There’s a lot to be said about The Crown season 4, from Gillian Anderson‘s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher to the cruel treatment of Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) at the hands of the Royal Family. Literally every single episode is packed with some sort of “holy shit” moment, some worse than others. I’m not about to go through them all, but here are some that we just can’t stop thinking about.
Prince Edward being played by the creepy son from Fleabag
Prince Edward looked so, so familiar and THEN IT HIT ME: He’s Creepy Jake from Fleabag, who likes to take baths with his step-mum Claire (Sian Clifford) despite being basically fully grown. The actor’s name is Angus Imrie, and I feel like it’s going to be a long, long time before he shakes the ‘Creepy Jake’ association. Still, he does a good job in The Crown! – Alex
How COLD the Queen is to Diana
I cringed so hard during that scene when Diana tried to hug the Queen (Olivia Colman) and she literally just stood there with her arms at her side. Diana just wanted to feel loved and supported, but the Queen couldn’t give her that.
Diana even calls the Queen “Mum” a couple of times, which she sort of flinches at.
The coldness isn’t just exclusive to the Queen though, because the entire royal family is so, so distant.
I guess that’s just how the family operates though, right?
As Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) explained to Diana in the final moments of the season: “Everyone in this system is a lost, lonely outsider, apart from one person, the only person, who matters. She’s the oxygen we all breathe. The essence of all our duty.” – Alex
Prince Andrew’s favourite film being about an underage girl’s sexual awakening
I was curious to see how The Crown would deal with Prince Andrew following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal… apparently the writers went ‘fuck it, let’s lean in’. In a scene with Prince Andrew (Tom Byrne) and his mum (the Queen), he describes his new favourite film, The Awakening of Emily, which is even creepier in a post-Epstein context.
“It’s set in the 1920s and follows an impressionable, nubile 17-year-old girl,” Andrew says. (YES, SEVENTEEN.)
“17? I’m not sure I want to know more,” the Queen replies.
“Don’t be such a prude, Mummy,” Andrew says.
“The story is that she returns home from a fishing school in Switzerland to her mother’s country house in the English countryside.
“There, she meets several twisted and perverted older predators who seduce the vulnerable, helpless young Emily as we follow her induction into sensual pleasure.”
YUK, YUK, YUK.
In real life, Prince Andrew actually dated actress Koo Stark, who starred in the v. v. sexual film. They broke up once the press got wind of it, and Andrew then married Sarah Ferguson, but uh… yeah. Weird. – Alex
Charles asking Diana to hang out with Camilla
I’m sorry, but in what world do you ask your future wife, who is genuinely suffering, to hang out with your girlfriend? For fun?
Charles, you idiot.
This whole scene gave me hives. Well done to The Crown, I guess?
Oh, and this lunch was basically an opportunity for Camilla to suss out when she could have some alone time with Charles. She settled on hunting, which Diana wasn’t a fan of.
That bit’s true, by the way. Diana said as much in the documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words.
The documentary, which you can find on Netflix, is told entirely in Diana’s voice. – Steff
Diana’s battle with bulimia
A number of episodes throughout The Crown season 4 begin with a trigger warning: “The following episode includes scenes of an eating disorder which some viewers may find troubling. Viewer discretion is advised. Information and resources for those struggling with eating disorders are available at www.wannatalkaboutit.com.”
Those scenes were focused on Diana’s eating disorder.
In 1992, Andrew Morton published his biography on Diana called Diana: Her True Story. While Morton didn’t reveal who his source was at the time, it turned out to be Diana herself. Through a close friend, Diana passed Morton confessional tapes about her life before, during, and after her marriage to Charles.
You can listen to the tape recordings in the documentary I mentioned in the last para.
“The bulimia started the week after we got engaged and would take nearly a decade to overcome,” Diana said.
“My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: ‘Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?’ and that triggered off something in me – and the Camilla thing.”
This particular quote wasn’t included in The Crown‘s version of events, but it was all I could think about during the scenes. It just made me so angry. – Steff
Episode 7, The Hereditary Princess, details the heartbreaking story of the Queen’s first cousins Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon.
The sisters, who were born with severe developmental disabilities, were essentially abandoned at the Royal Earlswood Institution for Mental Defectives because they were apparently a threat to the royal bloodline. That’s The Crown‘s version of it, anyway.
Nerissa and Katherine were committed to the institution when they were young woman – that’s fact. They were even officially declared dead, even though that was categorically not true.
Onelle Braithwaite, a nurse who cared for Nerissa and Katherine, said in a 2011 documentary that the sisters would curtsy whenever the Queen or Queen Mother were on TV.
“They didn’t have any speech but they’d point and make noises, and when you knew them, you could understand what they were trying to say,” she said.
“Today they’d probably be given speech therapy and they’d communicate much better. They understood more than you’d think.” – Steff
The man who just casually broke into the Queen’s room for a chat
It was the morning of July 9, 1982 when Michael Fagan scaled a Palace drainpipe, climbed through an unlocked window, and then walked into the bedroom of one Queen Elizabeth II.
This is the premise of episode 5.
Fagan actually broke into the Palace for the first time a month earlier, in June 1982.
In a 2012 interview with The Independent, Fagan talked about how he had some food and wine, sat on the throne, and peed on [checks notes] corgi food while exploring the palace. This happened, he actually broke into Buckingham Palace – not once, but twice.
I just – I can’t believe he just walked into the Queen’s room for a yarn. Bizarre.
The break-in aside, I thought this episode was achingly sad. I don’t know how accurately it portrayed Fagan’s life, but his position in society was still so telling. It showed the other side to Thatcher’s reign, the one beyond 10 Downing Street.
It showed what her policies did to every day people. – Steff
Diana’s anniversary present to Charles
I don’t know if this is true, or if The Crown just made it up. I don’t want to know if this is true.
Long story short: Diana recorded herself singing All I Ask Of You from The Phantom of the Opera, in full costume with a live orchestra and everything, and made Charles watch the VHS tape. And he hated it.
The arts is how Diana apparently liked to express herself, and while I understood what she was trying to do, I just… cringed so hard. At the same time though, Charles did not need to be a dick about it to Anne (Erin Doherty) afterwards. – Steff
Dickie getting blown up
I feel like this was rather big, considering Lord Mountbatten was literally assassinated by the IRA. However, since it was portrayed in episode 1 I completely forgot about it by the end. Still, it was a pretty intense way to kick off the season. – Steff
The Crown season 4 is streaming now on Netflix.