I had MANY NOTES about this episode, and you can read them in full in my very long and detailed recap at Previously.TV. To wit:
And then Jack and Jackie enter the room, and proceed to totally ignore protocol, to the hushed (and very amusing) horror of Michael Adeane and Martin Charteris. Jackie goes and greets the Queen first, when it should have been Jack taking the lead. She doesn’t curtsey (in her defense, Americans do not have to curtsey to the Queen, and lots of them do not; I, for example, did not curtsey when Heather and I saw the Queen on her birthday, but I did wave wildly and scream, “Happy birthdaaaaaay!” at her when she drove past us in her car). Jackie calls Philip “Your Grace” instead of “Your Royal Highness,” and then Jack refers to Elizabeth as “Your Royal Majesty” instead of just “Your Majesty.” I have no idea if any of this is accurate, but I suspect not, for several reasons: (a) Jackie was highly educated and very socially adept; I am sure she knew the protocol for this; (b) we’ve just been told that the Kennedys were a smash in France and I doubt they’d nail French protocol and then decide to just wing it in London; and (c) I happen to collect etiquette books and the one I have that was written by Letitia Baldrige, Jackie’s social secretary at this moment in time, is exacting on these matters. My guess is that the creative choice was made to have the Americans be kinda casual and relaxed about protocol because, you know, Americans Gonna American, but Jackie Kennedy was smart, cosmopolitan, and super-detail-oriented, and I cannot imagine she blew off studying for Buckingham Palace.
And then Elizabeth goes and does, frankly, what most women would do in her shoes: she decides she needs a brand-new outfit to host the Kennedys, and goes and sees designer Norman Hartnell, who wonders how she wants to FEEL in this theoretical new look. She thinks about it. “One just doesn’t want to feel…second best,” she eventually says, which is the royal version of, “I’ve got to look SUPER-HOT at this thing, Norman, so hit me with your best shot.” And Norman gets it: “Especially when one is very much the SENIOR of two individuals,” he agrees. “In terms of RANK,” he quickly clarifies. “NOT AGE.” Nice save there, Norm. This is why the Queen enjoyed working with you. That, and because he presently presents her with a real knockout of a gown, cooing the 1950s equivalent of “YAAS QUEEN.”
Additionally, I now know a lot about the Akosombo Dam AKA the Volta Dam, and there is no episode of this show that plays faster and looser with time and space than this one. To my great persnickety irritation.