After discovering the recasting of the Crown on Netflix, many fans, including myself, were either delighted or anxious about how the brand new set of actors would portray the Royal Family. The answer: brilliantly. The fact that it now stars two GDST alumnae was a minor thought as I binged through 10 episodes, and became so engrossed I finished the series wondering what it would take to become a royal (for those interested: quite a lot), and became lost in the labyrinth that is YouTube, watching interviews with Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies, as well as Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty, ending somehow with a five-minute crafts video (not so important for your viewing of the Crown).
One huge success of this season would be the likeness between Claire Foy and Olivia Coleman’s voice, when they portray Her Majesty. The similarity was incredible and for a split second I did wonder whether the recasting had been a very well executed reddit-ruse. Season 3 starts with Queen Elizabeth, now in the mid-sixties, looking at two stamps, one of herself as a young Queen (Foy) and as her current self (Coleman). I felt it was a nice bridge between the two casts and a quick, yet somehow in-depth scene, exploring new ideas of how the Queen had changed over the small amount of time that we had missed, other than, of course, physically.
Another triumph from Season 3 would be the chemistry between the cast. Focusing less on the relationship between Prince Philip and the Queen as a married couple, we now see development of the connection between Princess Margaret and the Queen instead. Helena Bonham-Carter and Olivia Coleman’s chemistry was immense, and the tension between the two sisters was portrayed wonderfully. We see Princess Margaret feeling overlooked and neglected, as she lacks royal duties. A holiday to America quickly changes to a political mission (not a spoiler) and we see the relationship between the sisters develop.
Throughout the series as ever, we see how the Royal Family, and the Prime Minister, deal with issues that happened in that era. I found interest in Episode 3 in the disaster of a mining slag heap collapsing on the small,Welsh village of Aberfan. Personally, I have always found that this show enlightens the viewers to the feelings of the Queen and her family, and I enjoyed seeing her response to this disaster in particular, as well as learning more about Aberfan itself.
Fear not, however, as this season has a bit of everything in there: love triangles (or in some cases squares), but also a variety of drama, with an underlying sincerity as the audience see deeper into the functioning of the Royal Family, following them through the swinging sixties. It is probable that many people find it difficult to relate to the Royals as they are in such a unique position, but I think a mention to the actors playing the newer royals is very much needed, as they seemed to create a relatability to the Windsor family.
I first came across Josh O’Connor as Larry in ITV’s the Durrells and found his portrayal very funny and was desperate to see this up and coming actor in more films. As a result, I watched the Riot Club, another of O’Connor’s projects, and quickly became a fan, as I watched his appearance in the TV version of Les Misérables, as well. Upon hearing about his new role in Season 3 of the Crown, I became excited to see his acting skills flourish in the role of the Prince of Wales. Many a heartfelt scene in Season 3, the audience grow to sympathise with Charles, especially in his inauguration speech, and I think this is due to excellent writing but also O’Connor’s excellent portrayal, as he captures all the supposed traits of Prince Charles. Adding to this, another actress who deserves a mention would be Erin Doherty as Princess Anne. The last two seasons of the Crown had never properly focused on the Queen’s children, let alone the young princess, but Season 3 was the time for a change, which was executed perfectly. Doherty’s performance as the private and defiant princess was superb, and she quickly became my favourite character. The chemistry between her and O’Connor as siblings, but also friends, was terrific, and their combined roles have caused much anticipation among many families, especially mine, as we wait to see what will happen next between the two siblings.
If you take nothing from this review but a desire to watch the trailers for the show, my job will be done, as I think you will instantly be hooked. This brilliant show deserves many a positive review, but whilst watching it, it is important to remember that it is a dramatization, and not everything is quite as it seems, as with most docu-dramas. A quick disclaimer, if you’re in Upper Five and are wanting to start your viewing of all three seasons of the Crown, maybe wait until after mocks, because I can assure you it will be difficult to get any revision done.
Image Link: https://tommygirard.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/the-crown-season-3-poster.jpg (20/02/21)