The Crown reveals the royal family’s unseen struggles

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Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales’ wedding day at Buckingham Palace in 1981.

On Nov. 15, The Crown released its fourth season on Netflix. This season is based on the United Kingdom royal family’s behind-the-scenes struggles during the late 70s to the early 90s. 

During the first three seasons, the show portrayed inside stories and conflicts Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Coleman) struggled with, particularly in her marriage with Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), in her relationship with British Prime Ministers and with her sister, Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter). Season four spotlights more on Princess Margaret’s depression, first female British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, the Queen’s relationship with her children and especially on her eldest son Charles’s love life. 

On TikTok, fan videos and hashtags reach a soaring number of viewers as fans gush over the storyline of Lady Diana Spencer, who later became known as Diana, Princess of Wales. Princess Diana is played by an uncannily similar-looking actress, Emma Corrin, who captures not only her stylish appearance but also her kind, yet shy demeanor. 

The show particularly reveals the Princess of Wales’s hardships in her marriage to the first heir in line to the throne. Well-known for her BBC interview as she emphasized her desire to be the “Queen of peoples’ hearts,” this season honored her legacy by capturing her courage and compassion as she dealt with Prince Charles’s resentment of her popularity and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. The episodes highlight that additionally by showing her as a mother, battling bulimia, and in the eye of the public while connecting to fans all over the world. Corrin reenacts Princess Diana’s class by showing her climbing Ayers Rock in the royal 1983 Australian tour and hugging children born with HIV during the Princess’ 1989 New York City tour.  

Although the series is about real-life people and events with real faults, copious scenes provide dialogue that is not known to have happened definitively because it is historical fiction. This does, however, provide viewers details on how the royal family members likely felt in nuanced relationships and situations, like with Lord Mountbatten’s assassination, which the royal family was not thrilled with. Even  Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, responded by expressing he felt as though his parents were being overly-exploited just for Netflix to profit off of it. 

Junior Dylan Safai watched season four, and Safai said he liked the “power dynamics” between Princess Diana and Prince Charles especially since the Princess was portrayed as an outcast. “I think that it is important for people to know the history of The Crown, however, I believe it is not the most historically accurate and sheds a poor light on the royal family, especially Prince Charles and how he is portrayed as glum and abusive,” Safai said. 

According to Radhika Seth from British Vogue, season five of The Crown will likely start up during late next year or even 2022 and it will likely cover the late 1990s with the Prince and Princess of Wales’s divorce and the Princess’ world-shocking death. Next season will feature a new cast starring Imelda Staunton as the Queen.