Season four of The Crown is premised between 1977 to 1990. And, the new season focuses on Britain striving to recover from the ‘Great Depression’, victory in war with Iceland, murder of Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) and the appointment of Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, Margret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). But, the important among all is Lady Diana’s (Emma Corriin) entry and her marriage to Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor).
The season was in news more because of the entry of Lady Diana and her marriage to Prince Charles. And, directors Benjamin Caron and Paul Whittington go well beyond delivering just a grand wedding. They introduce viewers to the confusion Prince Charles faced while taking one of the most important decisions of his life: Marrying Diana.
What is interesting is that writer Peter Morgan has even taken some vivid accounts from Lady Diana’s biography, The Way We Were, written by Paul Burrell. The season throws light on how the Windsors mistreated Diana the moment her engagement was announced to Prince Charles.
The Queen (Olivia Colman) maintains a safe distance and remains very cold to her daughter-in-law. This is evident in the exchange when Princess Diana has to beg for the Queen’s audience after returning from an Australian tour. The expressions are precise and exacting. In fact, it wouldn’t be incorrect to state that Emma slipped her feet into Diana’s shoes before essaying the role. Right from what caused her to look anorexic to the pain she went through on discovering that Prince Charles was still in touch with Camilla (Emerald Fennell) — has been graphically replicated by Emma. She has has managed to get the tone and the attitude on point.
Prince Anne (Erin Doherty) plays a meatier role in this season as she emerges as The Duke’s (Tobiaz Menzies) favourite child. She is very jealous of Lady Diana. The green eyed monster emerges in an open exchange with The Queen. Erin Doherty takes after Tobiaz Menzies to personify on screen that she indeed is his favourite child.
Director Benjamin Caron and Paul Whittington use a lot of personifications to imply the mood. For instance, a wounded stag shown calling out on a full moon night throws light on how Prince Charles is hurt, as he’s unable to marry Camilla, and is very confused about marrying Lady Diana. When the stag is hunted down by the Duke and Lady Diana, it signifies the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the Windsor family. Margret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) has been shown as a very strong woman. At first she is in awe of the Queen, but as the episodes progress, things go downhill between ‘two menopausal women running the shop’ (so says Thatcher’s husband Denis Thatcher, played by Stephen Boxer).
The lights, makeup, costumes redefine accuracy. In this Peter Morgan has explored the inside story of the Royals wonderfully. His opinions of the Royals have not tainted the beauty of the show. However, Lady Diana’s story has been cleverly ambushed by focusing on Margret Thatcher’s ruthless politics. Overall this is a very well-made, prolific season, that will go down in the history of filmmaking.
Tile: The Crown (Season 4)
Number of episodes: 10 episodes (50 mins. Each approximately)
Cast: Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O’Connor, Marion Bailey, Erin Doherty, Stephen Boxer, Emerald Fennell, Gillian Anderson, and Emma Corrin
Director: Benjamin Caron and Paul Whittington
Writer: Peter Morgan