For some reason many people are fascinated with royalty. Maybe it’s the idea of some kind of mystical divine right to power from days of yore or maybe it’s because we are pumped full of fairy tales about princes and princesses from when we are children. Whatever it is, the modern royal that seems to draw the most interest is the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, so it is no surprise that Netflix saw an opportunity in creating a series about her life. The question is, is it any good?
Season 2 of The Crown picks up as Prince Philip (Matt Smith) heads off on tour and Elizabeth (Claire Foy) is drawn into the Prime Minister’s plans to strike back at Egypt after their seizure of the Suez Canal. It’s a great opening because it introduces the dual streams within the show, of Elizabeth’s political challenges and her personal ones and her constant struggle to find balance between the two.
Highlighting not only Elizabeth’s struggle with trying to move forward in a more modern era, wrestling with the media and trying to find her voice in a male dominated politically complex world, The Crown also delves into the challenges of her marriage, her family relationships and even her concerns around her physical appearance.
Claire Foy is a force to be reckoned with in the lead role and does an outstanding job of portraying a woman bound by duty and tradition and the outward facade she must maintain, while dealing with heartbreak, frustration and her own painful shyness. She is ably supported by some core secondary characters, especially in the form of Matt Smith and Vanessa Kirby, who plays Princess Margaret. I found the delve into Philip’s past, very interesting and in many ways Margaret is my favourite character. I loved watching her romance with Tony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode) unfold.
There were some great iconic historical moments in this series, with Elizabeth and Philips’ meeting with President (Michael C. Hall) and Jackie Kennedy (Jodi Balfour) standing out, especially seeing how Elizabeth reacted to Jackie’s instant popularity.
It seems the next series is in for a shift to the younger generation of royals and this transition starts with heir, Charles (Julian Baring) starting to play a bigger role as we see his difficult early school years at Gordonstoun.
How much of what is portrayed outside the actual documented historical happenings is accurate, is impossible to tell but the way it is played out is a gripping watch. The show hasn’t made me a royalist but it has given me a bit of respect for old Liz… even though you know she’s living off the tax payer’s money… anyway, The Crown is a great drama and much more interesting than I initially imagined it might be. For me the second season is even better than the first and I will definitely be tuning in for season three.