The Crown - S4
WHERE TO WATCH IT:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
As the 1970s are drawing to a close, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) and her family find themselves preoccupied with safeguarding the line of succession by securing an appropriate bride for Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor), who is still unmarried at 30. As the nation begins to feel the impact of divisive policies introduced by Britain's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), tensions arise between her and the Queen which only grow worse as Thatcher leads the country into the Falklands War, generating conflict within the Commonwealth. While Charles' romance with a young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) provides a much-needed fairytale to unite the British people, behind closed doors, the Royal family is becoming increasingly divided.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
We're finally getting to the part of The Crown that most people alive today are familiar with. Margaret Thatcher. Princess Diana. Charles and Camilla. All the scandal that has rocked the Royal Family in recent years and I am both here for it and not.
This season spans from 1979 until the early 1990s, starting with Margaret Thatcher's reign as the first female Prime Minister of the UK. Gillian Anderson does a phenomenal job as the Iron Lady. Her heavy accent did bother me though. So much so that I went to look up videos of Margaret Thatcher speaking to see just how put on this was. Despite it being just a touch overdone, she still brings Mrs Thatcher to life remarkably well. One of the best parts of this season is watching her go head to head with the Queen during their weekly meetings. These are two very different women who come from vastly different backgrounds, but as the Queen says at the end, it was all too easy to highlight their differences, but they still had a lot in common.
Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), my favourite problematic Royal, was rather low key this season and I loved his scenes and the trajectory of his relationship with Diana. The hunting trip he takes her on in Scotland is easily one of the most heart-warming scenes this season and also one of the very few times Diana was welcomed as part of the family.
Charles and Diana's relationship starts off rocky. It's a marriage he never wanted, and even though they had a moment of love and willingness to be with each other during their tour of Australia and New Zealand, it didn't last long once Charles felt resentment towards Diana. Prince Charles is honestly the worst this season. Throw that man into a trash can. The way he treats and speaks to Diana is despicable, and it's heartbreaking to watch this shining light be dulled behind closed doors. It's tragic to watch knowing full well how this all ends.
At one point, Diana is all in for him, to make the marriage work much to the Queen's delight who seems determined to stick her head in the sand and force this marriage to work. It's a "What Will The People Say?" way of thinking on a much larger scale. But all Charles wants is a way out to be with Camilla (Emerald Fennell). I honestly forgot just how much I hated Prince Charles seeing as it had just simmered down to a mere dislike. Charles is not portrayed as a good or even interested father, but we know that the young princes have a seemingly good relationship with their father. So one can' help but wonder how much of this is speculation for dramatic purposes and what is real. I can't help but watch this and wonder how Prince William and Prince Harry must feel watching their parents' marriage, and trauma played out on screen for entertainment value.
I have to mention Helena Bonham Carter because, once again, she is amazing as Princess Margaret. Margaret is the only family member to voice the opinion that the marriage between Charles and Di shouldn't go ahead for the sake of them as human beings. Margaret is also feeling pushed out of the centre of the family, so to say. As the Queen's children come of age, they start taking over royal duties that had brought her some sense of purpose, and there's an episode dedicated to her mental health and how she copes with that.
As a South African, it was very interesting to watch the Queen and Maggie Thatcher go head to head about supporting the sanctions against apartheid South Africa. It was one of the only times that the Queen and Downing Street butted heads over something major. It made the papers, despite the Palace's Press Office denying any such rift between the Queen and the Prime Minister.
Overall, it was a gripping, but also tragic season. Diana was truly the People's Princess, and to see the way she was treated and how they broke her down is heartbreaking. But Diana does not take things lying down, and I look forward to seeing her taking charge next season despite everyone knowing how it ends.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: