The Crown is a historical drama series based on true events. The show is a biographical take on the personal life and the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Her relationship with her closed ones, specially her parents King George VI and Queen Mother Elizabeth, her younger sister Margaret and her husband Prince Charles, Duke of Edinburgh are some of the important points the show focuses on.
The Crown gradually grows on you; it gets addictive after a few episodes. So it does take time to pick up its pace but the facts are beautifully knit with every story each episode has to offer. The crises faced by the Queen after her reign began, are carefully sketched and the main winner of the show is the brilliant acting done by the cast. Clair Foy is very impressive as the Queen and makes the job look easy when it’s absolutely not. She portrays the character with much wit and commendable grace. The dilemma she faces at every point in her life when she has to choose either her family or her duties makes one think that wearing the crown is never a boon but a baggage heavy with responsibilities and duties.
Queen Elizabeth didn’t want to stay confined as just a representational head of the country. She was ambitious and wanted to help out her people. However, there are occasions where she was a mere puppet of her government. There are times where she rises against all the odds and actively takes part in her government. She is after all human and vulnerable. This is where the show succeeds. They are able to make the character of the Queen relatable. She had to take on colossal responsibilities at a tender age and has since come a long way. Elizabeth sacrifices a lot in the journey and is a distant mother. There have been strains in Elizabeth and Philip’s relationship but today theirs is the longest running and most celebrated marriage in any royal family.
The casting of Matt Smith (of previous Doctor Who fame) as Prince Philip is brilliant! He portrays the character with much responsibility. Since these aren’t just any characters but are very real ones and are members of the most famous and prestigious royal family in the world, I believe there was much pressure on the show runners as well as the actors. There are subtle hints of Prince Philip’s infidelity and though there are multiples times it is implied that he did cheat on the Queen but it is never clearly shown on the show.
The character of Philip resonates more than Elizabeth’s because of the struggle he has been through since his childhood. At one point he laments that he is the only man in the country who is not allowed to give his last name to his own children. Here is a man, during the regressive times of the 1900s, who sacrifices his career, his alpha male ego just to walk four paces behind from his wife all the time, for their entire lives. He tries to take control of their children’s lives and ends up doing more harm than good. The show shows matriarchy at its best, where Prince Philip had minimal power but Queen Mary and Queen Mother Elizabeth somehow held the maximum authority that could be held.
Queen Mother Elizabeth is one beautiful strong woman character I absolutely loved. She was a great partner to King George and struggles to be idle, to be of no use at all once he is gone. She had to move out of the Buckingham palace, her home of 17 years and shift to Clarence House after her husband’s untimely death. She struggles with her life and tries to hold on to whatever valor she has left. She has clashes with her son-in-law and this makes Queen Elizabeth’s life even harder as she often faces the dilemma to choose sides.
The only time I witnessed the Queen to be genuinely happy in the entire two seasons was when she was pregnant with her third child. Her relationship with her husband seemed to improve and it seemed to be much more intimate and stronger.
One major problem I have with The Crown is its complete dropping off of some very important details of history. While some of them were very accurately depicted, few seemed exaggerated and some were completely given a miss. There are no mentions of the great Bengal Famine which killed millions of Indians. Churchill had refused relief aids for the country giving no proper reasons but pure hatred. If the Nazis are hated for the holocaust, why should a selfish monster like Churchill be celebrated even today? I wished they had showed this grotesque side of him and what he did in the name of patriotism. I wish for once, the Great Britain would own up to its mistakes, the mistakes it kept on repeating in the days of colonialism.
Elizabeth was an exceptionally devoted wife and a very loving mother. However, from the very first day of her reign, she considered her duty to be the first priority. She ensures the survival of the Windsors at any cost and places the Crown above all. She makes her emotions little known to her public and yet embarks on her journey to conquer their hearts. She is an extraordinary queen who rose above the weight of the Crown and became an extra ordinary woman who took her nation towards another era of greatness. The third season of The Crown premiers this December and I cannot wait for it to arrive!
All the images courtesy goes to Netflix.
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Deblina is a 23 yo introvert who is often a victim of her own jokes and her OCD. She loves books, Marvel, Netflix and Star Wars. She writes about nerd stuff. Jessica Jones and Tyrion Lannister are her spirit animals.