The Crown's review

England has one of the world’s oldest monarchies, which reigned not only over England and the United Kingdom, but also over numerous colonies over the centuries. Queen Elizabeth has the longest reign in her country’s history, but who was Elizabeth before she became the icon we all know? The image we have of her, icy queen with colourful dresses, doesn’t have such an ancient history. The TV series The Crown, made up of four seasons, pays homage to her life from the marriage with Philip, duke of Edinburgh, to the defeat of the “Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher. It’s one of the most expensive Netflix productions, from the actors (for example Claire Foy and Matt Smith, who respectively play the Queen and the Duke in the first two seasons) to the scenery details, like the expensive stage costumes. In the first season, we can see the transformation of the Queen, from an unexperienced girl to the Queenable to stand up to the Prime Minister and to her sister, Margaret.

In the second season, which goes from 1964 to 1976, Philip Mountbatten plays a key role. While in the first season he was a beloved husband, now he’s put in the background, forced to submit to the authority of his wife. He’s looking for a way to escape from the Palace’s oppression, so everyday he spends his time with his friends at the club. Between the two lovers, the emotional distance increases: she’s engaged in political issues concerning the Suez canal, while he’s around the world on a state visit. During their separation they think about themselves and their union. Finally Philip returns to London and reconciliation is possible only thanks to the moral strength of Elizabeth. In the third season, Olivia Colman replaces Claire Foy as the Queen, Tobias Menzies is the new Prince Philip and, because of a time warp, two new important characters appear in the narration: Charles and Anne, children of the royal couple. This season covers thirteen years of Elizabeth’s reign, following key events such as the death of Winston Churchill and the mission that brought man to the moon for the first time. Moreover, Charles meets Camilla and Margaret travels to the United States. The queen is overcome by an existential and personal doubt: she wonders why she’s incapable of feeling emotions. She departs from court duties in order to spend some time with her beloved horses. This break makes her feel regret for her normal life, and her complex and not always easy relationship with Margaret. The sister of the Queen plays a central role in a couple of episodes showing an increasing difficulty in managing the fact of being always in the shade of Elizabeth and in dealing with a marriage that is falling apart. Charles (Josh O’Connor) is shown coming to terms with his role as Prince of Wales, and falls in love for the first time, triggering the outrageous reactions of the Palace. Charles interprets the need to be understood and to obtain the approval of others with sensitivity, ranging from the ability to totally immerge himself in studies, to his love for theatre and art, moving on to the meeting with Camilla (Emerald Fennell). At first, this relationship was seen just as an adventure by the prince but it soon escaped the control of the royal house, when people started to talk about it.
On November 15, Netflix released the fourth season. Two new characters, both females, were introduced. They can surely be defined as the focus of this new season. Queen Elizabeth is always present, but takes a more marginal role in the events, even if it is still important. In 1979 the UK Prime Minister, for the first time in history, was a woman: Margaret Thatcher known as The Iron Lady. She somehow changed the way people viewed the Prime Minister. Another key point of this season is for sure Charles’ search for a wife, and a key character is introduced: Diana Spencer, played by Emma Corrin. The relationship between Charles and Diana is absolutely central in the narration of events and unfortunately, as the story emphasises, the presence of Camilla will be one of the reasons that will lead to its failure. The figure of Camilla for Charles has always been important, even when he is now married and father of two children. During this season the work done in The Crown to give a sense of reality is spectacular. The fourth season of The Crown is without any doubts the best one. Unlike the previous ones the rhythm is more rapid episode after episode, thanks also to many historical events to cover. We are getting closer and closer to the contemporary years and perhaps the vivid memory of the spectators helps us to become more passionate about it. The test is widely passed, The Crown is certainly one of the most successful Netflix productions. Everything is well balanced: cast, direction, music, photography. In short, you cannot certainly complain, because every season makes you want to see the next. The Crown is certainly to be recommended, an engaging series that also knows how to enrich, thanks to its accuracy from the historicalpoint of view. And what else can we say, we are all looking forward to the fifth season.

Michela Martin

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