The crown sea­son 2

A right re­gal of­fer­ing of royal drama Cer­tifi­cate: 15 Cre­ator: Peter Mor­gan Dis­trib­u­tor: Net­flix Cast: Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby Re­leased: Out now

All About History - - REVIEWS -

When a mar­riage seems as though it’s fall­ing apart around you, it’s some­thing that you try to keep pri­vate – it’s painful enough with­out the world try­ing to get in­volved. But when you’re a queen, you don’t have that op­tion.

It’s that kind of raw­ness that re­ally comes across in the sec­ond sea­son of Net­flix’s hit drama The Crown.

A tur­bu­lent, emo­tional in­stal­ment of the crit­i­cally ac­claimed series, it ad­dresses the reign of Eliz­a­beth II fromthe Suez Cri­sis in 1956 to the birth of the monarch’s fourth and fi­nal child, Prince Ed­ward, in 1964.

The House of Wind­sor has been no stranger to scan­dal and in this series we get right up close to the prob­lems sur­round­ing not only the Queen’s per­sonal life, but also that of Princess Mar­garet and the prime min­is­ter as well.

The time has also come to get a taste of what Ed­ward VIII (or the Duke of Wind­sor, de­pend­ing on the year) re­ally got up to in the late 1930s and early 1940s – pos­si­ble col­lu­sion with Adolf Hitler was just the start of the prob­lems. And all of this al­most ex­plodes in ev­ery­one’s face when Lord Al­trin­cham makes his crit­i­cisms of the monar­chy and they be­gin to take off… How can a con­sti­tu­tional monarch de­fend one­self?

Per­haps the most poignant sto­ry­line, how­ever, comes later in the series when Prince Charles is sent to school

– at Gor­don­stoun in­stead of Eton, which is where he had wanted to go. The jux­ta­po­si­tion of Charles’s time there against his father’s cre­ates a har­row­ing tale of loss and re­jec­tion, and how two very dif­fer­ent peo­ple deal with it. It’s also a chance to look back at the per­haps lit­tle-known child­hood of Prince Philip and un­cover just where he came from.

Of course, none of the drama would be able to come across on screen if it wasn’t for the stel­lar cast repris­ing their roles. Claire Foy’s Eliz­a­beth is re­mark­able – she seems to be able to cap­ture the monarch’s el­e­gance, poise and con­vic­tion so ef­fort­lessly, re­ally com­ing to life op­po­site Matt Smith’s Prince Philip. Ju­lian Bar­ing also cre­ates the im­age of what could be de­scribed as a some­what spoilt Prince Charles, but it’s Vanessa Kirby who steals the show. Her por­trayal of an an­gry, hurt Princess Mar­garet oozes de­light­fully from the screen and you can feel her seething as she finds yet more set­backs that she blames squarely, although a lit­tle un­fairly, on her sis­ter. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how sea­son three fares with an en­tirely new cast.

We’d be re­miss not to men­tion the fan­tas­tic cos­tumes and sets that this show uses. No ex­pense is spared from the ex­quis­ite de­tail on the full-length ball gowns to the small items you wouldn’t even no­tice in a back­ground shot on the royal plane.

How­ever, the series isn’t with­out its flaws. As with all his­tor­i­cal dra­mas, some events are played out of or­der or tweaked to fit the ten-episode arc bet­ter.

But all in all, as long as you don’t watch The Crown as a doc­u­men­tary, you’ll be in for some very en­ter­tain­ing view­ing – and, as with most of the Net­flix li­brary, you’ll just keep watch­ing it un­til it’s all over. It’s riv­et­ing view­ing that will have you on the edge of your seat, un­able to look away.

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