I was initially sceptical of the new Netflix series ‘The Crown’, given that it covered an area of history and society on which I have my firm-set beliefs and prejudices. It is my belief that Her Majesty the Queen is the golden thread of our constitution. I considered it beneath our sovereign to have her life reduced to a popular series which could undermine the integrity of her great office and institution. I eventually caved in as I am a sucker for historical dramas (particularly ones which take place on my own Island home). I find that the plots of real history are far more capturing and outweigh the conjuring’s of the human mind in regard to intricacies. I therefore gave it a go and I was certainly not disappointed. Far from being slanderous or treasonous, I found it perspective changing.
I’ll first address the more prosaic matters of a review. The introducing theme song was outstanding! Not only was it apposite to the story they were telling, but it was a piece of Burkean sublimity. It sent joyful shivers down my spine as it reminds me of the grandeur and significance of its topic, all of these connotations were delivered through subtleties in the music. The casting choices were also particularly noteworthy. What was perhaps most striking was the brilliant way in which all of the leading cast showed the nuance of the historic characters they were playing. Each idiom and mannerism was picked up from Atlee’s pipe to the Queen’s body language. Claire Foy did an excellent job of portraying her majesty, Queen Elizabeth: I found her voice work particularly talented but she was also able communicate the grace and dignity of which the real Elizabeth conducts herself. Furthermore, Matt Smith was cunning in his ability to add a personal dimension to the traditional ways we see our Prince Regent. John Lithgow did a cracking job at showing Churchill beyond the Great leader, he manages to show the quirks of Churchill Which made him a relatable character, often the underdog even when in power.
I must confess I wasn’t a fan of the quasi-revisionism regarding Churchill. The series shows him often as a weak, work shy and fragile old man. Whilst I acknowledge these factors as often being the case, I believe the show neglects to shows how he was brilliant until his last, regardless of what was holding him back in his old age. I won’t continue anymore with the discussion of the actual production as there is very little more to be said on the topic as buy-and-large all the factors there regarding were of an outstanding quality. What’s more interesting is how this show was ultimately paradigm shifting. I have always had great adoration for the monarchy. This was/is largely derived from my respect for the institution, how it connects me to my Country’s history, how it represents the Church of England and how it brings majesty to the English constitution. ‘The Crown’ brought to focus a new point of admiration; I started to see the office undressed, I began to see Elizabeth Windsor for her sake (providing that the show is relatively accurate). In the series we see how truly virtuous Her Majesty is: She’s family oriented, noble, Truthful, utilitarian and selfless in her service. I knew before these things to be true, I was always aware of how the Queen has been an ambassador for traditional morality and family, as much is clear in her speeches. I think perhaps for the first time, however, the focal point of regal appreciation (thanks to the show) is the great morality and virtue of the Royals when dealing with very human problems with which we all could relate. Before I was solely focused on the office itself in directing my praise. Perhaps I should appreciate both elements of sovereign and her family to truly understand how prodigious an institution the Monarchy really is.
End of Man
Beginning of Gentlemen