Warning: This article contains spoilers from season 4 of the Netflix series ‘The Crown.’ If you have not caught up with it yet, I suggest you to skip this review.
When The Crown first revealed its trailer for season four, fans of the show were rightfully excited to see the new additions of the ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana. And since its release last November 15, it has garnered rave reviews from viewers and critics alike–even earning it a 97% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rightfully so, this season featured a number of amazing sequences, storylines, and even dialogue that hooked a fan like me deeper into the show. And to further prove this point, I’ve listed down 10 scenes that I believe made this season the Netflix show’s best so far.
Diana’s first encounter with Charles
From the first few minutes of this season, viewers were treated to a scene Diana fans have all been waiting for–the moment Charles first meets the ‘People’s Princess’.
In a mysterious yet very endearing fashion, Diana crosses paths with the Prince of Wales while in costume at her home. And it is in this scene, we saw the initial chemistry the two shared–setting up the stage for what would lead to a whirlwind romance between the two.
The death of Louis Mountbatten
The death of Louis Mountbatten, or “Uncle Dickie” as Charles and Philip would refer to him, was pivotal to the show as it not only pushed Charles to finally find a “suitable wife” but it also showed the growing tensions brewing between the monarchy and the The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA).
This later set the precedent for the series to further show the growing tensions between the British royal establishment and its Commonwealth nations during this period.
Diana meets Camilla Parker-Bowles after her announced engagement to Charles
After the “Balmoral test” that Diana had to face in episode 2 of the series, she was welcomed and accepted by the royal family as a suitable bride for the future king. So, episode 3 showed her engagement to the Prince of Wales and how she went from an excited fiancé to a woman questioning her relationship with the monarch.
It further didn’t help that when the Prince had to leave for a royal engagement, she was left alone at the palace with no one to talk to or confide in about her worries. And when she takes up the offer to meet Charles’s ex Camilla Parker-Bowles, Diana realizes that she not only knows very little about her fiance, but she also discovers that another woman holds her husband’s heart and attention.
This scene was essential to the series because it cemented doubt in Diana’s mind about her upcoming nuptials.
Michael Fagan’s conversation with the Queen during his break-in of Kensington Palace
The Michael Fagan story was something I applaud the show creators for doing. Because although Thatcher did win the war for the Falkland islands, the whole ordeal did bring problems to the British economy. And the story of Michael Fagan is proof that there are casualties to endeavours like these.
The episode followed Michael Fagan as he struggled to find work and get custody of his children, amidst the rising poverty in Britain. Desperate and seemingly hopeless, Fagan addresses his frustrations over Thatcher’s actions by breaking into the palace and speaking to the Queen of England in her own room.
This particular scene was important because it was the first time the Queen questioned Margaret Thatcher’s decisions as the head of parliament–an event which would hint at the growing rift between the two female leaders.
Moreover, the whole dialogue between the Queen and Fagan was brilliant in highlighting the disparity between the two individuals and it made the monarch herself question the status of the country during this very trying time.
Diana and Charles talk about Camilla whilst on tour in Australia
This scene was vital as it was the first time we’ve ever heard Charles tell Diana that he loved her. The sequence of events that followed showed the Prince of Wales initially enamoured by his wife, but only later to get jealous of her growing popularity among the people.
At this point, viewers got the sense that it was just the beginning of the end for this royal couple.
Princess Margaret finds out the truth about her Bowes-Lyon cousins
Everyone has skeletons in their closet and members of the Royal Family are no different. And in the episode called ‘The Hereditary Principle’, we see that the palace went to great lengths to hide their cousins with special needs.
It showed how far the royal family will go to maintain their “untainted” and “perfect” image.
The Queen awards Margaret Thatcher with The Order of Merit
After the Fagan episode, it was clear that the Queen and Margaret Thatcher disagreed on a number of things during female Prime Minister’s 11-year run in office.
But despite their different stances on certain issues, the Queen still respected the Iron Lady’s work in government and even awarded her The Order of Merit in the final episode of the series.
Princess Diana hugs a child diagnosed with AIDS in New York
During her first tour alone in New York City, Diana made waves in the American community as the beautiful and charismatic princess. And her popularity grew even more when she was pictured hugging a child diagnosed with AIDS–an act that was so crucial at the time since AIDS was thought to be contagious.
This particular event cemented her title as the ‘People’s Princess’ in the eyes of world.
Charles blows up after Diana returns from her tour of New York
Following her successful trip to the United States, Camilla realizes that even when Charles separates from Diana, she will always be secondary to the Princess of Wales. Seeing his beloved hurt by this, Charles confronts Diana in an explosive scene, wherein he tells Diana that he thinks only of Camilla “morning, noon, and night.”
What made this moment so captivating was Josh O’ Connor and Emma Corrin’s acting in this confrontation. You could sense the tension between the characters and can even feel the emotions they are going through as the scene played out.
Truth be told, these two young actors made this season definitely worth the watch, especially O’ Connor, whose portrayal of Charles made me sympathize for a prince who will not only never live up to his mother and father’s expectations but who also felt locked in a marriage he can never get out of.
Prince Philip speaks to Diana
What I liked about this scene was the fact that they showed the special relationship between Diana and Prince Philip. In real life, the Princess of Wales shared a special bond with her father-in-law even while her marriage to Prince Charles was slowly coming to an end.
Furthermore, this conversation hinted at the difficulties Diana will face in the later seasons as she starts to break ties with the royal family and ventures out on her own.
Overall, this season was exciting from start to finish and had me hooked throughout its run.
And with regards to the anti-Charles bias the show is accused of–I want to say that I do agree with streaming platform’s statement that although the story was based on real-life people, it is a historical fiction. And much like other shows of this genre–like Medici or Reign–a lot of the real-life events have been altered to make for an interesting storyline.
Given this, I do advise people who also love watching the show to not take everything there as fact.
Viewers can watch the fourth season of The Crown on Netflix.
*NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other streaming platform or program. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of the show.
If you want to stay updated on my latest articles and stories, you can follow me on social media at Facebook.com/CMilitarWrites