The Crown; Biography of Queen Elizabeth

I am on Season Two of The Crown. It is difficult to gauge what is a spoiler when a show is based on actual history. I was never good at history so it’s all spoilers to me. I mean, I know Queen Elizabeth has a son called Charles, I did know that. But I have to be careful not to search online to find out, for example, why that photographer looks so familiar (it’s because he was also in Downton Abbey) because when I do, I see little bits of history that would have been a complete surprise to me two episodes later.

Anyway. I just watched the episode where Charles goes away to school at Gordonstoun. It’s so well done, I think: you can absolutely see how great the school was for Prince Philip and why he wants Charles to go there so intensely that he can justify being an absolute dick about it, and you can even see how it MIGHT have ended up well for Charles too—while also seeing that it was an experiment that should have been discontinued after the first year and better yet even sooner, and that Prince Philip should have noticed that he and Charles are VERY DIFFERENT TEMPERAMENT TYPES with very different issues to work through, so what was good for one of them would not necessarily be good for the other of them. Plus, Prince Philip does not give evidence of being a really superior person, so perhaps he should not over-credit the effect his school experience had on his character.

It all gives a parent a lot to think about, is what I’m saying.

Speaking of spoilers/history, this show makes me want to read biographies and history books to get more information about that time and these people. Do you have any you’d recommend? Probably I’d want to start with a biography of Queen Elizabeth, since I now love her. I am also interested in reading more about Princess Margaret, and eventually I want to read more about Prince Charles.

21 thoughts on “The Crown; Biography of Queen Elizabeth

    1. Anna

      Yes! The Other Boleyn Girl is a great place to start, and it was turned into a movie if you want the companion viewing experience.

      Reply
  1. LeighTX

    For Christmas my husband bought me a copy of the book called “The Crown” that’s the companion to the show, and I really enjoyed it; it had biographical info that wasn’t in the show. Also there’s a book called “Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother” that I’d like to read but haven’t gotten from the library hold list yet. :)

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  2. Wendy

    Oof, that episode was such a gut punch. Poor Charles.

    You know, when I was growing up I always thought Charles was the bad guy for what happened with him and Diana. Now I feel happy that he finally got to marry someone he loves and should have been allowed to marry in the first place, especially since he was raised by Phillip, who seems to be quite the asshole.

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    1. Kelly

      I read something recently where someone said Charles and Camilla were possibly the most romantic love story of their generation but no one can see it because of Diana.

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  3. Kerry

    I think this is a great episode about (bad) parenting and also a great episode about (bad) marriage. Basically,

    “This is one of the most important decisions we’ll make as parents but I’m going to go ahead and assume we’re doing what I think is best”
    “Oh well that is very interesting, I have now overruled you while you were away without us talking about it.”
    “I will leave!”
    “Ok fine lets just be miserable and resentful of eachother.”

    I have a lot more sympathy for Philip though. I like how the show portrays him as being motivated by the kind of father he wants to be (which is a kind of muddle of progressive of for his own time because he wants to be involved in a way his father never was, but regressive for our time because he clearly resents not outranking his wife), and how tragic it is to feel like you don’t have enough of a say in the way your kids are being raised…which sometimes times leads to overcompensatory boarding schools in Scotland.

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  4. Maureen

    I’m a huge fan of English history-all of it! I read a really great biography of Elizabeth II-maybe it was Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith. I got it from the library, but I think this was it. Then I bought Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother-which I really enjoyed. It isn’t about QEII-but there are lots of lovely letters between her and her mother.

    I binge watched the second season of The Crown-and I did have some sympathy for Phillip. He had a terribly insecure upbringing, with no stability. That horrible school did give him security. I also believe he was of a generation that believed steel is forged in fire, and Charles seems to be a much more sensitive person.

    Am I the only one who is giddy by the fact Prince Harry is marrying Meghan Markle? How far they have come from Princess Margaret not being able to marry the man who might have been the love of her life, because he was divorced.

    I’ll stop now, because I could talk about this subject forever! Don’t even get me started on Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine ;)

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    1. TG

      I second the biography of Queen Elizabeth by Sally Bedell Smith! She also wrote one about Prince Charles that came out just last year. I thought they were both enjoyable and fast-paced without being “tabloidish.”

      And (waving to Maureen) not only am I delighted that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged, but their planned wedding date is also my anniversary!

      Reply
  5. Alison

    It’s a fantastic show, with lots of historically accurate stuff, but please remember that there is an awful lot of artistic license employed as well.

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    1. Maureen

      Exactly! Of course it isn’t true to life-how could we be privy to what Phillip and Elizabeth say to each other? Yet I do feel it gives a really good sense of time and place-and I find it absolutely enjoyable.

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  6. Kelly

    Soo back when Elizabeth (the movie) came out, I thought I felt the same way about biographies. It took me two years to read that damn book. So! In watching the crown or Reign or Victoria outlander or whatever other British/French/Scottish period drama I have gotten sucked into-Wikipedia works for me. And you can trace the lineage pretty easily. Mary queen of Scots in Reign gave birth to king James who was in that HBO show with Kit Herrington, Bonnie prince Charlie was a dipshit just like he’s portrayed in outlander. It normally has links for brothers, sisters, parents so I can hop around. Also if the show has stuff about their love life or whatever I can look at that part of Wikipedia and read about it and go back to the show. See what’s made up, what’s probably true and what is a complete guess.

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  7. Aimee

    Eagerly reading these comments because I feel exactly the same way. Also want to recommend the show Poldark—love,love,love it!!!

    Reply

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