• smcmanus

Kiera, The Crown

“To do nothing is often the best course of action, but I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be. History was not made by those who did nothing.” [1]This quote was taken from the best binge worthy Netflix tv series based on the true-life events of Queen Elizabeth and is one of the main reasons I am a history major. Growing up I spent most of my school nights watching documentaries on the wars with my Papa, a British Veteran of the Canadian Army who instilled an obsession of the Royal Family and history in both my sister and me. One may say my obsession with the royal family is ridiculous, and they are correct, as they are truly no more than celebrities of the world whose lives are ruled by the politics and drama of social media, but none the less I am infatuated with every detail of their marriage, pregnancy and dramatic new Instagram page announcements. My fascination became reality when Netflix released the first season, ten hours of British Royal History, which I completed in one sitting over the course of “one afternoon.” If you have not yet watched The Crown,go to Netflix and waste what is now with two seasons, twenty hours of your life indulging in the best family drama with historical twists and turns and never look back as your understanding of the Royal Family will be changed forever. The widely held societal perspectives of the Royal Family have been rejected through this based on true events tv series which encapsulates every aspect of the Royal Families personal and public lives since 1952 when Elizabeth became Queen.

As mentioned above, I particularly have always loved anything to do with the Royal family but I believe this show, and proven by my parents, boyfriend and grandparents, who all watched it after I bugged them mercilessly to, appeals to all audiences. This show has the perfect combination of historical events mixed with family drama and romance to keep you attached to the characters and finishing every episode thinking you are royalty sleeping in your student palace of beer cans and textbooks you truly cannot afford and will possibly never read. The true events, matched by the perfect costume choices, talented actors and actresses are brought together by amazing writers to capture viewers in close connection to the historical events throughout Queen Elizabeth’s life. From the corgis to the jewelry, the meals on Elizabeth and Phillips travels to the décor in their master bedroom(s), every detail is immaculately planned out to perfection and documented in the book The Crown: The Official Companion Volume 1written and overseen by historian Robert Lacey who aided in the creation of the proceedings of the tv series.[2]Robert Lacey helped the producers of The Crownaccurately portray the real events that appear throughout the series through his knowledge of historical details so minimize the Hollywood effect.[3]

Tv series and movies are an awesome way, when done correctly like The Crown,in following historical events to educate the general public on important histories that they may not be aware of otherwise. Personally, as much as I love history I am not one who is thoroughly captivated by historical texts so movies, tv shows, and documentaries are something that truly excite me. However, in saying this I do love reading up on historical events in scholarly articles prior to watching audiovisual media representation on historical events so that I am not fooled by aspects of Hollywood cinematography, and The Crown is particularly amazing in following the true details of British History. The portrayals of not only British History but World History throughout the two seasons accurately demonstrate the stress that comes with important political decisions which political figures as well as the royal family and their advisors deal with on a daily basis.

Throughout the semester we have discussed in great detail the importance of historian’s work, studying the past to understand the present and the future, and further the role which historians play in modern society. Through watching The Crown, I believe that the importance of history and understanding the reality of the past to better understand the present and change the future are pushed upon viewers through the bias that the producers have created in the characters. The accuracy of history throughout the series demonstrate to viewers the importance of understanding history, additionally looking at history from both sides of each story which has principally not been done in the past. The Crown represents all aspects of the importance of being a historian through the actors’ interpretations of the Royal Family. I believe that The Crownaccurately represents and interprets the tasks the royal family, particularly the Queen and her responsibility in political matters to the general public. The majority of the show revolves around these political decisions, British historical events and the Queens family life, but these events are revealed in a dramatic way that ties all aspects of the Queens life into the societal matters of Britain in a way which captivates viewers of all ages. Aspects of the Queens family life are explored as she and Phillip hit turbulence in their marriage, her father’s sudden death makes her Queen at the young age of twenty five, her sister Margaret dealing with the families refusal of her engagement, her outcasted uncle causing political instability, and the birth of her children, all the while she is ultimately accountable for key decisions in protecting her country. The show fittingly honors Queen Elizabeth II’s difficult life choices and the sacrifices she had to make in order to be Queen, the relationships she lost and the battle of being a key figure to the public’s eye, in a way that bestows viewers to the characters and their lives.

Queen Elizabeth II and her family lack the privacy and freedom which us historians enjoy every day, but she has done a tremendous job throughout her service to her country as their Queen. Her entire life has been depicted from bedroom conversations to her private audience meetings with the Prime Minister, in a way which is suitable for adults interested in history. Since these conversations will never be known and they are one of the few aspects of her life that she can keep private, the dramatic acting which accompanies the producers writing of these exchanges are key to making the show as good as it is. Furthermore, the show examines historical events from a biased perspective to make the Queens decisions perhaps more honorable than they truly were which appeals to all audiences in adding extra drama that may or may not have existed.

Conclusively,The Crown is in my opinion one of the best modern-day pop culture interpretations of past historical events and has rejuvenated my love for the discipline. The series is suitable for all viewers through the educational approach they take to earn the respect of viewers while honoring Queen Elizabeth II and her prosperous life. I would highly recommend this program to anyone even slightly interested in historical drama series as it is both educational and interesting which will leave you begging for more. The producers with the help of historians have created an amazing production which apprehends the hearts and minds of spectators to transform their perceptions of British History and the Royal Family. This show proves the importance of historian’s work and the exciting experiences and doors the discipline opens to those who care.

Bibliography

10 Queen Elizabeth Quotes from ‘The Crown’ to Celebrate Claire Foy, Hypable, Accessed March 31st2019, https://www.hypable.com/the-crown-queen-elizabeth-quotes/

Robert Lacey, Accessed March 31st 2019, http://www.robertlacey.com


[1]10 Queen Elizabeth Quotes from “The Crown” to Celebrate Claire Foy, Hypable, Accessed March 31st, 2019, https://www.hypable.com/the-crown-queen-elizabeth-quotes/

[2]Robert Lacey, Accessed March 31st 2019, http://www.robertlacey.com

[3]Lacey, March 31st

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Contact me for more information:

Sheila McManus

Professor, Department of History

University of Lethbridge

(403) 329-2540