Daily Express

TV reign ends in time to spare us sorry sideshow

- MIKE WARD Daily Express TV Critic

GREAT news! It’s safe to come out from behind the sofa. The final six episodes of The Crown, arriving today on Netflix, contain not even a mention of Meghan Markle. No disrespect, but hallelujah! By wrapping up the story in 2005 at the wedding of Charles and Camilla (Dominic West and Olivia Williams), creator Peter Morgan has spared us that sorry sideshow.

We see plenty of Harry (Luther Ford), but at this point he’s just an angry, bitter young prince, yet to find that special someone who’ll assure him he has every right to be so, and that there’s bound to be at least a book deal in it.

We do meet a young Kate Middleton (Meg Bellamy), who’s arrived on the scene in 2001.

We follow her awkward encounters with William (Ed McVey), whom she meets at St Andrews University, then watch the pair grow closer.

Hilariousl­y, Kate’s mum Carole (Eve Best) is portrayed as the pushiest of mothers, desperate for her girl to wed the future King.

Morgan, I’m sure, thought long and hard about where to round off this final season. But he’s picked a good time. He likes at least 20 years to have elapsed before writing about a period, and 2005 is near enough. It also allows these final episodes to cover events such as the deaths of Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville) and the Queen Mother (Marcia Warren) within seven weeks of one another.

The Crown wouldn’t be The Crown without a generous helping of twaddle. Scoring highest in that regard this time is the suggestion that the Queen (Imelda Staunton) planned to announce her abdication. Having been persuaded to do so during a conversati­on with her younger self (Olivia Colman), it seems she needed a further chat, with her even younger self (Claire Foy), to talk her out of it.

Her Majesty, aware she’ll turn 80 the following year, is in a reflective mood, but Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce) insists: “Those that come after you are not remotely ready to take over.”

He has a point. Charles, for all the happiness he’s found, has sons we see growing further apart.

“Will you stop bickering?!” he yells at them over supper. I think we know the answer to that one.

 ?? ?? Final season...Meg and Ed as a young Kate and William. Right, Meg as Kate in a fashion show at university
Final season...Meg and Ed as a young Kate and William. Right, Meg as Kate in a fashion show at university
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