From Diana to Thatcher, The Crown s4 reveals all

Meg Howe reviews the fourth season of The Crown

Meg Howe
28th November 2020
Credit: IMDb, Wikimedia Commons,Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix - © Netflix 2020
The Crown season 4 premiered on Netflix on November 15 2020, and was number one in the UK by the following morning. With 10 hours of Olivia Colman’s toothy smile to binge, many views would have watched the whole season in one go!

Netflix did not disappoint with this season; and they were not afraid to delve into much of the royal family’s narrative that many hadn’t heard of before. It definitely isn’t surprising that the Royal family were unimpressed with this season – it didn’t really present them well at all!

With the same main cast as season 3, we saw nothing less of perfection from Colman’s perfect depiction of Elizabeth. However, with the addition of two crucial characters, it was obvious that things were going to be shaken a little this season.

Emma Corrin really captured Diana's essence. Credit: IMDb, Photo by Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix - © Netflix 2020

The images bedded deep into everyone’s mind are Emma Corrin in Princess Diana’s iconic clothing! Corrin has definitely made a name for herself in this season of The Crown, despite having only a small acting portfolio, and it seems quite upsetting that we only get to see her portrayal of Diana this season, with the role being taken over by Elizabeth Debiki for the final two seasons. Corrin certainly did a smashing job, with this role and it is obvious that she seemed to have worked hard on perfecting both the facial expressions and the elegant voice of the iconic Diana.

One thing that we have to mention, is that The Crown is not history, it’s fiction

But, did Diana really skate through the rooms of the palace? One thing that we have to mention, is that The Crown is not history, it’s fiction. The same way we see many period pieces say “based upon true events”, and Netflix is no different, they have a wide scope of ‘creative license’. I think the scene of Diana skating through the palace, listening to her 80s bops has more of a figurative meaning, rather than a literal one. She definitely is portrayed as young, vulnerable and naïve – which I think was the aim of director, Stephan Daldry – and is an important element in the relationship between Diana and Princes Charles (both in real life, and on the screen).

Gillian Anderson went through a transformation to become Thatcher. Credit: IMDb, Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix - © Netflix 2020

The second major cast addition that we saw this season, was Gillian Anderson; who played an astonishing portrayal of British Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher. While Thatcher is an icon, similar to Marmite in the way that her historic time at number ten divides the nation, I think it’s safe to say that Anderson’s performance of her was also iconic! Many were left confused by Anderson’s performance; saying that they never believed they could enjoy Thatcher (well, really they are just enjoying Anderson in a wig and with a posh accent!).

Something that did surprise me, was the limited story line when it came to Thatcher and her policies. The writers her definitely focused a lot more on her personal life; including her relationship with her children, than on the direct impact of her policies. I was shocked to see no mention of the Miners Strike that took place in 1984, as this historic moment showed that many were dissatisfied with society as a whole.

Selfish, arrogant and misogynistic just name a few of the words that come to mind when I think of the way Charles was presented

We saw the two power hungry women go head-to-head in this season. Not only that, but we saw HRH The Queen stand up to her children. Again, it must be noted here that Netflix have a little bit of a creative input, and there are were CCTV camera’s in the palace to capture these conversations. While I doubt many of the conversations really happened, it definitely had us all in shock when The Queen spoke with such force to her own son!

The Crown showed Charles in a negative light. Credit: IMDb

Something that is definitely on my mind after watching this season, is that episode: “The Hereditary Principle”. I’m not one to be shocked easily when it comes to the royal family – I don’t expect much from them, but I was incredibly shocked to hear the narrative that this episode was based upon. Of course, there is much to be questioned, but I think this episode really shed a light on the actions of the Royals, and their attempts to seem ‘perfect’.

It would be silly not to mention how this season made the royal family look. Selfish, arrogant and misogynistic just name a few of the words that come to mind when I think of the way Charles was presented this season. And, to find out The Queen did not know how to hold her own children; again, I’m not shocked!

Overall, life doesn’t work the same way we see things on the screen. And when you watch The Crown, it is important to remember that there is no way we can tell if all this is real. I say, take it with a pinch of salt.

But the performance of those in this season: outstanding!

Featured image:  IMDb, Wikimedia Commons, Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix - © Netflix 2020 
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AUTHOR: Meg Howe
Passionate History student and Educator

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