In the present, the grueling Annual Challenge begins, and all the boys charge toward the 18-mile route. All except Charles, that is, who glumly trails behind them. Poor kid. The boys return to the school upon finishing the course, one by one, but it appears Charles has gone missing. It’s hard to tell if his father is worried or embarrassed by his son’s absence, but it’s likely the latter.
While Philip gets on with the show, presenting the rewards to those who showed great character, stamina and courage, Charles’s bodyguard finds the poor boy crying behind a pillar, muddy and soaked. You would think, once he’s back safe and sound, that the torture would be over for the day...but no.
On their flight back home, Philip reassures Charles that whatever shame he may be feeling is nothing compared with the shame Philip felt at his age over something he did.
“The struggle is a gift. This is the moment you have to dig deep,” he says. “Toughen up, little boy, for what is ahead of you.”
Charles, frightened by sudden turbulence, looks so distressed his little heart may give out.
“Don’t be so bloody weak,” screams father of the year Prince Philip.
As a somber Charles arrives home, Elizabeth watches from the window. We guess she decides not to intervene again as we learn Charles remained at Gordonstoun for another five years, a time he later described as “a prison sentence” and “absolute hell.”
He sent his own kids to Eton College, thank goodness.