Just finished watching the fifth season of Netflix’s series about the British royal family, The Crown, and contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere, I think it’s the best season so far.
Once again I’m finding Charles to be a very sympathetic person, so I was surprised to see in the nytimes that many in Britain think it was unfair to him. First of all, I had never heard about that apparently notorious tape recording that some scurrilous git made of a private phone conversation between Charles and Camilla and that was later published by Britain’s tabloids. That alone greatly increased my sympathy towards both of them.
Then there was Prince Wanker’s (aka the Duke of Edinburgh) reaction to the publication of that private conversation and his hypocritical dressing down of his son in public. Did Prince Wanker forget about his ballerina and his association with Stephen Ward and appearance with his back turned in that famous photo? He was a poor one to express moral outrage.
Apparently there are also some Brits who have their panties in a twist because the series depicted a meeting between Tony Blair and Charles which never occurred. It’s called dramatic license, children, and it has a long history. Why even your beloved Shakespeare resorted to it. In this case I believe Peter Morgan used it to show how Charles and Blair have much more in common than Blair and the Queen who is old enough to be Blair’s mother, and also to show how Charles is champing at the bit to assume the duties that he was born for. Once again, I can sympathize, as I can’t even conceive of the idea of not having a job until I reached my current age of 73.
Likewise, I felt great sympathy for Camilla and I liked the way she was able to keep her sense of humour during truly trying times.
That same nytimes article claimed that the show went easy on Diana. I didn’t think so. It did let the viewer know about her multiple affairs and it showed that when she went to hospital to support her acupuncturist, all she could concentrate on was the doctor’s, uh, feet. And then she went trolling through the halls of the hospital for days until she could arrange to meet the doctor again. And this trolling got misinterpreted as cheering up the patients.
Now if there is a villain in all this, it would be the BBC correspondent Martin Bashir. And he’s a villain of nearly Shakespearean proportions as he schemes and lies and manipulates to get an interview with Diana. (And in the official Crown Podcast the fact checkers claim that Bashir’s villainy went even further than is depicted as he told Diana that Charles had an affair with Diana’s nanny and made her have an abortion, among many other things.) It was one of the few times that I could feel genuine sympathy for her, but that was immediately dissipated when she turned the interview into an attack on the royals. Honestly, I can’t see what she had against the royals. Yes, Charles betrayed her, but she returned the betrayal in spades. What had the others done? She was living in luxury. If she couldn’t go anywhere without being trailed by a gaggle of paparazzi, that was hardly the royals fault.
And then she is depicted as trying to turn her eldest son William into a friend and confidant, a role that makes him very uncomfortable. I didn’t hear any pushback about that, so I assume there is some basis for that.
There’s a scene where she’s repeatedly dialing in to a tv survey to vote against the monarchy. According to the fact checkers on the podcast, she actually voted a total of 250 times. Not only that but not depicted on the show but in real life her son William was sitting next to her and pleading with her not to vote. You recall William, don’t you? He’s now next in line after Charles to ascend to the throne. What a thoughtful mother she was.
Am I being too hard on Diana? Probably. But I’ve endured so many years of hearing what a wonderful person she was and I remember when she was killed how some of my co-workers at the time spent hours fawning over what a different kind of princess she had been.
A few weeks ago John Oliver did a hit piece on the monarchy, and he presented a very one-sided view. One thing that he didn’t mention but which The Crown does point out is that in 1976 Charles started a charity named the Prince’s Trust to help vulnerable young people get their lives on track.
According to Wikipedia:
It runs a range of training programmes, providing practical and financial support to build young people’s confidence and motivation. Each year they work with about 60,000 young people, with three in four moving on to employment, education, volunteering, or training.
In 1999, the numerous trust charities were brought together as the Prince’s Trust and acknowledged by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace where she granted it a royal charter. The following year it devolved in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and other English regions but overall control remained in London. The Prince’s Trust fundraising and campaign events are often hosted by and feature entertainers from around the world. In April 2011 the youth charity Fairbridge became part of the trust. In 2015, Prince’s Trust International was launched to collaborate with other charities and organisations in other countries (mostly Commonwealth nations) to help young people in those countries.
The Prince’s Trust is one of the most successful funding organisations in the UK and is the UK’s leading youth charity, having helped over 950,000 young people turn their lives around, created 125,000 entrepreneurs, and given business support to 395,000 people in the UK. From 2006 to 2016, its work for the youth has been worth an estimated £1.4 billion.
Add in Charle’s ideas for the reform of the monarchy and yes, include me on Team Charles.
Postscript: today at lunch I found myself eating in the British manner, cutting the meat with the fork in the left hand and then bringing it to my mouth without changing hands.