The Crown: Fairytale
November 17, 2020 9:47 PM - Season 4, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Diana accepts a proposal, and we all know how this fairytale ends.
posted by nubs (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Last season, I almost swore off the show because I couldn't stand what I felt was an increasingly sympathetic portrayal of Chuck. Now it feels like the show is reminding us that whatever else Charles is, he is still part of the freak show that is the royal family, one that destroys happiness. Him standing there chuckling at Diana's awkward, out of place entrance, instead of being the one to escort her into the room and through the challenge...ghastly.

I had no clue how little courtship there was, nor how little Chuck and Diana knew each other going into this. I give the show credit for not buying into the "fairytale romance" angle that this marriage was portrayed as at the time, and leaning into the fact that we all know that however this began, the story ends in tragedy.

I still think casting Helena Bonham Carter as Margaret was a great choice, and she was there in spades for this episode, from her huffiness over Diana's entrance at dinner to her laying down the truth after the rehearsal. And Emerald Fennel did a great job as Camilla, with a completely catty lunch date. "all for sharing!"
posted by nubs at 9:56 PM on November 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

I had no clue how little courtship there was, nor how little Chuck and Diana knew each other going into this.
I believe that their wedding day was just the thirteenth time the couple had met each other. We hear Camilla reel off a list of practically every one of those occasions.

Choosing to depict the rehearsal for the wedding (and the strangely anticipatory fireworks) rather than the event itself, was a great decision, I think.

Strange not to see any appearance from Andrew or Edward in these last 2 episodes.
posted by rongorongo at 10:14 PM on November 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

I was only dimly aware of Diana's experience with an eating disorder prior to seeing this episode and I was surprised to learn that it had begun so early. I had mistakenly believed that the misery of her marriage and the consequences of that had happened later. I didn't realize she was already so miserable during her engagement. More than anything else, Diana's story is probably the most emotionally difficult storyline to follow as there are so many ways the tragedies could have been avoided. It didn't have to be inevitable but watching a dramatized version means lurching towards that historic inevitability. I'm only a year older than William so I don't remember this part of the story firsthand, but I remember her death very well.
posted by NotTheRedBaron at 11:36 PM on November 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

That dress just looks like a prison now.
posted by tzikeh at 8:04 PM on November 18, 2020 [6 favorites]

There is a nice cameo appearance from a mouse in this episode. Cats, with their lack of loyalty and tendency to exude an air of natural superiority to their owners, have never been popular royal pets.
posted by rongorongo at 1:40 AM on November 19, 2020 [5 favorites]

I don't understand why Diana didn't end the engagement. Yes, the Queen and Charles refused to have an audience with her to discuss the issue, but she still should have left after she found out about the bracelet, probably before the rehearsal. It's hard and sad but people end engagements all the time.
posted by all about eevee at 7:06 AM on November 19, 2020

Well, as her sisters said at the time, her face was on all the tea towels. I think at age 19 the ability to back out of THAT BIG a machine just wasn't seen as an option--the hullaballoo it would cause right then would dwarf the thought of years of drawn-out low-key misery.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:06 PM on November 19, 2020 [12 favorites]

Your face being on some tea towels is not a good enough reason to sign up for a lifetime of suffering. Neither is being Queen of England.
posted by all about eevee at 1:17 PM on November 19, 2020

Yeah, I made some bad decisions at 19, too. I thought I was in lurrrrrve. Luckily, the guy I was in lurrrrve with was not the future King of England, and I did not have his family or my family acting like us getting together was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

There's a whole industry devoted to convincing teen girls that "your love will change him!!!!" And when middle-aged reporters are spouting drivel like "Oooh, how are you going to decorate your new house?" without pointing out that your fiancé picked bought it because it's next door to his mistress (you're fooling no one, Charlie), it's hard to blame an adolescent who is too scared to jump off the crazy train.

I'm just so struck in this episode by how young Diana was. And how no one, but no one, was looking out for her interests. Or maybe they convinced themselves that being Queen of England was in her interest. Even her grandmother, who literally ties her hands with the most anvilicious piece of rope in film history.

The Queen Mother's emphatic "that's how it always is" (in ref to Camilla as not-so-secret royal mistress) made me wonder -- did George VI have an affair too?
posted by basalganglia at 5:12 PM on November 19, 2020 [7 favorites]

well, camilla is famously descendant of alice keppel, mistress of... i can't remember the numbering, one of the edwards, charles's great2-grandad.
posted by cendawanita at 4:52 AM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

The Queen Mother's emphatic "that's how it always is" (in ref to Camilla as not-so-secret royal mistress) made me wonder -- did George VI have an affair too?

I don't know, but I do think that there was a long-standing practice of it in royal marriages in Europe; you married for the politics, and found love where you could.
posted by nubs at 9:56 AM on November 20, 2020

There is (or was) a video on YouTube released fairly recently, of Diana speaking with her voice coach, something to do with learning to give better speeches but in actuality, just a long gossip session. She related the story of Charles’ courtship and while they had met on x number of occasions, they’d actually only been alone, one on one, about five times before the wedding.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:33 PM on November 21, 2020

I wish they’d gone rogue like they have in some prior episodes. Instead of pleading for someone to talk to her about how disastrous the marriage will be, Diana packs her bags, leaves the palace, sells a salacious (and true) story to the highest bidder, and lives happily ever after.
posted by bunderful at 10:37 AM on September 20, 2022

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