“The Crown” goes against a royal spin

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Shortly after the first season of “The Crown” – Netflix’s mockumentary drama about the British monarchy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II – several publications gleefully reported that the queen herself was a fan, after to be encouraged to take part in a program or two with Prince Edward, her youngest son. Although members of the royal family refused to be drawn publicly on the matter, journalists like to speculate about what the Windsors could do with their peers on the screen. With season four, released on November 15, that speculation has intensified: tabloid newspapers have been full of claims from “royal experts” and anonymous friends that the pictures, especially Prince Charles, so cruelly erratic that they “go on. Hollywood budget”.

If they actually watch the show, the royal family will probably be unhappy with it. The first episode of this new season opens in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister, and ends in 1990. Those were not good years for “a ‘company’, as they were with the union of Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. . Princess Diana’s ascension to the status of an admirable public figure – to become the “queen of men’s hearts” – was matched only in speed and spectacle by the explosion of her marriage.

“The Crown”, until now, had portrayed the royal family as flawed but sympathetic victims of their unusual situation. This season is not so good: they appear self-serving, petulant and myopic. Thatcher, played with almost frightening realism by Gillian Anderson, spends a painful weekend at Balmoral Castle, where she is ridiculed for not having the right shoes, manners or breeding. “I struggle to find any redeeming qualities in these people at all,” she told her husband. Charlie, played by Josh O’Connor, is perhaps the worst of them all, so insecure about his own importance that he explodes into a vicious rampage. towards his wife. (Diana, sensitively played by Emma Corrin, is no angel either, but she is at least more sinned against than sinning.)

Writing in telegraph, Simon Heffer said that these accounts created a “high-rent soap opera” and “a bad view of history, deliberately misrepresenting everyone”. (The newspaper’s loyalty to the monarchy is hinted at in the show when, in season three, Princess Anne begs him to do an interview with him rather than Princess Anne. Guard.) According to the DeclarePrince William, the eldest son of Charles and Diana, “no one is very happy with him”, feeling that “both parents are taking advantage of them and presenting them in a fake, simplistic way to make money” .

“The Crown” has always been more concerned with gripping plots than strict historical accuracy, which no doubt helps explain the show’s popularity. True events provide the scaffolding of the show but situations are exaggerated, strained and, at times, completely contrived. Season four is no exception. He plays fast and loose with, among other things, the level of the Queen’s interaction with Michael Fagan, who broke into Buckingham Palace in 1982; the time that Thatcher’s son, Mark, went; and, according to several sources, the extent of Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell) in the early years of his marriage. The show also takes liberties when it shows the inner lives of its characters. Such production is inevitable because the royal family, especially the queen, are known for their thoughts and feelings.

The real members of the royal family understand the emotional power of a good yarn, however, and that they rely on the goodwill of the public. They have always tried to shape the stories in which they appear. They trade in symbolism and ritual, manifesting mostly through pre-planned commitments and carefully thought-out philanthropic projects. They have long tried to manipulate the media, offering access in return for favorable coverage.

In recent years, as in those before Diana’s death in 1997, the royal family has once again lost control of their fairy tale. Prince Harry’s marriage to actor Meghan Markle – which was praised at the time as proof of the family’s willingness to change – soured after the couple cut ties and left for Canada, citing media bullying. Prince Andrew has been damaged by his relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Criticism of “The Crown” therefore seems to be a reflection of the problem facing the modern monarchy: that it no longer needs to write its own story.

“The Crown” is streaming on Netflix now

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