The Crown: A Review

I have recently watched both the first and second seasons of The Crown, a Netflix original series that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II.  I am late to the party with this series, as usual.  I tend not to watch a series until it's done airing.  It saves me the dreaded end of season cliffhangers and waiting months to find out what happens next.

I also hesitated with this because I love history and I prefer my history to be a little more aged than this.  The fact that many of the prominent characters in this series are still alive was off-putting to me.  However, my apprehension faded before the first episode was over.

Clarie Foy is a wonderful Elizabeth.  She captures the queen's modesty and dignity very well, acting with her eyes more than anything else.  Queen Elizabeth is not the most captivating of female English monarchs, but she stands alongside them as successful figureheads that presided over long reigns of peace and prosperity.  Two English queens that I have studied at length, Elizabeth I and Victoria, preceded the current Queen Elizabeth in this manner.  Despite being a young woman, Foy captures the poise and essence of the royal "we" very well.

Other cast members are also strikingly well selected to both resemble and behave like the people they represent.  Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, and John Lithgo do excellent jobs recreating the characters they portray.  I love the tension they create with the queen, and I am fascinated by the calm way that Elizabeth scolds them when they are out of line.

My husband and I watched the series together, as we like to do with things of political or historical nature so we can debate them, and often, we disagree.  Throughout the series, we often disagreed about the motives of behaviors of different characters.  My husband loves the political intrigue; politics, past or presents, remains one of his greatest hobbies and passions.  And this series didn't disappoint him in that.

Throughout, he and I were also both fact-checking different scenes, searching for the original video footage of events, photographs and, evidence to support the claims against the queen's uncle.  While neither of us felt ignorant of the historical events that were covered in the first two seasons, we have since become quite seasoned about the historical facts.

But like all history, especially as it is portrayed for entertainment, it is only one side of the story.  I often wondered as I watched how Elizabeth must feel watching this series now (and surely, she must watch, don't you think?).  As she and Phillip recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, I wondered how she felt seeing this version of their life together portrayed, and I wondered how much of it is true.  Regardless of their personal turmoil, and the certain difficulties in being an obedient Christian wife and also being your husband's queen, they are proof that even though marriage is hard, you can persevere.

The Crown tackles the rivalry of sisters, the complexities of a royal marriage, political intrigue, post-war innovation and cultural changes, religion within government, adventure, and even fashion (say what you will about Princess Margaret, but her outfits are fabulous!).

I am anxious for the third season to release!

Comments

  1. Great post! I'm currently 3 episodes into season 2.
    Claire Foy and John Lithgow's acting is simply amazing! While the whole cast is very good, those 2 stand out!
    I also watch with my wife, and we also bring up the question: How much of this actually happened? Obviously they have to take some liberties and exaggerate to make the show more interesting, but I hope they didn't go too far.

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  2. "say what you will about Princess Margaret, but her outfits are fabulous!" truer words have never been spoken! I have LOVED this series as well and am eager for more!

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