Entertainment Celebrity Royal Royal date night: The Queen turns Sandringham Estate into a drive-in

Royal date night: The Queen turns Sandringham Estate into a drive-in

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Have you ever felt like a date to the drive-in cinema was so luxurious and regal that the Queen of England might be in attendance?

Well, now she can be – but only if you’re in the UK.

Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham Estate is about to become the next first-date hotspot, with the grounds opening to the public as a drive-in theatre.

It’s a testament to the resurgence of the drive-in, which hasn’t seen popularity like this since Danny and Sandy in Grease.

Australia doesn’t have palatial estates to transform into cinemas, but the trend is gathering coronavirus-powered steam here, too.

To try and soothe the sting of 2020, Disney recently announced it’s screening a bunch of its classics in drive-in formats across the country.

Drive-ins were once all the rage, and at its peak, there were 330 scattered across Australia, Victoria University senior screen media lecturer Marc C-Scott wrote.

And whether or not Her Majesty would approve, part of their appeal was that you could wear (or not wear) whatever you wanted.

As colour television and VCRs became the big new thing in entertainment, and the prime plots that drive-ins occupied were snapped up for property development. Australia’s drive-ins dwindled to just 16.

The coronavirus pandemic, shutting down cinema, might just revive the drive-in industry – as Dr C-Scott pointed out, at least two have reopened in the past few months.

Back in the UK

The 8093-hectare (20,000 acre) Queen’s estate will screen a number of award-winning films, starting with war drama 1917, followed by Elton John biopic, Rocketman. 

Since you can never go wrong with Disney, day two’s screenings will start off with animated family favourite, Toy Story. 

Australians will be delighted to know one of our own gracing the big screen, with Hugh Jackman musical The Greatest Showman also screening.

Singing along to British rock band Queen’s iconic 1985 Live Aid performance in the real-life Queen’s backyard will finally be a reality, with the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody closing out the second night.

But wannabe Broadway stars better rest their vocal cords because the musical numbers don’t end there.

The final day will see another Disney flick, Moana, take centre stage, followed by everybody’s groovy 1970s favourite, Grease. 

Lastly, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born will end the exciting event.

Moviegoers can also upgrade their package for an extra £7.50 ($13.62), which will include deck chairs, a table, popcorn and a bigger parking bay.

Whether the Queen will be leaving the safety of Windsor Castle, where she has been isolating, to attend the event has yet to be confirmed, but if we had to guess, she strikes us as a Bohemian Rhapsody fan.

Dear old Sandringham …

Just over two hours outside of London, Sandringham Estate holds sentimental value for the Queen and has long been her beloved country getaway.

Better known as the location where the Windsors gather for Christmas festivities, the estate has a long, royal history.

The traditional, quaint home has been in the family since 1862, when it was bought by the Queen’s great-grandfather, who was then Prince Edward VII.

Prince Edward’s son and heir, George V inherited the home and described it his favourite place, and eventually died there in 1936.

“Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world,” he wrote.

Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, also died at Sandringham Estate in 1952.

Today, the state operates as a working farm, but you won’t catch any of the royals tending to their gardens.

The estate employs more than 200 people, including gardeners, gamekeepers and farmers, and has an apple juice pressing plant and a sawmill.