Season 4 of “The Crown” could be divided into two parts where, on the one hand, we are made privy to the socio-political environment of the nation and, on the other hand, we come to know about the reality of life inside the glossy walls of Buckingham Palace. The season focuses on the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher and the impact she had on the country. It focuses on her ideologies, which came to be known as Thatcherism, and the changes she wanted to make in the system. We also get to know about the controversial relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. After watching the entire season 4, we realize that democracy is but a mirage, and as long as one nurtures that illusion, the concept survives. So, let’s skim through the important developments of season 4 of “The Crown” and try to ascertain the motivation and intent of those involved.
Margaret Thatcher And Her Relationship With Queen Elizabeth
Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Queen Elizabeth was somewhere looking forward to seeing what changes she was about to bring. Thatcher had never thought that the Queen would take so much interest in political matters and she had a very different perspective of her. The Queen always liked to guess the names of the politicians who would be in the cabinet. Thatcher was surprised to see that her guesswork was backed up by thorough research and understanding. It was the inception of an association that was marked by mutual respect and admiration.
In 1982, Argentina had occupied the Falkland Islands, and Thatcher wanted to wage war because she felt that the United Kingdom was justified in doing so. The cabinet was against the decision, and they believed that a country that was already facing an economic crisis couldn’t afford to spend billions of pounds on a war. Moreover, the diplomatic channels were still open, which added onto their reluctance. But Thatcher was a force of nature. She was stubborn and headstrong. The United Kingdom won the war, and the people came to know that after a long time, they had a Prime Minister who was not only opinionated but was also adamant about bringing about a change in the entire setup.
In the 8th episode of “The Crown,” we witness that in the mid-1980s, the leaders of 49 nations wanted to put economic sanctions on the apartheid government of South Africa. Forty-eight nations agreed, but Margaret Thatcher was not ready to sign the memorandum. The Africans had been victims of institutionalized racial segregation, and the world was on their side and supporting their cause. But Thatcher believed that it wouldn’t serve the best interests of the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth was not happy with Thatcher’s stance. She wanted her to put sanctions in place and stand against racial discrimination. Queen Elizabeth was so annoyed with Thatcher’s stubbornness that she decided to make the world privy to her stance and how she stood at loggerheads with the Prime Minister.
In 1986, the Sunday Times printed the news, and as shown in the series “The Crown,” it was all in accordance with the whims and fancies of the Queen. It created a rift between Thatcher and the Queen, and the scandalous scoop became the talk of the town.
Geoffrey Howe, who served as the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs and then as the Deputy Prime Minister, resigned in 1990. He gave an explosive speech in the House of Commons and questioned the leadership of Margaret Thatcher. More and more ministers started speaking against her. Thatcher was not only fighting the opposition but also the internal rebellion where people from her own party had gone against her. Thatcher fought as long as she could. She even tried to dissolve the parliament but eventually resigned from her position as she realized that there was no way out of it. She met Queen Elizabeth after she had given her resignation. Elizabeth honored her with the “Order of Merit.” She recognized the exceptionally meritorious service of Margaret Thatcher. The Queen didn’t fail to remind the ex-prime minister that the Order of Merit was limited to just 24 recipients. It said a lot about how Queen Elizabeth felt about Margaret Thatcher. The Queen respected Margaret Thatcher and her boldness. She acknowledged the fact that it was not easy to reach where she had. They were both strong-headed women who, at times, did not agree with each other, but that was the nature of the job, and it didn’t come in the way of the admiration and respect they had for one another.
What Happened To Prince Charles And Princess Diana In ‘The Crown’ Season 4?
The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester (and now the King), Charles Philip Arthur George, termed his relationship with Lady Diana as a “calamity,” and we couldn’t agree more. Season 4 of “The Crown” takes us back to the time when a young Charles was intrigued by the peculiar-looking younger sister of his friend Sarah Spencer. The irony was that Sarah and Charles were involved in a romantic relationship for a short period of time, and then he developed a liking for her younger sister and started dating her eventually. Charles asked Sarah if she would have any problems if he had a relationship with Diana. Sarah was a bit taken aback but obviously didn’t protest the idea. Charles was a complicated man, and he should have known better about his situation before asking Diana to be his wedded wife. Diana was a free-spirited and charming girl who had always believed that she was meant for greatness. Her friends called her duchess, and Diana resided in a land of fairy tales. Fairy tales generally tell us about the events that lead to marriage but leave us stranded after that. It was a fairy tale until the time Diana stepped into Buckingham Palace. After she got privy to the reality, she realized that hidden behind its grandeur were these crevasses that were widening with every passing day. Diana got to know about the intimate bond that Charles shared with his ex-flare Camilla Parker. Charles and Camilla Parker were constantly in touch, even after Diana came into the picture. The thing was, Charles and Camilla believed quite strongly that there was nothing wrong with having so much involvement in each other’s life. Call it naivety or delusion, Charles had presumed that his wife wouldn’t have any problem with him talking to Camilla every other day. Before leaving for his tour, Charles told Diana to get in touch with Camilla Parker if she ever felt lonely or bored in the palace. Diana wasn’t able to understand why somebody would do that. She wanted to meet Camilla in person. She wanted to find out about the nature of the relationship she shared with her husband. Diana met Camilla Parker, and instead of resolving her issues, it made her even more insecure. Camilla knew everything about Charles. She knew the most intimate details, and Diana felt like she was the third wheel. She didn’t understand what she was doing with a man who was clearly meant to be with another woman. If Charles had stopped at this moment also, things would have been under control. But obviously, it didn’t stop there because Charles just refused to accept reality and understand basic human psychology. Diana was the only person who had passed the Balmoral test and everybody in the royal household was smitten by her wit and her charm. They were a difficult bunch of people who weren’t impressed very easily, but Diana had done the impossible. But apparently, all that charm wasn’t enough for a Prince who clearly took his wife for granted, undermined her authority and victimized himself in situations where he was, in fact, the oppressor.
The Australian tour of 1983 gave rise to another problem that made matters even worse. The tour was supposed to be about Charles, but Diana became the star of the tour. She got a lot of attention from the world media, and her own husband started feeling insecure and overshadowed. Diana had that kind of impact wherever she went. Huge crowds would erupt on the streets just to catch a glimpse of her. Charles felt that his own wife had stolen his spotlight. But Diana wasn’t doing anything on purpose; there was a reason why people connected with her personality so much. Diana was real. It felt like she was approachable. The royal barricades couldn’t stop her from doing what she felt like, and people felt that she was one of them. She proved to the people that she was also a human, just like them. She showed them that she also felt sad and happy. Anne, Charles’ sister, knew her brother way too well. She informed her mother that though the Australian tour was being called a success for the British empire, it had widened the already existing cracks in the marriage of Diana and Charles.
Towards the end of “The Crown” season 4, we see that Diana was still ready to put in the required effort to save their marriage. She was still ready to make some changes and compromise on certain things. But Charles had made up his mind. He mocked her and the efforts she made to save their marriage. In the 8th episode of “The Crown” season 4, we see that Charles was caught in an avalanche in Switzerland. Major Hugh Lindsay, a friend of Charles, had lost his life in the accident. The near-death experience made Diana realize that she still loved her husband. Over the years, all the misunderstandings and complications had made her forget why she had married him in the first place. She had always liked him, and her feelings were pure. Diana told Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip that she didn’t want a separation. On the other hand, Charles was not in the mood for reconciliation.
In the 10th episode of “The Crown,” we saw that everybody, including the Queen, knew that whatever Prince Charles was doing was unjustified. They knew that Diana had done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment. She was being disregarded and disrespected in her own marriage. It was rumored that Diana was seeing another man named James Hewitt, an officer in the British army. But could she be blamed for that? We are not advocating the fact that she was right in indulging in an extramarital affair, but it was a consequence of things that she had to face from the very first day of her marriage. Diana was suffering from bulimia, an eating disorder. Whenever she wasn’t able to cope with a situation, she used to binge eat. Things had started taking a toll on her mental health. The royal family understood her plight, but they were as helpless as ever. Queen Elizabeth thrashed her own son and told him to stop indulging in acts of moral turpitude. The royal family was more concerned about the socio-political implications that a decision like divorce might have on them. As always traditions and customs took priority over the lives of two individuals, who should have never come together.
Prince Philip, who had always vouched for Diana from the very beginning, came and had a conversation with her. Diana mustered all the strength she had and came out of her room. She wanted to give her marriage one last chance. She wanted to do it for her boys, William and Harry. She was married to her prince charming, but still, she felt like an outsider. She had always felt lonely, but now she had started feeling irrelevant too. Diana and Charles were still together at the end of season 4, but we know that it was just a matter of time before the inevitable happened. In “The Crown” season 5, we will probably get to know what exactly caused the royals to change their mind and accept the fact that the Prince and Princess of Wales were incompatible with living with each other.