‘The Crown’: Too close to home and too near the bone


‘The Crown’: Too close to home and too near the bone

Life rarely imitates art exactly; often it is far worse

Chris Thurman

It can be no coincidence that the BBC interview between Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis and Prince Andrew was broadcast a day before the global premier of season three of hit series The Crown. The managers of the British royal family’s brand must have thought it was unlikely that the queen’s second son would pull off his intended confidence trick, persuading viewers that there was nothing untoward in his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and no substance to accusations against the prince himself.

Luckily they had an ace up their sleeve. For months, Netflix subscribers – monarchists and republicans alike – had been waiting for the return of a much more likable bunch of royals: the semi-historical, semi-fictional family depicted in The Crown. No public relations firm could ever achieve what series creator Peter Morgan has done for the reputation of Queen Elizabeth and the extended Windsor clan.

Over the first two seasons, Claire Foy’s sympathetic portrayal of “Lillibet” (or “Cabbage”, as her husband Philip calls her) ensured that the ebb and flow of global history in the decades after World War 2 served as an epic but, somehow, simultaneously rather quaint backdrop to the personal challenges faced by the young monarch...

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