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The Crown season four review

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that when The Crown season four was released on Netflix on Sunday 15 November, I was ready and waiting. 

Olivia Coleman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty reprise their roles and bring another layer of depth to the royals. Navigating marriage, parenthood, family and duty, the dynasty faces another series of unfortunate events. This season saw the introduction of two highly anticipated characters, prime minister Margaret Thatcher played by Gillian Anderson and Diana, the Princess of Wales, played by Emma Corrin. I was excited about these characters; both iconic women of their time, I was keen to see how they would be portrayed. 

In short, both Anderson and Corrin are fantastic. The actresses allow viewers to see the characters in a new light – Margaret not just as a politician, but also as a mother and a wife fighting in a male-dominated world. Gillian Anderson remains stoic and brazen and reminds us all precisely why Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady. Emma Corrin behind her role with the early life of Diana, and examines how she was a kind-hearted, compassionate and relatable woman. Brilliant scenes such as when she rollerblades through the palace whilst listening to “Girls on Film” by Duran Duran in her pink and white checked trousers tells you everything you need to know about the type of person she was. Refusing to shy from controversy, The Crown shows her vulnerability through her struggle with an eating disorder and how even a future princess has her own battles. The writers succeed in highlighting just how young Diana was, and by the end of season four, I had come to despise Prince Charles for how he treated her. 

Few historical dramas can rival the astonishing attention to detail exhibited in each season of The Crown, and this time around is no different. Many of the iconic outfits from the time were recreated in such a way that made the characters seem that much more real. The costumes of the cast are remarkable, and the show spared no expense (apart from Diana’s hair, that could have been WAY better). Not only is it always fun to see the various gowns and tiaras that are worn for different events, but they help bring the 20th century to life. We eagerly anticipate the dramatic unwinding of Diana and Charles’ unhappy relationship, and the iconic ‘revenge dress’ that is synonymous with this chapter of British history.

For many, the knowledge of the royal family before the ‘Diana-era’ is not familiar ground, and the show is great at exposing what was going on in the other members’ lives whilst retaining it’s dramatic edge. Lord Mountbatten’s death as a result of an IRA bomb is a moment that is as educational as it is deeply troubling. My only critique of this season was that certain things are excluded from the narrative, most notably the life of Princess Anne, whose dramatic attempted kidnapping attempt, wherein she reportedly quipped to the gunman that his success was “not bloody likely”, has still not been given a moment of screen time.

Yet such criticism is overly harsh. If the show is to explore the trials and tribulations of historical figures, certain aspects will have to be omitted or each instalment would be overly long and drawn out beyond what is possible. No matter how broad or narrow it is in scope, this season of The Crown is incredible, with gripping depictions of the turbulent relationship between Diana and Charles that draws you in and leaves you wanting to know more. Bring on season five!

Illustration: Katie Moore