There are 8 days left for The Crown‘s release, and many of the facts we anticipate seeing are confirmed.
The Fire at Windsor Castle
Very obvious, just like the Annus Horribilis speech, the BBC interview… we know the list. But the Windsor fire in 1992 is the first image of the trailer because it symbolizes many things, among others like the reign of Elizabeth II “catches on fire” and going to ashes with the unhappy marriages of her three children, all involved with scandals ( Charles and Diana being, of course, larger).
The damage from the fire was enormous – it destroyed 115 rooms – and resulted in incredible changes, such as the opening of Buckingham Palace to the public to help fund repairs to Windsor Castle, just as Queen Elizabeth began paying taxes on her income.
The speech of the “annus horribilis”
“1992 is not a year I will look back on with pure pleasure,” the Queen said in her speech. “In the words of one of my nicest correspondents, it turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’. I suspect I’m not the only one who thinks so,” she continued in her speech to Parliament.
It was the year of Anne, Charles, and Andrew’s separations, the fire, and the publication of Diana’s biography Diana: Her True Story, which at the time was considered “without authorization, but with so much detail that the source was undeniable. It was also the year of Elizabeth II’s Ruby Jubilee, completing 40 years with the crown. Thirty years later, when she turned 70 as Queen, she was not much different in the face of scandals in the Royal Family. It will be interesting to see the seed being planted…
The official separation
Season 4 ended with Princess Diana bereft, disappointed, and tired of fighting alone to make her marriage work. It was still the late 1980s. As we entered the 1990s, the veiled war between the couple was more than obvious, despite the photos and appearances at social events. Mutual infidelities made the news. In 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the separation of Charles and Diana, but the divorce would not come until four years later, as a result of the famous interview with the princess with the BBC.
John Major as Prime Minister
Every season of The Crown also focuses on the Prime Ministers. After 11 years in office, Margaret Thatcher was replaced by John Major in 1990. Played by Jonny Lee Miller, we will see the political difficulties of the time, with economic recession and the defeat of the Conservative Party in 1997, when Major was replaced by Tony Blair, who should also be featured this season.
Diana: book, revenge dress, Hasnat Khan, Dodi Al Fayed, and the interview
The 1990s news related to the Royal Family was 90% Diana-related. We will see how he recorded interviews for Andrew Morton to write the biography, how his friendship and connection with the Al Fayed family grew, yes, “the dress of revenge” and his romance with the surgeon Hasnat Khan. We will end the season when she starts dating Dodi Al Fayed.
The dress will be a response to Charles’ interview with the BBC before hers, in which he admitted to everyone that he had an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, but claimed to have tried to save his marriage to Diana. This was after recordings between Charles and Camilla were leaked to the press (yes, the famous “buffer” dialogue will be played back) and the princess was so outraged that she decided to give her version of the facts.
Today we know that Martin Bashir forged documents to feed some suspicions of Diana – all unfounded – generating a new controversy over the event. Given its impact on what happened next, it was inevitable.
Elizabeth II’s Official Travels, Flashbacks, and Philip’s Novel
Elizabeth II‘s trip to Russia in 1994 should feature in the season. As well as the prince’s friendship with Penelope Knatchbull, which for many years was suggested as an accepted romance for Elizabeth.
Another official trip that will enter the season is the Queen’s visit to Scotland on the occasion of the celebration of 400 years of the Commonwealth, also known as the union of the Crowns.
The traditional Ghillies’ Ball will also feature in this season, most likely opening the story as it was in 1991 (right after we were left off) and it was “the last” ball with the whole family.
In the 6th season, there will also be a flashback of the Queen to the end of WWII, when she and Princess Margaret were allowed to celebrate (in disguise), along with the happy populace. Another fact that should appear in the season is Margaret’s struggle with cancer and alcoholism, which began in the early 1990s and culminated in her death in 2002.
Adolescent William, in the midst of his parents’ quarrels
The pre-adolescence of the future King was marked by the worst period of his parent’s marriage, with scandals and many fights, where he ends up being his mother’s adviser. Those who have seen the series say that its portrayal, however, is not very friendly…
Diana’s death does not enter season 5 of The Crown. From the footage of the recordings, the accident in Paris should open season 6, so we will still have a lot of controversies ahead.