The Crown Season 4: A DETAILED Review
Hi everyone! My second post on my blog and if you haven't already worked it out, I am going to DISSECT season 4 of The Crown (the best show ever). I'm going to talk about ALL the best bits, so if you haven't yet seen it LOOK AWAY NOW. There will be spoilers galore.
Okay, I don't really know where to start but I just want to emphasise how much I love The Crown. It is such a great piece of TV and I think absolutely EVERYONE should watch it. It is not only the most interesting history lesson we all need, but highly entertaining at the same time.
Season 4 sees the arrival of Gillian Anderson who plays the character of Margeret Thatcher. Her acting is absolutely fantastic. She portrays Thatcher as a very controversial prime minster, who often has trouble with her cabinet and those around her, INCLUDING the queen (played by real life queen Olivia Coleman). Let's just say she didn't come across as a popular prime minister.
Episode 2 'The Balmoral Test', sees the queen invite Thatcher and her husband Denis, too Balmoral. What a hilarious pair they make. When they are offered 2 rooms and Thatcher is like 'Are we allowed to sleep in one bed?' and Denis is like 'I shall go and check the protocol sheet'. Honestly, you would think they've come to live with the Queen! (They have). THEN, they show up for dinner at 6pm in their best clothes while the Queen and her family are all dressed casually, lounging around. The light comedy in what is otherwise a very serious show is EXACTLY what makes it so loveable. The best bit is when the Queen and her family invite Thatcher to go hunting for the deer, which was previously injured. She comes dressed in her blue suit and heels as if she's going for a meeting. And the Queen is like 'say nothing', UNTIL they get halfway up a hill and Thatcher is like 'I could go back and change'. Well, you don't say!! To which the Queen responds 'oh that's an idea!'. Well Elizabeth, you should have told her that when she made her appearance in a suit and heels to go deer hunting! Just saying. Also, did anyone notice that when Thatcher would curtsy to the Queen, it looked like she was about to lie down on the ground? She would go so unnecessarily low.
Throughout the season, the relationship between the two remains somewhat strained and very formal. As a viewer, you almost want them to get along as two of the most powerful women in that time, but that again just shows how controversial Thatcher was. The Queen was no innocent either! That episode where she deliberately tells that poor man Michael - AGAINST HIS ADVICE, WHICH HE WANTED ADEANE TO NOTE - to leak to the press that she and Thatcher were in some sort of spat. And THEN, when it got too much to handle, she made him take the rap for it ?! I mean, MORALS Elizabeth! I really didn't like her in that moment but was quickly reassured when it told us at the end that 'Michael Shea went on to have a successful career as a best-selling author of political thrillers'. That was the only fact that made her behaviour forgivable (for me obviously).
Moving onto the Queen and Prince Philip. I feel like we didn't see an awful lot of Prince Philip in this series but the bits we did see were great. I kind of loved him in this series. The previous seasons (1&2) focused a lot more on the Queen and Prince Philips journey as individuals and a couple, however this season I felt they took a slight backseat and acted more as "parents" if you like. Especially Prince Philip. I definitely liked him much more in this season. In the "Fagan" episode when he apologises to the Queen for not being there to protect her, it genuinely warmed my heart. And earlier on, I think maybe episode 1 or 2, when he gives Princess Anne a little pep talk. I really liked seeing his husband and father side as opposed to his "the husband of the Queen" side. He's definitely more charming in this season and I loved it. There's a scene where he sees the Queen's door open and he's getting all excited but turns out she just wanted to talk. Oh well Philip, you win some, you lose some.
Her Majesty, the Queen. What can I say. Now I had mixed feelings for her in this season. First of all, I really LOVE Olivia Coleman. As an actress, and now as the Queen, she really is magnificent at her job. So any criticisms are not directed to HER but mostly to the role of the Queen in certain parts.
Now my favourite episode of the Queen was definitely 'Favourites'. After Thatcher pinpoints her son Mark as her own favourite, our Queen is suddenly in a dilemma, as she doesn't know or acts as if she doesn't necessarily have a favourite child. (Philip doesn't waste 2 seconds in declaring his favourite as Anne. Duh. Another reason why I loved him in this season). She then 'books' meetings with each of her children so she can work it out. And what a disaster those meetings are! Like ?!?! Every single poor child is miserable in one way or another. And she kind of just sits there like 'it's poached salmon for lunch'. I mean. I know she's the Queen and all but booking meetings with YOUR CHILDREN?!?! AND THEN. (It gets better). Finding out all your children are miserable and not really doing much about it. I mean, it really wasn't her finest moment. At all. But highly entertaining all the same.
Another scene in which I wasn't impressed by her, was towards the end of the season where Diana approaches her to talk. And she dismisses her. And then Charles does too and she listens but ever so reluctantly. I mean, I'm disappointed Elizabeth.
Princess Margaret. My absolute favourite. I genuinely adore her. And when the Queen decided to demote her, or not give her the responsibility she SPECIFICALLY asked for, I was NOT pleased. Like, precious Princess Margaret just wanted MORE work. And what does the Queen do? Strip her completely of ANY work because of some royal hierarchy. I'm not impressed Lizzie.
Although, in the 'Fagan' episode, I really do admire her. She's obviously petrified of this strange man who has broken into the Palace but acts so calm and really listens to what he has to say (I thought so anyway).
She's also a bit sassy our Queen, isn't she? I felt that we seen more of her personality, good and bad. The sarcasm came through, the mother in her came through (or not) and I felt we got to see more of her role aside from being the Queen. Oh, I have criticised her a lot haven't I? But, I wouldn't change any bit about The Crown. Bad or good.
OKAY. If you haven't already realised, I'm a "save the best for last" kind of girl. And my "best" includes both Princess Margaret and the royal relationship of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Now, I absolutely LOVE and ADORE Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. And I have no comment on Prince Charles. I'll let you guys work out how I feel about him yourselves. So this is gonna be interesting.
Princess Margaret. My real QUEEN. Now, if there is ANY royal, amongst the Queen's family, who I ABSOLUTELY adore, with all of my heart, then it's Princess Margaret. From Season 1 to Season 4, I have loved the story of her life. I love her personality, her character, her HILARIOUS one liners and her ability to act and think like a real person, without letting her title go to her head. I think she is amazing. Her stories are the ones I find myself researching on the internet to see what happens, BEFORE I finish the episode. I could write a whole post just on her.
Now in this season, I wholly commended her when she pointed out that Charles and Diana weren't right for each other. She was perhaps the ONLY one who expressed her concern. Now, I don't know if the rest were oblivious to it or they were just glad that Charles is settling down, but Margaret had the guts to say it. Obviously nobody really acknowledged her concerns.
In perhaps my most favourite episode, 'The Hereditary Principle', Princess Margaret really showed a different side to herself. She discovers her cousins, Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon - WHO HAVE BEEN DECLARED DEAD - are in fact actually alive. Living in a mental hospital, both sisters were placed there due to the fact they were deemed to be 'imbeciles'. I personally found this storyline absolutely shocking and disgusting. I keep saying storyline but it is real life. I can't believe this happened or was allowed to happen. Anyways, I LOVED the scene between Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother on the beach. Margaret is quite clearly livid at the fact her cousins were hidden away and declared dead. She, in my opinion, almost seems disgusted at the difference between her upbringing and luxurious royal life and the sad tragedy that is her cousins lives. The Queen Mother obviously explains the reasons why the cousins had to be shunned away and 'dead', as it would undermine 'The Hereditary Principle'. I mean it's quite simply appalling. And Margaret makes this clear.
I also LOVED Princess Margaret's costume for this season. Her clothes really emphasise that shift into middle-aged woman and she carries herself well. Like I said, I could do a whole post about how much I love her.
Excellent acting by Helena Bonham-Carter isn't it? I think the casting director (I think thats what you call the person who casts the characters) was absolutely spot-on with both Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham-Carter as Princess Margaret. Both portray her personality so convincingly well.
I have SO much to say about them. I read somewhere, (I think it was the official twitter account for The Crown) that this season of the show "will make you fall in love with Diana all over again". And I was born in 1997, so I was only like 6 months or so when Diana died. BUT they (whoever said it) were so right. I had obviously heard about Princess Diana through my mum or online or documentaries. But after watching this season, I genuinely fell in love with her. And I am so so so so sad and devastated about her dying. Like, absolutely heartbroken. Immediately after I finished The Crown, I watched 2 documentaries about Diana on Netflix. I literally felt that she had been robbed of an amazing life that was waiting for her. It's so sad.
Prince Charles first meets Diana when he goes to visit Diana's sister, Sarah. Now, I don't know the extent of Charles and Sarah's relationship or maybe it's a generational thing but surely your ex's sister is off limits. However, both Charles and Sarah seemed okay with it and thats how we got our Princess, so I'll overlook it. Upon meeting each other, both Charles and Diana seem totally smitten. He invites Diana to Balmoral (I think) and she catches the wounded deer and receives approving nods and its all amazing. Charles obviously has to get the seal of approval too. But not from his family. NOOOO. From Camilla Parker-Bowles. Like ?! He should have just taken her too Highgrove and if Camilla liked her, she would do for the Royal family as well.
Things get pretty serious, pretty quickly. Charles's family LOVE Diana. However, I get the impression, actually, it comes across, as if they only LOVE her because she is ideal for Charles. That's probably it. The scene where she has to curtsy and she doesn't know who too and in what order, really emphasises how young and naive Diana was at that time.
Anyway things are great, Charles and Diana get engaged and then Charles disappears (some tour) for 6 weeks. During this time he doesn't call Diana, who has now moved into the palace. You can see how lonely she becomes and how her bulimia really begins to take over. It's a shame. You almost want to shout into the screen 'DONT DO IT DIANA'.
Side note: You know when you see Diana go into the fridge and eat all those yummy looking things. Do you think that's the kind of food they actually have in their fridge ? Like fancy 5-star desserts and caviars and mousses. Would love to know.
Whilst Charles is away, Diana discovers a lot of things. She finds the Gladys and Fred bracelet that Charles has had made for Camilla as a 'parting gift'. This prompts a meeting between the two women and Diana begins to understand the full extent of Camilla's involvement in Charles's life. It's sad.
At this point, I want to say one thing. I blame Charles and the Royal family equally for the breakdown of the marriage between Charles and Diana. Charles is quite obviously in love with Camilla. Marrying Diana is like ticking another box on the list of royal duties 'marry a decent, pure woman'. EVERYONE in the family KNOWS the obsession of Charles with Camilla, yet still somehow allow Diana to be dragged in and what? Save the day? Save Charles? Or save their reputation? I feel like if they had been more accepting of Camilla, it would have saved a lot of lives. I mean, we have to remember also that Camilla was married too, but surely Charles still shouldn't have married Diana if he was in love with someone else. But then again, that would mean we wouldn't have our Royal Princess. So who knows really.
Anyways. Charles comes back and they marry and everything seems good. Diana falls pregnant with Prince William pretty soon and they move to Gloucester. Diana hates it and Charles loves it as its only a short drive away from Camilla's. How convenient. The marriage begins to break down. It almost chips away, bit by bit, sometimes by Charles, sometimes by Diana. I definitely think they were both extremely different from each other. They didn't understand each other. But one thing was clear as day. The public LOVED their Princess Diana. And this didn't make Charles happy, as it took the attention away from him. Her bulimia gets worse as her marriage gets worse, she goes into a really dark place. Constantly being hounded by the media, her unhappy marriage, it all gets a bit much for her. You can see Charles and Diana aren't right for each other. When they go on their royal tour to New Zealand and Australia, they are kind of forced to spend time with each other. The scene where they have their argument however, is one of my favourite moments from this season. When they talk it out, I find myself almost wishing for it to work out between them. I remember thinking how good it could have been. They just needed to communicate. When they perform a dance and Charles says 'let's give them a show' (I think), you just want them to stay like that forever. However, sadly another successful press day for Diana, soon turns the mood sour. I really did find it sad for both Charles and Diana. Both stuck in a marriage, Charles quite clearly in love with Camilla, Diana so consumed by her bulimia and her sadness and her lack of appreciation. It's heartbreaking.
Yet, at each intervention, Diana wants it to all work out. In the last episode, the scene between Diana and Prince Philip was quite special. They both married INTO the family, and Prince Philip almost tells her 'this is how it is, get used to it'. I feel there was no proper support for Diana and no guidance for Charles either. The closing scene really emphasised that Diana is at breaking point, if not broken already.
I already cannot wait for season 5 and 6. Sadly, these are the last ones, but maybe when Prince William is King, they'll finish off the rest of the story. I honestly love this show. Before I watched The Crown, I had little idea of the monarchy. I didn't know about the abdication, how young Queen Elizabeth was when she became queen, nor the depth of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's relationship. I genuinely feel that as well as being amazing, this show is SO important. It gives you a deeper understanding of the monarchy and an understanding we all need.
I hope you guys enjoyed this review. I fully understand that The Crown is based on real events and it's not just a story. It's the lives of the royal family. This is just my review on how they appear on The Crown. Any criticisms are not a reflection of the actors or actresses work. I think they couldn't have found a better cast if they tried. Let me know if you enjoyed this review in the comments and anything else you guys would like to see a review on.
Thanks for reading!
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