GUEST OF HONOUR is the fifth episode of the Second Series of the UK period drama, Upstairs, Downstairs. It was written by Alfred Shaughnessy and directed by Bill Bain. It is considered one of the landmark episodes of the entire show's five seasons, as it shows the King of England coming to dine with the series' upstairs family, the Bellamys.
The residents and servants of 165 Eaton Place are astonished and delighted to discover that King Edward VII (Lockwood West), the reigning Monarch, is coming over to dine with the Bellamy family and some guests.
The household staff is all in a flutter over the Monarch's impending visit and preparations for the big event are even MORE stringent than ever. No amount of work, no matter how small, was skimped to make sure the event is absolutely perfect in every way.
After several guests arrive, including the Bellamy's closest friend from outside of the family, Lady Prudence Fairfax who jokes, "You can count on Old Pru being the first to arrive." (who is seated next to Richard Bellamy at Marjorie's request, to help him not be so nervous), the guest of honor, the King of England, arrives at 165 Eaton Place.
However, while the King is dining upstairs with the Bellamy family, a familiar friend shows up downstairs. It is Sarah Moffat, the former under-house parlor maid, who is in the final stages of her pregnancy. Thoroughly concerned about her welfare, Hudson, Rose and Lady Marjorie discretely and successfully get Sarah in a attic room upstairs. However, it is well too late for the child, a boy, of which James Bellamy is proven to be the father, is stillborn.
As a result, Sarah is "in-between" as in she isn't upstairs, nor is she really downstairs, either. Lady Marjorie suggests that Sarah engage in some light household tasks (such as mending as she is a very capable seamstress) around the house. Sarah agrees to the idea, but she asks about where she can take her meals.
Lady Marjorie promises that she will have Hudson speak to the rest of the Servants about it. Sarah is mystified about why Lady Marjorie is being nice to her, despite all the trouble she had caused. Marjorie, not worried about the past, just gently tells her to get some rest.
The servants then have a meeting about it, with the entire household staff agreeing that Sarah should be downstairs in the Servants Hall taking her meals with them and being able to sit down there with her familiar mates. However, there was one dissenter.
That dissenter was the Lady's maid, Maude Roberts, who wrathfully denounces Sarah for being put in such a situation. The rest of the staff, including Mrs. Bridges, try to get the snobbish Miss Roberts to see reason, but she continues to object. She outright blames Sarah for James being transferred to India, and calls her a slut to the distress and outrage of the others.
Mr. Hudson explains that despite Sarah's numerous flaws, she is capable of good things. He explains that she is an able seamstress and also has a cheerful disposition, and that with the loss of her child, she is beaten and has nothing but them to consider her family. "If," he said, looking right at Miss Roberts, "the master and her Ladyship can see to forgive her for the troubles she caused on this noble household, how can we, as Christians, even try to withhold our forgiveness from her?"
Eventually a vote is taken. Everyone in the staff, with the exception of Roberts, votes that Sarah be downstairs with them in the Servants Hall. An infuriated Roberts nonetheless concedes defeat, but she would allow Sarah down there for meals "as long as I don't have to sit next to her!!!"
The dinner party is a success, except for the King barreling into Dr. Foley, the Bellamy's family physician, who is rattling off instructions in the preparation of the delivery of Sarah's baby. The King is highly amused.
At the end of the evening, Lady Marjorie, Richard and Lady Prudence quietly mourn the death of the baby, with Lady Prudence telling her friends to get some good rest.
The final scene shows Rose going to Sarah's room and announcing that she can be downstairs with the rest of her mates, and that "even Old Roberts" was agreeable to it. Rose grins, "We'll have some laughs then, eh?" but she then warns Sarah that she really had to behave. A promise Sarah means to keep.