As if America wasn’t already obsessed with the royal family, Netflix just released a new drama about the most famous matriarch in modern history.
“The Crown” tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s rise to power in the 1950s and takes viewers inside the royal wedding, her meetings with Winston Churchill and her relationship with her family. The series dives deep into the queen’s mind and life, a view not many have seen.
In the first episode, a fresh-faced, not yet “Queen” Elizabeth (Claire Foy), marries her beloved, Philip Mountbatten (Matt Smith), and plans for a long life as a Navy wife until she eventually ascends the throne. The day she takes the throne is sooner than either Philip or Elizabeth is ready for. At just 25, she must take over the monarchy after her father, King George VI (Jared Harris), dies. The drama really surrounds Philip. He feels left out of the spotlight while his wife can’t seem to get out of it.
Smith’s Philip is a bit sinister and not the “Prince Charming” that you are expecting. Let’s just say you can see how Prince Harry is his grandson.
The emotional drama is around the queen’s sister, Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), who is commanding on screen and overshadows Foy at every turn, which is perfect, considering the queen’s late, younger sister was the prettier and livelier of the two. Margaret wishes to marry Peter Townsend (Ben Miles), her father’s equerry who helps out the royal family. Their relationship, however, is doomed. Since Peter is a divorcee, the Church forbids the princess to marry him. Though you root for the couple, you don’t really see Townsend’s appeal to the princess. He is dry and full of gloom.
Perhaps the best character is Sir Winston Churchill, played brilliantly by John Lithgow. If you ever wanted to get into the mind of the great prime minster, then this show will give you that opportunity. Churchill sees the world he fought so hard for slipping through his fingers. He tries to keep the traditions of Britain before World War II, but the modern era is racing towards him with a force that not even the great bulldog can keep at bay.
In all, Netflix’s most expensive series is worth the gamble. If you love history, the grandeur of royal life and insights on the royal family, then you will really enjoy this show. American audiences will enjoy a little history lesson on our friends from across the pond and on the longest living monarch in history.
Netflix has planned for this to be the first of a six-season series to explore Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign. The new Netflix series “The Crown” is now streaming.