The Crown


Monarchy is a soulless institution that stamps out all individuality, and its effects can be harshest on those at the top of the pyramid. That is the major ironic takeaway of the third season of Netflix's The Crown, which continues its look at the modern British Royal Family, now in the turbulent 1960s and '70s.

The characters are older, as are the new actors playing them, aged by both time and the demands of their roles. With that age has come a palpable sense of regret for Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip. Sequential episodes in the middle of the season show the two grappling with the fact that conformity to the needs of "the Crown" has prevented them from spending their lives the way they'd have preferred (and perhaps with whom they would have preferred): Philip as a naval officer and Elizabeth as a horse breeder.

Barreling headlong into that same fate is their son, Prince Charles, whose attempts to bring his own personality to bear as heir to the throne are either dismissed or actively crushed by his family. The struggle from earlier seasons between the Crown and the people who wear it is over: The Crown won.

NEXT: Brickbat: School's Out Forever

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  2. It is kind of sad that royals are basically actors born into their roles and forced to perform on stage their entire lives – and yet they keep having kids, don’t they? I’m pretty sure Elizabeth looks around at her brood occasionally and thinks that if only she had had Phillip push her down the stairs a few more times when she was pregnant, her kids could have been still-born instead of just brain-damaged.

    1. Perhaps sad (maybe 1 on a sad scale of 10), but any of them are free to give it up at any time, and still be better off than the common commener. Plus there is some twisted justice that modern royals suffer for the sins of all their ancestors.

  3. The one thing I loved best about The Crown was Claire Foy as young Elizabeth…and John Lithgow’s amazing job as Churchill. Okay, the two things I loved about The Crown were Claire Foy and John Lithgow…and Jared Harris as King George VI. The three things I loved best were Foy, Lithgow, Harris…and whoever played Elizabeth’s sexy sister Margaret.

    At any rate, all of those elements are gone now. I’m not sure what the appeal would be at this point.

    1. The casting of the first two seasons elevated the show. Everyone’s perfectly serviceable, but the new cast isn’t thrilling me the way the old one did. HBC (CBE) is always good though.

    2. I love Olivia Colman and she gets a lifetime pass thanks to being in Peep Show, but when she popped up on the screen in The Crown I remarked “Oh for cryin’ out loud England has other actresses, don’t they?” She’s been in so many things lately. Let someone else have a job.

      Now that they are almost up to the period I was alive for I’m very not interested.

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  5. The British people had the chance to get rid of this stale institution back when Queen Victoria disappeared from sight after her husband, Prince Albert, died. It was costing about 1 million pounds a year then and royal-watching tourism was virtually nil.

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  7. The UK monarchy is far weaker than the monarchy against which the USA rebelled in 1776.

    Even back then, the monarchy had lost its previous independent power base and had to maintain its influence by corrupting Parliamentary elections and bribing members of Parliament (often by giving them cushy jobs, a practice the Founders tried to preclude in the Constitution).

    But today? They can’t even pay off Parliamentarians any more. They just sit around and look pretty and their personal lives give fodder for the media. And TV and women’s magazines in the U. S. cover the heck out of them to cater to their readers’ princess fantasies.

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