A significant piece of the York puzzle last week was the absence of the Duke’s elder brother, the Prince of Wales. Charles was in the midst of a long-term tour of India, New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, while Andrew sat down for his disastrous BBC interview that roundly ended his royal career. An interesting narrative is now emerging from the fallout – amidst the rubble of whether Andrew will be roped in by the FBI, or whether his daughter’s wedding will be downgraded, and who exactly from his camp should be blamed, Charles’s hands are remarkably clean and his popularity is on the rise.
I changed my mind last weekend about writing my final summary of The Crown’s third season because I wanted to re-watch certain episodes and let it all gel a little more. I’ve done so, and with all ten episodes recapped, I think it’s finally time to take a look at them as a complete package. At the close of the first and second seasons, I focused primarily on the question of whether or not the series was focused too much on side characters to the detriment of its lead. This season, I think they did a good job of shading Elizabeth in, but I’m surprised by the direction they took. To be blunt, their portrait of the monarch isn’t very flattering.
As some of you may have noticed (and for those who follow along on Instagram, I posted to stories about this), the Duchess of Cambridge pulled out of the annual Tusk awards event last night. The reason given was something due to the children, with the general consensus being that there was a last-minute childcare issue.
That might sound strange from a household that obviously contains a multitude of staff, but in reality, the Cambridges employ only one nanny, and my guess is that she was unexpectedly pulled away and given the timing, William and Kate were unable to find backup. Given that the Tusk organization is William’s and Kate joins him only in a supporting role, it made sense for her to stay behind.
I’m not sure what I expected from the Season 3 finale. I knew it would cover the dissolution of Princess Margaret’s marriage, but given that the penultimate episode covered events in 1972/1973, I had no idea how they were going to cram four to five years into one episode. Well, they did, but only by once again mashing up a lot of events and ignoring others.
Season 3’s ninth episode essentially covers the breakdown of Charles’s relationship with Camilla. Or, as we’ve now come to see it, the ending of Part One. In The Crown’s world, their demise was taken out of their hands slightly, or at least out of Charles’s, thanks to palace machinations directed by the Queen Mother and Earl Mountbatten. The events depicted are a mash up of those from 1972 and 1973, but per usual for this season, there’s quite a bit of fiction.
Well. Let’s start at the end and work our way back, shall we? A couple of hours ago the Duke of York released a statement that the Queen gave her assent to a request that he be allowed to step down from royal duties for the foreseeable future. This news comes on the heels of several days’ worth of blistering coverage of his recent sit-down interview with the BBC on his former friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
My thought? Good.
The moment so many have been waiting for: the introduction of Camilla Shand. Not only that but we are given a true farewell to the Duke of Windsor, and a second strong look at Princess Anne this episode. And because I didn’t make this point in my recap of “Bubbikins,” when a teenage Anne first stepped into the frame, Erin Doherty’s portrayal of the Queen’s daughter may be one of the series’ most on-point performances.
So, here we are – Season 3’s seventh episode and we are still squarely in 1969. Indeed, the events depicted here overlapped with several of those from the fifth and sixth episodes in the real world, which I suppose explains why they’ve moved around the timeline…except that I’m still not a big fan of how they did so. Anyway, after drama focused around Elizabeth, Earl Mounbatten, and Charles, we are now circling back to Philip. And his mid-life crisis, except he can’t quite bring himself to use those words.
Season 3’s sixth episode begins to answer the question of how sympathetic the show intends to be towards a more adult Prince Charles. So far, that answer is “very.” The episode’s title is Welsh for “Prince of Wales,” fitting given that it covers Charles’s investiture in July 1969, as well as the three months leading up to the ceremony during which he lived in Wales.
I thought while I was watching this episode it would end up my least favorite from the season, but the last scene between Earl Mountbatten and Princess Alice helped salvage it…and there’s another one later on that I ended up liking more. Still, this episode is the first true dud for me, because it once again distorts what actually happened to serve a purpose that I’m not really needed serving.