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The Crown S1E8: Pride & Joy

Duty Queen

Spoiler Alert: the title of the episode refers to Papa’s nicknames for his two daughters. Elizabeth was his pride and Margaret his joy; both resented the other for being only one side of the royal coin; Pride & Joy highlights the moment when the two incarnations of Windsorness, the head of the Empire and her volubile deputy, clash on what is expected from the Crown. The episode manages to pack together the span of 23 weeks while distorting time in such a manner that no time passes in what feels like so many years of stately boredom.

Reviewing her modest wardrobe for her first Commonwealth Tour as a monarch, Elizabeth Regina feels 100 dresses and 50 pairs of shoes a little wee bit too many, but it’s Sir Winston’s orders that she compensates with questionable fashion every inch of influence the Empire has lost since the previous edition of such a courtesy to British colonies. India, see, is in unrest. She goes through the ordeal of protocol with her royal chin up, to the point of having the 50’s equivalent of Botox injections to soothe her inflamated zygomatic muscles. The burden of the Crown has to remain invisible to the masses when the Queen appears to her adoring subjects. Elizabeth is indeed a trooper.

Meanwhile, Prince Philip is being his usual rainmaker on his wife’s parade, calling the whole enterprise a “pantomime” and “a coat of paint”. Vested by the power of the writer, he’s once again gifted with an uncanny foresight which seems even more far-fatched after we were hit by the news that the second season will further develop his character. It’s becoming pretty obvious by now that Prince Philip is far more interesting to Peter Morgan than the Queen. The Crown slowly asserts itself as an elaborate – and pretty expensive – fan fiction on the most unlikely of subject: His Royal Highness the Duke of Edimburgh.

Sir Winston scoffs at Princess Margaret being quite the show girl. She enjoys a bit too much sporting tiaras in order to have good ol’fun at the Ambassador diner, or being politically incorrect on TV during a comical bout of coal mining. It’s still the 50s though, and the Press a national lapdog, so the order of things is restored when the Queen comes back from the Antipods and sternly reprimands her sister. She then resumes her duties in lonely Buckingham Palace after a mere glimpse of The Royal Rejects.

Wearing an hideous Barbour, Queen Mum galumphs at the end of the known world, namely a Scottish beach, more in chagrin of having lost the Crown than from any mourning of her dead husband. Some delicious quiproquo with a Scottish gentleman ensues. The ludicrousness of this segment alone is worth watching the episode. It gives an unexpected insight on the fact that if the Queen of England is so wealthy, it’s also because the Windsors are ruthless real estate negociators. Spoken, of course, like a real Scottswoman!

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