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Series / The Lost Prince

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He'll live. For a bit.
A two-part telemovie about The Prince John, youngest son of King George V who suffered epilepsy and mental disability. It was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff who also did Shooting The Past, Summer of Rockets, and numerous stage plays.


The Lost Prince provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Adapted Out: The series focuses on George V's youngest children, George and John. Their four elder siblings are barely mentioned, in contrast to Bertie and Elizabeth or The King's Speech where it's the eldest two getting the limelight. So far there has yet to be a film about the middle children Mary and Henry.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: In a flashback, Queen Mary was shown to be embarrassed by her mother Mary Adelaide of Teck's antics.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Nobody can be quite sure what is wrong with John as far as his learning disability. Today the best guess is autism. Autistics often have seizure disorders of one kind or another, doctors are still not sure why.
  • Artistic License – History: Regarding the Romanov family in particular:
    • Tsarina Alexandra is portrayed as disdainful of the British and their palaces, as having never seen Osborne House before, and as having a thick Russian accent. In reality Alexandra — before her marriage known as Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine — was Queen Victoria's favourite granddaughternote  and was as solidly English as her redoubtable grandmother. She had also been to Osborne House many times before and was very comfortable there, and spoke fluent English with a flawless British accent.
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    • The Grand Duchesses are portrayed as in their late teens. In reality, at the time of the visit in 1908, the eldest, Grand Duchess Olga, was only twelve, and the youngest, Grand Duchess Anastasia, only six.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: George V during the war.
  • Big Little Brother: After the time skip, John is noticeably taller and fatter than George.
  • Historical Domain Character: Most of the main cast are European royalty, their ministers and their staff, though the principal protagonists are not that well known. Famous faces include Edward VII, Alexandra of Denmark, George V, Mary of Teck, Wilhelm II, Nicholas II, Herbert Asquith and David Lloyd George.
  • Informed Deformity: John insists that Asquith has an abnormally large head.
  • Insistent Terminology: George V insists that Princes George and John should play war games between planets rather than Earth countries. Edward VII doesn't seem to mind.note 
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  • Manchild: John grows physically but his mental development lags behind.
  • Military School: Prince George is sent to Naval College at the age of thirteen.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: John and his nanny are moved to Wood Farm in an obscure corner of the Sandringham Estate note , the latter wondering aloud if anyone remembers them.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Prince John is played by the very young Daniel Williams for the first few scenes, then changes to the teenaged Matthew Thomas.
    • This also makes for a minor case of Dawson Casting, as Prince John is thirteen and a half years old when he dies at the end of the film and yet Thomas, who was fourteen at the time of filming, plays the character from about age nine.
  • Troubled Child: The titular prince has developmental difficulties and spends much of his early childhood unable to understand social cues and proper behavior. He's aware of what's going on, but between his epilepsy and his perceptual and sensory differences, he can appear to be much more out of it than he is.
  • Vague Age: John's teacher counts on this to get into the army.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: George V is heartened to see that John eventually makes some progress.

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