‘The Crown’ of­fers rare por­trait of young El­iz­a­beth II

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

The writer of hit film “The Queen” re­turns to his fa­vorite sub­ject this week with a new Net­flix series of­fer­ing per­haps the most in­ti­mate por­trait yet of Bri­tain’s head of state.

All 10 episodes of “The Crown” will be avail­able from Fri­day, con­tin­u­ing a tra­di­tion of big-bud­get orig­i­nal con­tent that has seen the stream­ing ser­vice lav­ished with praise for such hits as “House of Cards” and “Nar­cos.” The series comes from the pen of Peter Mor­gan, who lifted the veil on the pri­vate world of El­iz­a­beth II in “The Queen” (2006), which was di­rected by Stephen Frears and earned He­len Mir­ren an Os­car in the ti­tle role.

Mor­gan went back to Bri­tain’s long­est-serv­ing monarch with the stage play “The Au­di­ence,” which con­cen­trated on her re­la­tion­ship with her var­i­ous prime min­is­ters-and which also starred Mir­ren.

While these pre­vi­ous dra­mas de­picted a ma­ture and then ag­ing El­iz­a­beth II, Mor­gan and di­rec­tor Stephen Daldry (“Billy El­liot”) start out “The Crown” with a young Princess El­iz­a­beth as she mar­ries Philip Mount­bat­ten in the uncer­tain after­math of post-war Bri­tain.

Net­flix has al­ready com­mit­ted to a se­cond sea­son and has so far ded­i­cated over $100 mil­lion to “The Crown,” ac­cord­ing to sev­eral re­ports. “Noth­ing you or His Royal High­ness does is a pri­vate mat­ter,” Win­ston Churchill warns the 25-yearold El­iz­a­beth, as she em­barks on a very pub­lic life which has seen her be­come ar­guably his­tory’s most rec­og­niz­able royal.

Man’s world

For all her fame, the 90-year-old monarch has man­aged some­how to re­veal lit­tle of her­self over 64 years on the throne.

Played by Claire Foy, whose last royal role was as Anne Bo­leyn in the BBC’s 2015 minis­eries “Wolf Hall,” the El­iz­a­beth Wind­sor of “The Crown” is a level-headed young woman who is nev­er­the­less prone to mo­ments of lev­ity and sen­su­al­ity. Mor­gan, who plans to ded­i­cate one sea­son of “The Crown” to each of the six decades of the queen’s reign, starts with her dif­fi­cult as­cen­sion to the throne, stew­arded by Churchill, after the sud­den death of her fa­ther Ge­orge VI.

Mor­gan and Daldry of­fer up a nuanced por­trait of a woman who com­bines re­serve with grit, an heiress to an an­cient tra­di­tion who man­ages some­how to be thor­oughly mod­ern. A woman very much plunged into a man’s world, she finds her­self in the alien po­si­tion of be­ing of higher stand­ing than her hus­band, treated with def­er­ence by the prime min­is­ter.

Cen­tral to Mor­gan’s nar­ra­tive is El­iz­a­beth’s re­la­tion­ship with Philip, which is more com­plex and pas­sion­ate than the for­mal, some­times stilted, im­age of the union served up for the pub­lic.—AFP

This com­bi­na­tion of file pho­tos shows ac­tress Claire Foy (L) and Bri­tain’s Queen El­iz­a­beth II. — AFP

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