Part of what I love so much about The Crown is that I am intrigued with the way that this family, The Royal Family, relate to each other. It’s as if you are watching a family that does love each other, but doesn’t know what love over duty is. They don’t know what showing emotion is.
But if we’re being honest, the reason that I care about season 4 of The Crown? Well, that’s simple – Diana Spencer. She’s who we’ve waited to see. She’s who has always captivated the world and personally, though we will never know her entire story, it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to know every detail. So, I admit that I take everything that I can get and hold onto it.
Lets start to break it out.
THE MAD TREE
Charles – as we all know – has had one can’t eat, can’t sleep kind of love. But Camilla is out of the question, because she’s married now. Yes, he’s going to be King, but his duty – he doesn’t care right now. He’s into sowing his oats.
And I don’t blame him. I also don’t blame the fact that he’s not telling his family about his string of girlfriends because they don’t exactly give a fuck about his love life, except for how whatever woman he is dating would be perceived as the queen.
It’s not that I don’t think that Elizabeth loves her son, I do believe she does. But, I believe that she has always felt a sense of urgency to her duty, so beyond that she’s not sure how to be.
Anne tells her that his latest is Sara Spencer. It’s why Charles isn’t at lunch – he’s gone off to see her. And hey this is nothing against Sara, but you can instantly tell she isn’t queen material. She’s a smart ass who is more about leading than following.
And when she leaves Charles alone for just a minute, we get to see his first meeting with Diana.
A young girl, dressed in the weirdest costume, tries to hide behind a planter. She makes small talk with Charles and asks him not to tell Sarah that she’s seen him, for she was instructed to stay out of sight. She needs to get to a room and the only way is past him.
He asks about the costume and the end up talking about their love of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Diana is one of the mad trees. You can tell that Charles is intrigued by her. He wants to see the girl behind the mask.
But like any good woman, Diana leaves him wanting more. And she disappears just as Sarah comes back. Charles tells Sarah he met her younger sister and Sarah says that she shouldn’t be surprised, as Diana was obsessed with the idea of meeting him.
Now, I will say this – way to break the sister code, Sarah. But if Diana was, so be it. We are all obsessed with the idea of something. And we could all take a queue from Diana on how to make a first impression.
RUNNING THE SHOP
For someone meant to be in the background, we’ve all learned that Philip has a lot of opinions. Way too many. Your wife is the Queen, let her run the ship.
Elizabeth is intrigued with Thatcher and you can tell by the look on her face that she’s excited at the prospect that someone of the same sex is in charge, someone she’s not going to have to constantly prove herself to.
But Philip, he doesn’t like Thatcher. He doesn’t like the fact that she’s been described as headstrong and self opinionated. But the truth is – that describes Philip and Elizabeth to a tee.
As with every new Prime Minister they are invited to the palace so that the Queen can invite them to form a government in her name.
When Thatcher comes, the Queen and Thatcher both have ideas in their head of what this will be like. But both of them will learn quickly that expectations do not make reality.
The Queen is making small talk, learning about Thatcher, asking about family, but Thatcher is just like not having it. She’s there for the politics of it all. But when they move to talking about politics, and the Queen explains that she enjoys trying to guess the cabinet, it’s when you see the differences and the similarities more. Thatcher says that her cabinet will not be women, as there are no qualified women, but also that women in general, tend to not be suited to high office. Why? Because they are too emotional.
And the Queen assures her that she won’t get that problem from her.
They both had an idea in their head of who the other was. But they were both way off.
You know, I was always told to never go to bed mad and never hang up angry. Truth is, I rarely pay attention to any of those sayings. Because it’s just not me.
But for Charles, this will be a decision that changes everything for his. Dickie calls and he is checking in on Charles. Also, he will be in London the following week and would love to see Charles. But Charles says that won’t be possible as Camilla and him have found a time to get together.
The two exchange barbs at each other and it’s really quite sad. Dickie knows that Charles has a right to live his life, but has begun to feel bad about the fact that he hasn’t driven more of a sense of duty into Charles. But Charles doesn’t care. He’s in love and Camilla is the only person that matters to him.
Sure, he is sowing his wild oats and living his life – but he has no choice. He’s had his road to happiness ripped from him. And when their fight comes to a head, Charles hangs up the phone and returns to his fishing trip.
Dickie sits down an writes Charles a letter, one that once we know what it is, you have to wonder if Charles made his life decisions based off the words of that letter. Because it would be the final words that Dickie gave him.
Shortly after, Lord Mounbatten (Dickie), was killed by an IRA bomb. He was on a boat with his grandchild and some other people, catching lobsters, when the boat exploded. The IRA claimed responsibility for the bombing immediately.
The Royal Family is informed of Dickie’s death and the most destroyed is Charles. He has been so close to Dickie and the loss will be immeasurable.
Charles is on plane home and is informed that the 5th is when the funeral will be. And this is when we see what the final words from Dickie are. He’s putting Charles in his place. He’s telling Charles that he needs to conceal his love for Camilla. He tells Charles that he needs to find a girl that will follow the rules and he needs to find a girl the people will love. It’s his duty. He reminds Charles that one day he will be King. And he tells Charles in his own way that he loves him and that he’s his loving, honorary grandpa.
And I have to admit that hearing these things is not easy. The final words that you have from someone stick with you and these will be something that Charles will go back over repeatedly.
And that’s a lot.
Upon his return home – when Charles arrives and goes to see his father, Philip is like “oh its you.” Charles is broken – you can see it. Hell, I wanted to fly through the computer and slap the shit out of Philip. Philip says it’s a terrible thing that Dickie had no fear of death and would have hated any outpouring of grief or sentimentality. He’s trying to harden Charles, but also I think that Philip doesn’t know how to relate to Charles. He’s jealous of him.
After all – Charles will be the one thing that Philip will never be. King.
Dickie left 500 pages of instructions for the funeral. Chose Charles to do the reading. Philip is mad AF. Dickie was Philip’s surrogate father. Maybe when he saw the struggles between Charles and Philip – is when he Dickie replaced him as Father to Charles and when Charles replaced him as son to him. But Philip admits that there were times where that made him resent Charles. Philip says it wasn’t Charles fault. Charles says he was a father to them both. Philip says to Charles repeatedly that he has a father.
Look, I wanted to feel bad for Philip, but the truth is – I don’t. I don’t because Philip has made the choices that he has made, which have made him a shitty father. He was cruel to his son, when what his son needed was a father.
Charles says he would be happy to stand aside so Philip can do the reading. Philip says what he wants is irrelevant. It’s what matters to Dickie and he chose Charles.
Dickie’s funeral has come and passed. We know that the IRA is responsible and Thatcher had previously given the Queen condolences and had told the Queen she’s over these criminal acts. She gave word to Queen that she will wage a war on IRA without mercy, until that war is won.
ONE DECISION CHANGES EVERYTHING
Now I will say this – it’s not that Philip doesn’t know how to be a Dad. He’s one to Anne. Maybe having a daughter was what he needed to show something.
But it failed him with his sons.
Earlier in the episode we saw a moment of Philip and Anne – where Philip acts like a father. Granted, not the best one, but he was trying. Philip told Anne that her life is her own business, but he’s heard that she’s thinking of withdrawing from competition and no longer riding. She tells her that she’s an Olympic possibility and she says she knows but Mark has also decided to try for it this year and that would mean them training together. Philip asks if it’s a bad thing – he (Mark) is Anne’s husband after all. Philip says this isn’t like Anne, she has forgotten how to ride, but she remarks that she’s forgotten who she is. He tries to have a Dad/Daughter moment and it’s touching.
It’s touching because Anna thinks that this is what a parent is like. Anne doesn’t know any different. And Philip, well, I think he just wants to connect to his kids.
Anne does stay in competition, and the family is watching. Philip is cheering for his daughter and though she doesn’t win, he’s proud that she was out there.
Charles shows up – he wasn’t supposed to be there – but he shows up and you see a family moment you weren’t expecting. Being there for each other. But if Charles hadn’t shown up, the future may have been very different.
See when he was leaving, he ran into Diana. He didn’t know that it was Diana, until she told him that she was Sara’s sister. She offered her condolences and told Charles that he was so strong.
Diana knew all the right words to say and the moves to make. But I don’t think she knew that she was saying them all at the right time. See. the way she behaves, the way she seems to fall in line – it’s all the things that Dickie had said to Charles in his letter.
And one has to wonder – if Dickie hadn’t written that letter – what would be different?
Charles was intrigued. Diana left an impression on him. So much so that she calls Sarah, first saying that he can’t come to wedding. Then asks about Diana. He wants to know everything he can about Diana.
Sarah says she works at a kindergarten, just turned 18, works part time as a cleaning lady, Charles asks for more info. Kids love her. Charles asks about her character – everyone calls her Dutch because she has always acted like she’s meant for greater things. Charles asks for permission to ask her out. Sarah says she wouldn’t mind. Charles says not to warn her and asks for her number.
Diana may have not known what the future was holding for her, but she’d always prepared for it.
And she just may have been preparing for the biggest dream job of them all…
About The Crown Season 4:
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.
Written by Peter Morgan, The Crown‘s fourth season also stars Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Tobias Menzies as The Duke of Edinburgh, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles, Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother, Georgie Glen as Lady Fermoy, Tom Byrne as Prince Andrew, Angue Imrie as Prince Edward, and Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten