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The Crown: New Season, New Decade, New Actors

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

The lavish big budget Netflix drama The Crown, which centres itself on the irresistible topic of the British royal family, is back for its third season and once again does not disappoint.

Whilst I am surprised by the fact that I have yet to finish a season which I’d been eagerly waiting for, I’m hardly surprised by the series’ success. When Claire Foy signed up for the role of the Queen in the series which premiered in 2016, she knew, unlike a large percentage of us, that she would only be staying for the first two seasons of the historically based narrative. Whilst we were sad to learn that we would not see the Golden Globe prized actress performing in the subsequent seasons, her successor was warmly welcomed. In order to portray the ageing of the royal family, the cast was reselected and centred around the new 1964 Queen: Olivia Colman (largely known for her role in Les Misérables and The Favourite amongst other titles) and the new Duke of Edinburgh: Tobias Menzies (Black Jack Randall in STARZ’s Outlander). Interestingly, Olivia Colman is the only actress to have played Queen Elizabeth II (The Crown) and the Queen Mother (2012’s Hyde Park on Hudson).

The latest season pulls us into the economic and political struggles Harold Wilson's labour government faced in the late 60s (the season hinting that Lord Mountbatten was willing to stage a Coup against the democractic government), we are also historically enlightened on the morbidly terrifying events of Aberfan and intrigued by Princess Margaret’s negotiation skills with the American President Johnson in times of debt. I once again admit to only have watched 5 episodes of the 10 released on the 17th of this past November; however, I’m not quite sure that I’ll find any of the following episodes more fascinating than the 4. Bubbikins.

The episode named after Princess Alice’s (performed by Jane Lapotaire) nickname for her son, the Duke of Edinburgh, focuses on a hidden figure of the royal family. In the first two seasons of The Crown viewers had been entranced by the brief forays into Prince Philip’s turbulent childhood (a boy famously smuggled out of a war zone in a small crate). However, this episode chose to stop sidelining a memorable figure: the elusive Princess Alice of Battenberg.

The episode shows a congenitally deaf woman who learnt how to read lips in several languages and kept an altruistic life of service as a military nurse during World War I. We also learn that she sheltered Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and finally founded an Orthodox order of nursing nuns in Greece. The series even goes as far as hinting that the Greek Princess was treated by Sigmund Freud as she said “He was not a kind man. I was there for just over two years, and I managed to escape”. Historically, we know that the Princess was removed from her family against her will and sent to two sanatoriums in quick succession, both of which were run by protégés of Sigmund Freud.

With storylines as intriguing as these it’s no wonder that The Crown has failed to disappoint.

Written and illustrated by Federica D, Year 12

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