It’s no secret that Netflix’s The Crown has caused controversy since its first release in 2016 - but with the release of series 5 on the 9th November, especially considering it was set in the 1990s - a decade full of controversy and drama for the royal family, suddenly interest has peaked again.
Admittedly, I was rather late to the scene when it came to this show - I’d tried to watch it when it came out, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea. However, earlier this year, after having gained an interest in history, my mother and I sat down to watch series 1-4 together.
We absolutely loved the first four series, as period drama fans and as keen historians, especially considering the star-studded cast - and their performances did not disappoint. So, of course, after being stuck on what new show to start together for a while, the release of series 5 excited us.
The cast itself did not disappoint: Imelda Staunton is an absolutely amazing actress, Dominic West did a brilliant job capturing the speech patterns and emotions of the (then) Prince of Wales, and every single actor’s range of emotion is shown clearly with the assistance of many tense scenes.
The music, as always with The Crown, is outstanding. This is one of the shows where you absolutely cannot skip the intro, as it’s absolutely beautiful to listen to (not to mention the stunning visuals).
The show itself, though, I found a little disappointing. We were often bored during the first half, more interested in our phones than the events taking place on screen. The drama had picked up by about episode 5 onwards, most of it focusing on the dissolution of the marriage between Charles and Diana. This had a few inaccuracies, however (according to my mother, who remembers watching the Panorama interview and the fallout afterwards), and therefore confused us.
Throughout the series the Senior Royals, especially the older ones, come across as out of touch and entitled (especially when discussing the future of the royal yacht, HMY Britannia) and their conversations just aren’t as interesting as they had been before. Diana is severely lacking in character, the show ending in July 1997 and there being absolutely no mention of her incredibly important charity work.
A particular favourite episode of mine is episode 4, Annus Horribilis, in which Princess Margaret reunites with her ex-fiance, Peter Townsend. The story between the two is communicated sensitively and emotionally, and becomes a real highlight, despite Princess Margaret not having much of a role in this series.
The Crown will always be controversial for many reasons, but all in all it is worth watching. While series 5 was a bit of a letdown, it told a story that is still being talked about thirty years later, one that is difficult to do justice, and deserves credit for it.