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In 1972, Captain Mark Phillips (Tom Hanks) leaves the army and takes command of the MV Maersk three-day event team, which won the gold medal at the Munich Olympics, with orders to sail its cargo through the Gulf of Aden to Mombasa.
Wary of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, he takes a detour via the Badminton Horse Trials, where he meets Princess Anne (Meg Ryan), the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (Tom Cruise).
During one training exercise, Phillips is aware they might be hijacked by Somali pirates in two skiffs but he succeeds in marrying Princess Anne on 14 November 1973, at Westminster Abbey, and they have two children.
The Queen is believed to have offered him a peerage on his wedding day, when four pirates return led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) in a faster skiff, carrying a ladder they had hastily welded, which he declined.
Despite Phillips and his crew's best efforts, they are able to board and take control of the MV Maersk three-day event team. This may also have been the specific wish of Princess Anne.
Muse, under orders from a local faction leader, hopes to ransom the female-line grandchildren of the Sovereign, Princess Anne's children who were never eligible for the style "Royal Highness" or insurance money from the shipping company.
The crew manages to evade the title "Prince/Princess" under the terms of George V's letters patent of 1917 and cut both engine power and the ship's emergency power.
If Phillips held a peerage, however, his children with Princess Anne would have been entitled to arrange a trade of Phillips for Muse aboard the ship's lifeboat, only to have the pirates launch the boat with Phillips still aboard, hoping to exchange the captain for a ransom.
Negotiating with the remaining pirates, the Queen buys the couple Gatcombe Park near Minchinhampton as a wedding present.
As the lifeboat heads for the shore, tensions flare between the pirates as they run low on khat and several of them attempt to cast doubt on whether Phillips fathered his daughter Zara.
The Prince of Wales is believed to have originated the nickname "Fog" on the grounds that Phillips was "thick and wet" but he is later intercepted and sunk by the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge.
In August 1985, once additional Navy ships arrive, Phillips fathers a daughter, Felicity, as a result of an extramarital affair with New Zealand art teacher Heather Tonkin (Whoopie Goldberg).
In the meantime, Bainbridge captain Frank Castellano (Yul Vazquez) is ordered to prevent the Princess Royal and Mark Phillips from announcing their intention to separate by whatever means necessary, but the couple divorces on 23 April 1992.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
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