Queen Elizabeth II on the crown

DrThe death of King George VI of England, which led to Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne in 1952, is featured in the Netflix series “The Crown” with courteously-adjusted scenes and musical steps and pathos. According to the scenario, the king suffering from a terrible cough died peacefully in his sleep. As the next morning ran and ran, sounded silent and bowed, the new Elizabethan age of Britain began. Head to 10 Downing Street. “Has the Princess been informed yet?” asks the faded Winston Churchill played by John Lithgow with baffling glee in the aging tradition. “If you mean the new queen,” is the answer, “as far as I know, no.” Part of the fun of programs that take us back to the pre-internet era lies in their slow channels of information and delayed reactions, a playground for the nuances of psychological ones.

The “crown” appears in a typical way: the less freedom of action the characters have due to the hierarchy of the court and etiquette, the richer the inner life, which reveals itself in hidden glances, sliding gestures and meaningful silence. Of course, we know that screenwriter Peter Morgan is not looking for the historical truth of the royal family, but rather for the drama of Windsor. Far from taking away the fun of the series, the blurring of fact and fiction increases it even more: we don’t really want to know exactly “how it really was”, but let’s immerse ourselves in psychological drama as in the cinema and in the novel.

In that sense, Queen Elizabeth II unrequestedly became fictional material during her lifetime, from Stephen Frears’ movie The Queen starring Helen Mirren to Alan Bennett’s charming story Sovereign Reader to The Crown. Claire Foy played the student queen in the first two seasons, which allowed us to see her fears. Olivia Colman takes on the role of the much older Queen of Season 3, who at least insinuates that she feels emotionally empty around her, only to shrug off all the emotions in the next moment – they are learned.

When Imelda Staunton opened Netflix’s fifth season as The Old Queen in November, the world that The Crown had so far assumed would irreversibly become another world, a world without Elizabeth. And it will be remembered that the Queen represented something of a fantasy once, in her few minutes with Paddington Bear who brought England to the English Jubilee this summer: a very old lady still in a state of self-loathing towards the end of her life. Then she reveals to us there that she always has a sandwich in her handbag when she’s hungry. Her whole personality lies in this gesture.

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