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
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.