The Crown season 4 review


photo via Town and Country Magazine

Royalty, scandal and powerful women: three of my favorite topics. The Netflix hit series The Crown has recently released a fourth season that prompts intrigue and centers on this trio. 

The first three seasons of The Crown cover English politics and the rise and rule of Queen Elizabeth II, spanning from 1947 to 1955, 1956 to 1964 and 1964 to 1977, respectively. Season four starts off right in the heat of the action, beginning in the year 1979 and ending in 1990.

During this fourth season, the show introduces two new characters, prominent women who essentially define the next decade of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign: the Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer and the first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

In terms of political drama, all the major events from Thatcher’s reign as prime minister are covered. The IRA attacks, a royal assassination, Britain’s rocky relationship with South Africa and the Falklands War take prominent roles. The unprecedented friction between Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, specifically the tumultuous relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Thatcher, is also detailed, culminating in Thatcher’s ousting by her very own Cabinet in 1990.

Within the royal family itself, Prince Charles’ initial courtship of Diana Spencer and their imminent wedding, followed by the speedy deterioration of the marriage, is a central conflict of the new season. The couple’s polarizing tour of Australia in 1983 and Diana’s solo tour of New York City in 1989 are highlighted as significant breaking points within the marriage. The producers certainly didn’t hold back on portraying the royals as villains when necessary, with Charles’ more monstrous side coming out as the season progresses. 

While in previous seasons he was portrayed as an independent, progressive young man, the new episodes show Charles in a different light. His intense affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles and absolute devotion to her is unpacked, and the detailed depiction of his relationship with Diana shatters any notion of a royal fairy tale. 

Season four of The Crown also delves into the topic of mental health, specifically focusing on Princess Diana and Princess Margaret, sister to the queen. The effects of a loveless family and verbally abusive husband manifest in Diana’s ongoing battle with an eating disorder and severe depression and Margaret seeks therapy as she struggles with her mental health. 

If you’re secretly a history nerd but don’t enjoy the bore of biographies, I highly recommend The Crown. Watching historically-based drama unfold on-screen is highly intriguing, with season four of this show delving into the secrets behind renowned royal icons.