The Crown: From Depicting History to Picturing Celebrity Gossip

The Crown is one of the most renowned shows about British Royalty, it has received critiques about not being factually correct, its creator, Peter Morgan, creative liberties, and even, lacking respect towards Queen Elizabeth’s reign. It was first released on November 4, 2016, and seven years later, it is still causing a stir. 


The Crown has been mesmerizing in depicting The English Royalty through generations and with outstanding interpretations of different actors such as Matt Smith, Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby, Victoria Hamilton, John Lithgow, Olivia Coleman, Tobias Menzies, Emma Corrin, Erin Doherty, Josh O’Connor, Gillian Anderson, Helena Bonham Carter, and now, in the final season, the marvelous Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki, Khalid Abdalla, Leslie Manville, Salim Daw, Olivia Williams, and Claudia Harrison. It has always been a captivating show because it builds an image of how The Royal’s interactions may be. 


For the last three decades, with the advance of technology and the development of social media, there has been an increase in celebrity interest and Parasocial Relationships towards mainstream personalities, among them, The Royal Family. This has, of course, led to a perspective of their private affairs being completely in the open, yet several aspects remain unknown. Still, people wonder what exactly happens behind closed doors.  Therefore, The Crow has calmed those anxieties within the public. It gave an illusion of deep insight into one of the most powerful families in the world.  


Whether or not parts of the show are fictional, I dare say the first two seasons were the most interesting because they delved, not only into the most private moments of the royal family (for example, Princess Margaret’s love interest, Peter Townsend), but into historical events; such as the Soviets testing the “H bomb”, World War II secret documents that gave Queen Elizabeth a different perspective of her uncle, Edward VIII, difficulties surrounding The Suez Canal, and The Queen and Prince Philipp meeting John F. and Jackie Kennedy. 


In seasons three and four, we saw fewer historical events that involved the British Crown and how The Royals could’ve reacted to them, yet the writers deepened on other individuals of the family. For example, we were shown how Princess Margaret dealt with depression and the difficulties of a tense marriage, Prince Charles learned Welsh, Margaret Thatcher’s controversial policies, and even, a slight insight into her family, for example, her son’s disappearance in the Sahara Desert. I should mention The Crown missed an incredible opportunity to portray Prince Anne’s movie-like, unreal, and “badass” moment when she was almost kidnapped and defended herself. If you want to know more about what happened to Prince Anne, Smithsonian Magazine wrote an article about it that describes it in detail (you can read it here ). 


Nonetheless, we were left with interesting historical events, such as The Aferban Disaster, a coup against Queen Elizabeth’s government, the first men landing on the moon, and the war between Britain and Argentina over The Falkland Islands.  

Left Bank Pictures. Sony Pictures Television. Netflix. Season 6 Released 2023.

This slow and disappointing shift over the seasons in The Crown is almost unnoticeable by the time you reach season four. After that, the characters who get more screen time are Prince Charles and Princess Diana. However, by season five and six, it seems like the entire plot of the show are Charles and Diana, their troubled marriage, the affair between Charles and Camilla, and the ways they go above and beyond to, finally, get their divorce granted. But in the first part of this last season, our main character is Diana, the rest of The Royals and political and historical events are now oblivious to the writers. 


I believe the creators focused on Diana the most due to the public’s desire to finally reach that time in history. People have loved Diana for decades, even after her passing, and as new generations of youngsters learn about Diana, the love for her never ceases. 


Diana was truly a revolutionary and admirable woman, but many viewers continue to watch The Crown for its original depiction of History and The Royal Family, not just one individual from it. It almost seems like a mini-series on Diana’s final moments. It is also clearly predictable because most viewers already know what happened to Diana. Season six starts with a Parisian man walking his dog, witnessing the car crash, and immediately calling the police for help. Not only was Diana’s passing predictable, but they made it even more predictable by telling us when they would show it.  

The Crown used to be absorbing because it narrated and depicted historical facts that not everyone knew, especially because they occurred almost a century ago. I wished The Crown would’ve shown historical, important, and interesting facts that happened in the 90s which not many people are aware of. 


Don’t get me wrong, Diana’s episodes are great, and I like how the show examined Mohammed Al Fayed’s obsession with British Royals and Diana’s whims, but those were the most interesting facts from seasons five and six. Besides, if you have been following along since 2016, you probably wanted to watch that essence that made The Crown unique and not just another celebrity fan-based depiction of what happened. And even then, if you truly wanted to deepen on what makes Diana such an incredible woman and personality, you could have just gone and watched Spencer directed by Pablo Larraín, Diana: In Her Own Words directed by Tom Jennings, or simply read Diana: Her True Story written by Andrew Morton. 



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