his shoulder now, like his own voice.

				BROWN
		They don't see it.

				DISRAELI
		See what?

				BROWN
		The threat.
			(beat)
		I tell them, but they don't see it.

				DISRAELI
		They aren't as watchful as you.

				BROWN
		Too busy looking after themselves.

				DISRAELI
		The greasy pole.

				BROWN
		No loyalty.

				DISRAELI
		No love.

	Silence.  For a moment BROWN seems unaware that someone
	else has said that.

				BROWN
		I promised to protect her from people
		like you.

				DISRAELI
		For once in my life, I am not the
		issue.

				BROWN
		She'll never understand it.

				DISRAELI
		In time, she will.

				BROWN
		She'll think I betrayed her.

				DISRAELI
		But others will know that you acted
		for the greater good.

	BROWN stares off into the distance.

	EXT. LOCH MUICK - DAY

	The next day.

	BROWN is rowing VICTORIA across the loch.  The EQUERRIES
	wait on the shore.

	VICTORIA trails her hand in the water, frowning at the
	surface.  BROWN concentrates on the oars, slipping them
	carefully through the water.  

				VICTORIA
		I received a letter today from Mr
		Disraeli.  Parliament is calling for
		my return to public duties.
			(beat)
		Why won't they let us be?

	BROWN does not answer.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		He insists that the country expects me
		to preside over the opening of the new
		session.  I refuse to offer sustenance
		to enable his weakening grip. 
		Besides, you know how much I should
		hate it.  It frightens me.

	She notices that BROWN has said nothing.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		John?

	BROWN does not look at her.  Finally:

				BROWN
		We can't always have what we wish.

	VICTORIA stares at him.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, QUEEN'S DRAWING ROOM - DAY

	Later that day.

	VICTORIA and BROWN are in the middle of a blazing row in
	front of the entire Household, including PONSONBY, JENNER
	and LADY ELY.

				VICTORIA
		Duty?!  You talk about duty?!

				BROWN
		If duty and safety are served by the
		same end then, aye, I do.

				VICTORIA
		I cannot believe you are saying this? 
		You, who I have relied on all this
		time --

				BROWN
			(cutting in)
		Have I ever let you down before--?

				VICTORIA
			(as if he had not spoken)
		-- You stand there and tell me it is
		my duty ... after all you promised me!

				BROWN
		I'm breaking no promises!

				VICTORIA
		You are forcing me to do the very
		thing you know I fear most!

				BROWN
		For god's sake, woman, I'm just trying
		to keep you safe!

				VICTORIA
		I will not hear any more about my
		safety!!  You made me a promise and
		now you have broken it!

	BROWN rounds on her, deeply wounded.

				BROWN
		-- When I took you out riding, come
		rain or shine, because I knew it was
		right for you, when I kept the bairns
		off your back so you could have a bit
		of peace, when I saw you safe from
		home to home and you didn't even know
		I was there...!  All I've ever thought
		about is you!

				VICTORIA
		Then why send me back to them?!

				BROWN
		Because I have to!
			(pause
		Will you no listen to me, woman?

	Face turned from him, VICTORIA replies in a brittle voice.

				VICTORIA
		Do not presume to talk to your Queen
		in that manner.

	A long silence.  BROWN watches her, but she will not look
	at him again.  Finally, she walks very slowly across the
	room.  She turns in the doorway, her voice faltering
	slightly.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		Doctor Jenner, I feel unwell.  I shall
		retire to my chamber.  Please attend
		me presently.

	As the door slams, we ...

						FADE TO BLACK.

	CAPTION: "NOVEMBER"

						FADE IN:

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, DINING ROOM - DAY

	A few weeks later.

	Close on a door as it opens.  The ROYAL FAMILY are eating
	lunch with members of the UPPER HOUSEHOLD.  VICTORIA walks
	in with LADY ELY.

	A great scraping of chairs as everyone drops their forks
	and stands.  Clearly, they were not expecting her.  In
	silence, VICTORIA steps up and takes her place at the head
	of the table.

	At last, PONSONBY leans forward deferentially.

				PONSONBY
		May I say, how glad I am to see Your
		Majesty so much recovered.

	VICTORIA nods, then turns and looks about at the others. 
	PRINCESS ALEXANDRA is seated at the far end of the table. 
	VICTORIA frowns.

				VICTORIA
		Where is my son?

				PRINCESS ALEXANDRA
		Prince Albert is at Windsor, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Why is he not here?

				PRINCESS ALEXANDRA
		He is sick, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Then why are you not with him?

				PRINCESS ALEXANDRA
		You ordered all members of the Royal
		Family to attend you at Balmoral.

				VICTORIA
		What is the matter with him?

				PRINCESS ALEXANDRA
		He has typhoid fever, ma'am.

	VICTORIA stares blankly at DOCTOR JENNER.

				VICTORIA
		No.  You are mistaken.  Prince Albert,
		my husband, had typhoid fever.  I
		asked what was wrong with my son.

				JENNER
		The same, your Majesty.

	VICTORIA stops.  She stares down the length of the table. 
	A long pause.

				VICTORIA
		Why was I not informed?

				JENNER
		I did not consider it wise, in the
		circumstances, to tax your nerves.

				VICTORIA
		How ill is he?

	No answer.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
			(to Alexandra)
		Alex?

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		He is not well, ma'am.

	A beat.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I must go to him.

	Suddenly, VICTORIA stands.  Chairs bang back as everyone
	leaps to their feet.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		We must leave at once.

	Abruptly, VICTORIA turns for the door and the room erupts
	into activity.

	INT. BALMORAL CASTLE, CORRIDOR - DAY

	BROWN stands in the corridor, a little nonplussed by the
	servants and Householders hurrying about in every
	direction.

	EXT. BALMORAL CASTLE - DAY

	Half an hour later, BROWN races up to the Queen's carriage
	amid a swarm of servants, ladies' maids and Householders
	rushing to be ready in time.

	Suddenly the huge castle doors open and VICTORIA bustles
	out with her entourage in tow.  BROWN -- only just in time 
	- yanks open the door for VICTORIA to step past him and
	take her place.  She ignores him completely.

	BROWN slams the doors.  As he looks up, he sees his brother
	ARCHIE staring at him from across the courtyard.  For a
	second the two brothers hold each other's gaze.  It's
	obvious that ARCHIE has noticed the Queen's indifference. 
	BROWN turns away and mounts the box as the carriage races
	away under him.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, PRINCE'S BEDCHAMBER - DAY

	Some days later.  A tableau.

	QUEEN VICTORIA sits at the foot of the bed, a matriarch
	surrounded by her ROYAL FAMILY.  They watch DOCTOR JENNER
	bend to examine the ghostly figure of BERTIE.  He listens
	for a pulse.  Finally, he looks up.

				JENNER
		Better.

	VICTORIA lets out a deep breath.  She takes hold of
	PRINCESS ALEXANDRA'S hand.

				VICTORIA
		Should the good Lord see fit to spare
		my son, I will order a mass to be
		celebrated at St. George's.  The
		people must share with their Queen,
		her prayers and hopes for their future
		King.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, CORRIDOR OUTSIDE BEDCHAMBER - DAY

	A few minutes later, BROWN stands in the corridor when the
	door bursts open and VICTORIA marches straight past him
	with PONSONBY at her side.

				PONSONBY
			(aside to BROWN)
		The Queen will be riding to St.
		George's on the fifth.

				BROWN
			(launching straight in)
		I recommend Her Majesty uses the
		covered carriage with a full Horse
		Guard.  In the event of any
		disturbance I will ensure --

				VICTORIA
			(cutting in)
		I will ride to St. George's in an open
		carriage.  It is time the Queen was
		seen by her public.

	VICTORIA turns and disappears down the corridor, followed
	by PONSONBY.  We linger on BROWN'S humiliation, closer and
	closer until ...

	EXT. WINDSOR CASTLE, ST. GEORGE'S - DAY

	Some weeks later.

	A series of angles on BROWN as he walks amid the mass of
	onlookers pressing against a cordon of guards surrounding
	the cathedral.  All the time, his eyes flick left and
	right, searching the faces in front of him for potential
	assassins.  Over his intense watchfulness we hear ...

				DEAN WELLSELLY (O.S.)
		... praise and magnify thy glorious
		name for that thou has raised thy
		servant Albert Edward, Prince of Wales
		from the bed of sickness. 
		We pray thee to perfect the recovery
		of thy servant and to crown him day by
		day with more abundant blessings both
		for body and soul, through Jesus
		Christ our Lord ...

	The CONGREGATION mutters a vast ...

				CONGREGATION (O.S.)
		Amen.

	EXT. WINDSOR CASTLE, ST. GEORGE'S - DAY

	VICTORIA and other members of the ROYAL FAMILY walk down
	the steps towards the cheering crowd.  As DEAN WELLSELLY
	and BROWN follow, BROWN sees ARTHUR O'CONNER break from the
	onlookers, pulling out a gun.  BROWN yells out:

				BROWN
		NO!!

	He races toward O'CONNER and hits him flying, bangs him to
	the ground and twists the gun out of his hand.  As they
	fall we hear laughter and:

				BERTIE (O.S.)
		So there he is, Arthur O'Conner...

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, DINING HALL - NIGHT

	It's a few days later and BERTIE is entertaining a private
	dinner party.  They include QUEEN VICTORIA, PRINCESS
	ALEXANDRA, PRINCESS LOUISE and HENRY PONSONBY.  BROWN is in
	attendance.  He stands off to one side, near the door.

				BERTIE
			(bristling with confidence)
		... all seven stone of the man,
		paddling madly towards us through a
		sea of Horse Guards, waving something
		that looks vaguely like a pen.  I
		thought he must be one of the mother's
		ardent readership in search of the
		Royal indenture...

	More chortling.  VICTORIA watches her son, smiling proudly. 
	BROWN looks straight ahead.

				BERTIE (CONT'D)
		I believe I saw him first and then
		alerted Brown.  I'm not convinced that
		he wasn't taking a snooze on top of
		the box.  Anyway, we had our man
		pinned down and I must say, Brown
		acquitted himself admirably.  Of
		course the gun was a fake, but all the
		same, it was well done.

	No-one registers BROWN.  But while VICTORIA does not look
	at him, she is acutely aware of his presence.

				VICTORIA
		I intend Brown to be rewarded with a
		special medal cast in gold.  It will
		be called The Devoted Service Medal.

	The guests applaud politely.  BERTIE clinks his glass for
	attention and raises it high.

				BERTIE
		A toast.  Victoria Regina!

	The others raise their glasses in unison.

				EVERYONE
		Victoria Regina!

	VICTORIA smiles.  BROWN remains alone by the door.

				DISRAELI (O.S.)
		The people of England have expressed
		in a manner which cannot be mistaken,
		that they will uphold the ancient
		monarchy of England ...

	INT. CRYSTAL PALACE - DAY

	DISRAELI is delivering his come-back speech at a banquet of
	Tory delegates.

				DISRAELI
		... If the first great object of the
		Tory Party is to maintain the
		institutions of the country, the
		second is, in my opinion, to maintain
		the Empire of England ... the
		hereditary, the traditionary policy of
		the Tory Party.  Go to your homes,
		teach them these truths, which will
		soon be imprinted on the conscience of
		the land ...

						FADE TO BLACK.

	CAPTION: "1883"

						FADE IN:

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, BROWN'S QUARTERS - NIGHT

	The sound of rain driven hard against a window.  We creep
	slowly down the corridor until we are back with the fifty
	year-old BROWN.  With his whiskey for company, he is
	sitting at his desk, writing in the diary.

	The diary-manuscript is now falling apart with wear, but
	there remain a few blank pages.  Slowly, he fills them in.

				BROWN (V.O.)
		We should not live in expectation of
		contentment.  Fifteen years of
		vigilance will not guarantee peace of
		mind.  Yesterday, intruders were again
		reported in the South Wing.  I believe
		my prompt arrival may have averted any
		crisis, but it was a timely reminder. 
		It is a great comfort to me that my
		efforts in securing the Queen's safety
		over the years have not been in vain. 
		Certainly Her Majesty sends me no word
		that she's dissatisfied.  And I feel
		sure that if she were unhappy she
		would have found the occasion  to
		speak to me in person, as she has so
		often done in the past.

	A knock at the door.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		What is it?

	We hear a young PAGE, breathless from running.

				PAGE
		North woods, sir.

	BROWN grabs his gun and rushes out.

	EXT. WINDSOR CASTLE, QUADRANGLE - NIGHT

	BROWN appears at the door and strides into the storm.  He
	walks quickly across the wide quadrangle, rain soaking his
	hair and clothes.

	Two GUARDS watch BROWN as he races out into the storm.

	A coin flips through the air to be caught by an
	outstretched hand.  The second GUARD grins.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE - NIGHT

	BROWN races across the open ground towards the forest.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	And now we are back with the opening sequence.  Truncated,
	severe, and shot from a slightly different angle.  The
	driving rain, BROWN hurtling through the trees, the crack
	to his left, he spins and plunges on.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	Close-up on BROWN as he bangs against a tree, heaving for
	air.  He searches the dark, stops, listens and races on.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	BROWN tears through the trees, pistol raised at full arm's
	length.

	EXT. THE GROUNDS OF WINDSOR CASTLE, FOREST - NIGHT

	He bursts into a clearing, breaks to the centre and stops.

	Pistol raised, he turns a circle, eyes on the wildly
	swaying trees.  A branch snaps behind him.  He spins round,
	bellows deep from his heart:

				BROWN
		God save the Queen!!

	And fires.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, CORRIDOR - NIGHT

	A few days later.

	VICTORIA is moving swiftly down a long corridor with LADY
	ELY.  They arrive at a door.  VICTORIA stands facing it.

				VICTORIA
			(quietly)
		How long has he been this sick?

				LADY ELY
		A few days, ma'am.

				VICTORIA
		Why was I not told earlier?

	LADY ELY doesn't answer.  VICTORIA knows anyway.  She nods. 
	LADY ELY knocks.  The door is opened by a young UNDER
	SERVANT who gawps at the sight of Her Majesty standing here
	in the servant's quarters.  VICTORIA walks in.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, BROWN'S QUARTERS - NIGHT

	The room has been cleared of bottles, but the thinness of
	the life here shocks her deeply.  The cheap furniture, the
	anonymous prints, the bed and, finally, the sight of BROWN.

	He is lying in bed, barely conscious.  After a moment, he
	opens his eyes and stares at her.  She steps forward,
	smiling nervously.

	Her voice is the old voice, between friends.

				VICTORIA
		You should never have gone out in such
		foul weather.

				BROWN
		Someone has to look after you.
			(pause)
		It could've been someone.  It was
		before.

				VICTORIA
		Yes.  Yes it was.

	He cannot speak.  It's difficult for her too, but she
	speaks for him.

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		My Ministers are as impertinent as
		ever.  Dispatches are now so numerous,
		they come in a trunk.  Sometimes I do
		believe they will never stop.  Endless
		letters...
		 

	Her voice falters.  A pause

				VICTORIA (CONT'D)
		I know I have not always been the
		loyal friend you deserved, John.  And
		yet here I am now, even now, feeling
		desperate at the thought of losing
		you.

	She starts to cry.

				BROWN
		Don't be silly, woman.

	His old, familiar gruffness makes her smile and she pulls
	herself together.  Seeing a bowl of water on the side
	table, she steps across.  Carefully folding a cloth in
	four, she rinses it in the water and gently wipes his face. 
	Leaning closer, she is about to touch his face when BROWN
	gestures protectively.

				BROWN (CONT'D)
		Not too near.

	INT. WINDSOR CASTLE, CORRIDOR - DAY

	A week later.  PONSONBY and JENNER stand at the window
	overlooking the grounds.

				JENNER
		Erysipelas.

				PONSONBY
		Not too protracted, I hope.

				JENNER
			(shakes his head)
		A few days...
			(beat)
		When he heard, the Prince of Wales
		threw the bust from the window of the
		Royal Gallery.  It took four hours to
		gather the fragments.

	A beat.

				PONSONBY
		The Queen wishes to publish an account
		of him.

				JENNER
		Dear oh dear.

				PONSONBY
		We think she can be dissuaded.
			(beat)
		Have you had a glance at the diary?

				JENNER
		Yes.

				PONSONBY
		Quite.
			(beat)
		I think I'd best take it back.

				JENNER
		Of course.

	He brings out BROWN'S tatty diary-manuscript and hands it
	over to PONSONBY.  The two men move away from the window,
	to go their separate ways.  Daily business beckons.

				JENNER (CONT'D)
		Where did you find it by the way?

				PONSONBY
		Some young page was boasting about
		having seen it.
			(beat)
		Lucky.

	JENNER nods.

				JENNER
		Well, no rest for the wicked, Henry.

				PONSONBY
		No, indeed.

	The two men head off in opposite directions down the
	corridor.



Mrs. Brown



Writers :   Jeremy Brock
Genres :   Drama  Romance


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