The Crown S2: Paterfamilias

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This episode was easily the series’ most heartbreaking – and also quite possibly its best. Elizabeth was all but a nonentity in it, save one rather tense scene, but Charles springs forth for the first time as a central character, albeit not one who reflects on his parents well. As we have done for the last few recaps, we’ll capture the gist of what happened and then delve into how much of this is accurate. Spoiler alert: this episode and the next one have garnered some of the series’ most significant criticism for its depictions of moments involving Philip.

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The Crown S2: Dear Mrs. Kennedy

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So, here we are. The episode that has garnered so very many headlines in the last couple of weeks – the arrival of John and Jackie Kennedy at Buckingham Palace. Once again, however, we are playing it fast and loose with the timeline. Ostensibly a year has passed since the last episode and we are in June 1961 when the Queen and Prince Philip actually hosted the first couple, however by the end it’s November 1963 and the Royal Family is watching the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination.

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The RF Attends Grenfell Tower Memorial Service [UPDATE]

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Members of the Royal Family turned up for a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral earlier today. Held in honor of those who lost their lives during the Grenfell Tower fires earlier this year, the Cathedral was packed with about 1,500 people, including the families and friends for those affected, and other residents who lost their homes.

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The Death of Prince Albert

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Irony of ironies, but the very date that Queen Victoria branded a bad omen and which holds a very fraught history within the Royal Family is in fact my birthday: December 14. I’ve never known quite what to make of that, especially since Queen Victoria was the first British monarch I took a particular interest in. But there’s a reason she hated the day – and a few reasons why she became quite superstitious about it – her husband died on December 14, plunging her into a 40-year widowhood at the age of 42.

Not only that but 10 years later, her eldest son nearly died of the same disease (Typhoid) on the very same day – when the 14th rolled around, however, he miraculously began to recover. Seven years after that, Princess Alice became the first Victoria’s children to die on, you guessed it, December 14, 1978. Even as late as 1895 the date had resonance – Mary of Teck, then Duchess of York, gave birth to her second son on December 14th of that year and her husband was afraid to tell the Queen lest she be somehow offended. She wasn’t, but she did note his birth date was “unfortunate.”

So, on this most unfortunate of days, but one on which I get to eat cake and open presents, let’s go back to the OG and take a look at Prince Albert’s death.

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The Crown S2: Matrimonium

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A lot happens this episode, which is good news after two episodes that mostly deviate from our main characters. An engagement, a wedding, two pregnancies, a baby and one Palace house party with rock n’ roll and a conga line. Fantastic. I am going to offer a slight fact-check to the episode, which does play it a bit fast and loose with timelines, while addressing a few of the issues the episode puts forth.

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The Crown S2: Vergangenheit

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One issue some had with The Crown’s depiction of Edward VIII in the first season was that it attempted to hold his love affair with Wallis Simpson up against Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend as a direct parallel. In doing so, the political concerns that many in Edward VIII’s government had about him were ignored and by that, of course, I mean his known affection for Germany and seeming tolerance for Nazis.

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Kate Steps Out in Séraphine + an Update on Christmas

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I had a feeling we’d be seeing this Séraphine coat soon. The Duchess of Cambridge has been recycling several pieces debuted during her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte and this one, first shown off during a whirlwind tour of New York City in 2014, is certainly memorable.

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George, Mary & Britain’s Last Delhi Durbar

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George V ascended the throne following the death of his father, Edward VII, on May 6, 1910. Though the royal house was still branded “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha” and not yet Windsor, his reign was a remarkable step towards modernity and away from the stifling Victorian atmosphere that had so defined his grandmother’s reign. George and his wife, Mary of Teck, had long established themselves as not only reliable members of the Royal Family, but two who didn’t put much stock in formality or ceremony. While Edward VII had never allowed guests to sit while he was standing or retire to bed before he and his wife, Alexandra, George quickly did away with such practices, instilling a more “country home” environment into his residences.

And while his father had always kept a close eye on the machinations of Western Europe, tied so tightly to the family thanks to the intermarrying of cousins, George was more concerned with the longevity and health of the British Empire. It was from these instincts that he hashed out a plan to follow up his coronation in Westminster Abbey with one in Delhi and a royal tour to each of his dominions. As Prince of Wales, he had conducted a successful tour of India in 1904, while his father had made a similar trek in the 19th century. Indeed, it was only Queen Victoria, the first British Empress of India, who never made the journey.

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The Crown S2: Marionettes

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Normally I like to recap these episodes by focusing on the actual show as opposed to fact-checking, but in this case I’m going to deviate. This covers such a specific moment in time that I think it’s worth drawing out what was going on, particularly as the episode ends with a short epilogue on Lord Altrincham.

As depicted, in August 1957 a piece called, “The Monarch Today,” ran in a small publication, the National and English Review, which was written by Altrincham and criticized not only the Queen but the courtiers surrounding her. Altrincham already had a reputation for near heresy thanks to his position on women in the Anglican Church and his lobbying against the House of Lords, which he claimed was full of members unfit to serve. His opinion was given more attention than it perhaps normally would have thanks to his own background, which included an education at Eton and Oxford, a title and service as an officer in the Grenadier Guards.

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The Crown S2: Beryl

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We’ve spent the first three episodes focused almost exclusively on Elizabeth and Philip (with a little dash of the Suez Crisis), but now we turn to Margaret – a shift imparted to us by the score of “Princess” in the opening scene and Matthew Goode riding in on a motorbike. Fair enough. We’re at a country wedding that Margaret is attending sourly while the photographer, Antony “Tony” Armstrong-Jones, is snapping pictures of random hands and shoes. Look, if my wedding photographer pulled that crap, I’d probably end up quite annoyed.

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