If Lady Diana is your favourite member of the British Royal household and if you were looking forward to the fourth season of The Crown to see the Princess of Wales come alive once more…well, there is both good news and bad. For one, the Season 4 isn’t just about her. It is called The Crown for no other reason but for the fact that the pivot always is the Queen Elizabeth II. It’s not just the characters, including her husband Phillip (Tobias Menzies) who realise the truth about her being the centre, “she is the oxygen we all breathe”, but the series too is primarily about her and the times she lives in.
Having said that Lady Di appears in all her glory and with all her charm intact. Indeed, none can match the beauty of the real Lady Diana. Yet the reel Diana, Emma Corrin, comes close.
In the first few scenes we meet an ordinary girl besotted by what she presumes is her Prince Charming. Yes, Diana and her troubled marriage with Prince Charles are central to the narrative in this season. But even more significant is the stormy relationship between two most powerful women in England — the queen and the country’s first woman Prime Minister.
Gillian Anderson as the Irony Lady Margaret Thatcher is first rate; from her accentuated way of speech to her pronounced body language she masters it all. As for other actors, well they continue to win us over too. Helena Bonham Carter as the somewhat disturbed Princess Margaret and Olivia Colman plays the stoic and stable queen as ever. Of course, the show that humanises royalty like few have is a bit harsh on Prince Charles. No reflection on the actor Josh O’Connor though, with just that slight hunch, and a smile bordering on grimace he carries the insecurity of Charles as if it were his second nature.
Wish the director-writer had applied the same dictum as it does to the conflict between two leading ladies, the queen and her prime minster whose tussle had become public knowledge too. Yet, there is little you can grudge in the series which does not sensationalise Diana’s affairs or Charles’ indiscretions. Actually, we could suggest countless reasons why you should be watching this series. The writing is sterling, each dialogue is a gem, akin to a quotable quote. As for the historical veracity, well it has the international media divided over the creative license the series takes more than once. But the season four does recreate many an iconic moment, replete with some factual one-liners faultlessly.
Streaming on Netflix you could certainly binge watch all the 10 episodes. But if you want to truly savour this royal affair (no pun intended), watch it at leisure. Let your senses soak in the resplendence and let the ruminations simmer in your mind for it to be a truly invigorating experience.