The Crown: Margaretology
November 19, 2019 6:07 AM - Season 3, Episode 2 - Subscribe

While Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon visit the USA, the queen, at the bidding of Harold Wilson, asks them to make a side trip to Washington, D.C. to ask President Johnson for financial assistance for the United Kingdom.
posted by Cash4Lead (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed this episode greatly, but was disappointed when I did a little Googling afterward and found that most of the episode seems to have been completely made up? Or at least, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon did visit the US, but received mostly bad press. And they did visit the White House, but it doesn't seem to have been what lead to the US approval of the "bailout".
posted by peacheater at 6:40 AM on November 19, 2019 [9 favorites]

Oh, that's a shame -- though of a piece with their coverage of Margaret, re the "you can't marry the guy" from S1, when Elizabeth actually (and more interestingly) brokered a deal where she could, if she gave up certain things, and Margaret decided not to.
posted by jeather at 6:49 AM on November 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

That is disappointing. I know there's a lot of creative license on the show but I was really enjoying the story of Margaret shining and succeeding in a way that only she and no one else could have. Still a great episode, though.
posted by acidnova at 12:56 PM on November 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

I have such mixed feelings about how the The Crown makes shit up to juice the story, it ruins episodes like this for me because I wonder how much of the major plot point is remotely true. I both wanted to believe but also felt like surely I would have heard of this piece of history?

But maybe the reality is that these people are boring or lack redeeming qualities enough irl that we wouldn't want to watch? It's something I've been wondering--is this show giving these characters an interiority that they lack as irl humans? These recent Lainey Gossip posts about Prince Andrew don't really help.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:35 PM on November 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I think the show must have very interesting writers meetings. There appears to be one faction who are fans of meticulous re-creations of historic detail (even at great cost in production terms) and another who are more "fuck it - let's make up something interesting and truthy sounding".

The underlying themes do sound convincing to me even if the details are fabricated: the tension between the queen and her sister over power and responsibility versus freedom of expression. Also the pressure exerted on the royals to impress American presidents (I feel positive such a pressure will have been re-applied to them in since 2016).

Observing the writers seem pressured to fabricate - even when they are working with the apparently dream source material of a family who have met pretty much every interesting person and become involved with so many significant events - does highlight the tendency of the Windsors to be a bit boring. Shooting parties, horses, corgis and waving at crowds for decades on end. I am sure Prince Philip's speech to Elizabeth on the subject of dullness must have been heartfelt in the writers room. Diana Spencer was still playing with sand at this point.
posted by rongorongo at 1:05 AM on November 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

So... real life is less interesting than fiction? This has profound implications for learning about history through dramatic re-creations.
posted by amtho at 7:40 AM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just read the article on her visit; interesting to see the truer side of it. The drinking and limerick contests were lovely, though I assumed completely made up. I wish I were a fly on the wall when they went with the "never nude" limerick.

I'm sure they are less insecure than portrayed, but I do love Helena Bonham Carter this season. Loved her in The King's Speech, too.

But the costumes are lovely and I look forward to some focus on the older children sometime soon.

It's somewhat fan fiction with a budget, perhaps?
posted by tilde at 3:37 PM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I was happy to see the return of Tommy—even if just in a flashback. He is arguably my favorite character in the show.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:22 PM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

My only thing is that Margaret was only in her late 30s in this stretch of time covered by at least the early part of this season. And while I loooooove HBC, she comes off as at least a decade older than that.
posted by dry white toast at 2:52 PM on November 25, 2019

Did anyone else think that the actor playing President Johnson was glaringly bad? Physically he did well, but the accent made my ears bleed. And the band playing "God Save the Queen" at the White House sounded like middle schoolers (sorry, middle schoolers, you probably sound better than that). Was this done so badly on purpose, to convey the snooty Brits' sense of superiority over those crass Americans?

Otherwise, the episode was delightful. No hard feelings.
posted by Corvid at 7:26 PM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yes it was good to see Tommy again, especially since it took so long for me to realise that he was in Poldark as well, a minor role and he couldn't do much with it, sadly.

Looks like we're in for a dull clothing stretch but my god, those American cars make up for it. They're the size of boats.

My favorite scene was Philip explaining to the queen why Margaret couldn't take on a larger role (if only she'd remembered that and applied it to her own son) and the next one with Margaret waiting on the lawn and the look on both their faces. As good as HBC is in the role, Margaret is just not an interesting character from here on, not even with the upcoming "Roddy the gardener" scandal.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:05 PM on December 20, 2019

Well, this was (mostly) fun! I only wish it was real! Explains a lot about how LBJ never met the queen and instead hung out with "the fun one."

Making Wilson have to recite dirty limericks to the Queen's face was comedy gold. And everything about Margaret + LBJ.

Of course there's a urinal scene. Of course there is.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:03 PM on June 8, 2021

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