The Crown’s Peter Morgan: Princess Diana was ‘the British Eva Peron’

Weeks, we saw the exciting new images for Season 4 of The Crown. This is the season where Lady Diana Spencer is introduced, and we’ll see some of her courtship with Prince Charles, and their wedding, of course. Emma Corrin in the “Shy Di” wig looks really good, so I have confidence in that, but I’m not sure if I have confidence in how they’ll actually portray Diana’s early years in and around The Firm? And I’m especially uncertain about the story now that I’ve actually read The Crown’s creator/producer Peter Morgan’s take on Diana.

“She’s just such an extraordinary char­acter,” said Peter Morgan, the Oscar-, Emmy-, and Tony-nominated screenwriter and creator of The Crown, who has spent the last decade and a half—since his film The Queen—imagining what Buckingham Palace looks like behind the scenes. “She was very much the British Eva Perón—such a mythic figure, so much bigger than anything we’d been used to.”

Morgan also acknowledged that it’s hard not to view recent royal history through a lens of current events – such as Prince Andrew’s former association with the convicted paedophile, the late Jeffrey Epstein, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from official royal life. Yet Morgan stressed that he did not want to fill his drama with heavy-handed foreshadowing, saying: ‘If you draw too many intentional parallels, it actually becomes quite ugly.’

He added, however, that Meghan Markle’s struggles in the royal limelight spark inevitable comparisons: ‘When you see a beautiful young princess struggling to find love and acceptance within the family, the parallels are obvious and the parallels write themselves… If you come into [the Royal Family] with any agenda for yourself – or if you come in and connect with the public in a way that threatens to change the way that the royal family connects with the public – that’s something that doesn’t particularly sit comfortably for either side. Really, the only version of events that works is if somebody comes in and becomes invisible, and just sort of knuckles down to a lifetime of agreeable supplicancy to the duties of the crown. Diana struggled to fit in with the institution in a way that it’s impossible not to see the parallels with Meghan Markle and Harry. So the story feels both incredibly vivid historically, but also it really shines a lot of lights on where we are now.’

Yet many of Diana had her personal struggles too, such as her battle with bulimia, which is portrayed in the upcoming series. Morgan said that he felt ‘to not represent it would be to deny the former Princess of Wales some of the true complexity of her character…. Her own suffering made her have compassion for other people. And it was the compassion she showed for other people that was what made everyone love her. Everyone has vulnerabilities and frailties. And she wore hers on her sleeve – which, of course, is the opposite of royalty. You’re representing an idea and an ideal, and you don’t want there to be too much humanity in the way.’

[From Vanity Fair & Tatler]

The British Eva Peron? The hell? I mean, I can see the parallel, but Diana was Diana, she was part of a new media paradigm, a new tabloid paradigm, and she was literally the biggest global celebrity in the world. This is interesting too: “If you come into [the Royal Family] with any agenda for yourself – or if you come in and connect with the public in a way that threatens to change the way that the royal family connects with the public– that’s something that doesn’t particularly sit comfortably for either side.” LMAO. Think about what he’s really saying there. Diana plainly was a threat to the monarchy *because* she connected with the public in a way Petty Betty and the fam had never done. Sure, the Queen used to be very popular. But the Queen has always been about grumpily doing her duty whereas Diana used her position to really work and become close to people.

“Really, the only version of events that works is if somebody comes in and becomes invisible, and just sort of knuckles down to a lifetime of agreeable supplicancy to the duties of the crown.” Somewhere in Norfolk, Kate looked at her closet full of fussy coatdresses and Sister Wife dresses and shuddered.

Lady Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales


Photos courtesy of WENN, Vanity Fair/Netflix.

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71 Responses to “The Crown’s Peter Morgan: Princess Diana was ‘the British Eva Peron’”

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  1. Elizabeth Regina says:

    Diana became the mouse that roared. She was flawed, damaged and far from perfect but she had an incredible heart and connected with the public in ways that the RF could never. She was one in a million, almost irreplaceable. Harry and Meghan have a lot of her great qualities, in particular her likeability and the willingness to make a difference. It was Tony Blair and his press secretary that pulled the RF back from the brink of the abyss the last time there was a major crisis after Diana’s death. The way they are going now and with how times have changed, plus with the advent of social media, it will not be that easy for them. Harry’s appearance last night got lots of rave reviews. The House of Windsor needs to tread carefully and recall their attack dogs.

    • Bex says:

      Ah it was fun to see Harry pop up on Strictly last night!

    • Anne Call says:

      Diana also became famous when social media and the internet took over our lives. If Princess Margaret had been in her prime in the 1980’s and 90’s she would have rocked the monarchy. Very hard to be famous and have any privacy anymore.

      • Harper says:

        Diana came to fame in 1980/81 when all we had were print magazines and newspapers but no internet. I would actually look at Hello and Majesty magazines at the bookstore to see Diana pictures. She was regularly on the covers of women’s magazines but the stories were all gooey and it truly wasn’t until excerpts from the Andrew Morton book were published that we had any idea that the fairy tale was broken.

  2. Myra says:

    I am already into the first few episodes of The Crown which is basically about their courtship (or lack thereof) and I am feeling so bad for Diana. I almost want to shout ‘Girl, run!’

    • AMAyson1977 says:

      Me too!! I just want to scoop her up and tell her to run the other way, marry a nice man closer to her age and be happy.

      It’s also astonishing to me after watching the first few episodes that nobody in the BRF took a second to think that if *they* were instantly blown away by Diana’s charm and grace, maybe the public would be too. They really are just dumb, dull, selfish, petty people, every last one of them.

  3. Seraphina says:

    The BRF and their minions underestimated Diana. They brought her in at 19 and thought they could control her. The problem is that Diana’s traits were needed and still are needed to help the BRF, but their entitlement blocks them from viewing the truth.
    I for one informed mu husband, I will MIA tonight watching The Crown. Cannot wait!

  4. Red Dog says:

    Just finished Ep 5, and LORD the Andrew shade… Gold. Absolute gold. Only, he clearly IS still the favourite.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      He will always be the queen’s favourite and her achilles heel. Charles knows that and I suspect he will get his revenge once his mother is gone. The Yorks are done for.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Andrew and all his brought into the BRF will be cut off swiftly once TQ passes. There’s no doubt.

    • Erinn says:

      I mean – he pretty clearly is the favorite.

      That said it seems like a LOT of people take the Crown as a documentary. It’s a drama series. While it’s based on real events there’s plenty of inaccuracies and tons of articles pointing them out. They need to change things and create storylines or it wouldn’t be coherent or interesting to watch. And there’s certainly plenty of bias in it because it IS a drama and not a historical documentary.

      I just can’t do anything Diana related. It’s exhausting. At this point she’s almost become a legend or fictional persona because those that idolized her airbrushed her and romanticized her and those that don’t like her will always dislike her. Her relationship with Charles was incredibly sad. But she always seemed to pull Will in on their arguments as a confidant which truly f-cks kids up. Then there was the basic stalking of a married man and the way she worked with the press (to be fair I also shade the royals for their work with the press). I feel bad about the marriage, but she also was an adult woman coming out of that marriage and made some bizarre, hurtful choices of her own that can’t be blamed on Charles.

      • tempest prognosticator says:

        I’ve always felt bad for William as a result of this. Both of the prince’s had F’ed up childhoods and neither emerged unscathed.

    • Peanutbuttr says:

      Ep 8 was “impressively cunty”

    • bettyrose says:

      Watching it now and had to pause to come see if we were discussing it yet. OMG! The writers pulled no punches in the mummy/Andrew lunch scene. Deargawd this is some masterful shade!

      • ArtHistorian says:

        That lunch!!! The shade is delightful! Andrew arriving in a Navy heli is shades of William pulling the same stunt at Middleton Manor. The discussion about the movie with his porn star actress depicting a teenage girl being debauched by older men – and then all the shade about second sons becoming kings. God. It was hilariously shady.

    • Smalltown Girl says:

      The writing gets in several hits. Like when he was describing the movie his girlfriend was in? I was like, wow, they are going there. Also in the Margaret centric episode when they talk about how it is a “hard sell” that one family have the hereditary right to rule. There were a few other times too.

  5. Sofia says:

    Haven’t started the new series yet. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to start today haha. But after reading the reviews, I’m a little more confident that they do Diana justice or at least, won’t make her out to be the “villain” (and she made her mistakes but I don’t abide by the whole Charles = bad and Diana = good) but we’ll see

    • Yvette says:

      @Sofia … I’m with you. I’ve been wondering if they will address the rumor of Diana throwing herself down a flight of stairs when she was four months pregnant with William in an attempt to get Charles’s attention. I know she was in a bad place at the time, but I just can’t with that. If “The Crown” addresses this rumor, I wonder how the public will react?

      • tcbc says:

        My guess is that if they cover it, they will split the difference. Meaning, we may see her right before the fall, then cut to courtiers arguing over whether it was intentional or an accident.

  6. Kalana says:

    The royals always try to make it sound like they’re sacrificing and doing their duty when really they demand the best of the best of everything, paid for with other people’s money. The Queen especially. But if you’re enthusiastic about helping people, it’s harder to be the bare minimum and present that as hard work. Diana and Meghan both didn’t do this while Kate is practically Melania at this point.

    This family is so dysfunctional and we know it’s going to continue with Charles and with William. Decades more of Charles and William using the press to take shots at each other and Kate playing SWF with other women and planting endless articles about being a top CEO.

  7. GR says:

    Eva Peron?! As in, helped prop up a dictator?!

  8. Thirtynine says:

    I’ve watched the first seven episodes. It’s uncanny, seeing her move and speak. It’s a strange, strange emotion. I think I’m going to need time to process it. Andrew’s description of Koo’s movie his mother was so disgusted with mirrored what the family was doing wholeheartedly to Diana. Probably my most coherent thought at the moment is how self-pitying and egotistical and selfish they all are. Poor sad hard done by royals. Oh, and I thought the Bob Hawke was great. I really did feel while watching it I was in some kind of time warp.

  9. Snuffles says:

    Charles is already pitching a fit in the tabloids. He knows that 20 years of PR to improve him and Camila’s image is going down the drain.

    • Scollins says:

      Good. The both of them were hideous to Diana and her sons. They’re not stupid people to think the kids wouldn’t be affected. They just didn’t care. Camilla the cow is given all kinds of credit in the years since for what? Being a more low key cow? And Charles the jerk has done those boys so wrong as is evidenced now with the dysfunction.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Diana buried the hatchet against Camilla. But that gets lost a lot of the time. Also, that Charles and Diana had multiple lovers while married. Diana just had to wait until she produced the heir and spare.

        How the BRF functions is what did the most harm to the boys.

        Pretty much if Diana could coparent with Charles and let go of the hate why is anyone else who wasn’t in their relationship still holding on to it?

      • Eleonora says:

        With the difference that Charles kept seeing his mistress from before the marriage started.
        I can understand Diana then looked elsewhere too after years if that

      • Elizabeth Phillips says:

        Agreed, Wiglet Watcher. I will never understand why people take it so personally that a man they don’t know had the audacity to love someone we don’t consider beautiful, and agreed to an arranged marriage with someone younger to save his family. You know, something royalty and aristocracy have had to do for millennia.

      • Myra says:

        The fact that Diana took on lovers after she was cheated on, does not excuse the abuse she endured before hand and even after. Had her husband been faithful and given her affection and attention, she wouldn’t have had to look elsewhere.

      • Eleonora says:

        I don’t care if Camilla was ugly or not.
        I do care about the cheating and way they treated Diana. They were both way older than her and should have known better.

  10. Nic919 says:

    You can compare Diana to a mythic figure and use someone other than Eva Peron. There is really nothing about Peron that compares to Diana but it does show that Peter Morgan is an ass.

    • Mumbles says:

      Well, she was a populist, who drove the elites crazy, and died young. But yeah, not the best comparison.

      I’m not sure I agree that Kate looks at her closets of coat dresses and shudders. I think she’s perfectly happy being a cog in the wealthy wheel. She’s spent 10+ years doing very little except have children. She’s never indicated any interest in anything else. Other than polite small talk has she ever expressed any curiosity or interest in the few events she does do? Even when you hear accounts from people who knew her in school, all we hear is that everyone thought she was pretty and she liked to play field hockey. That’s it. Perfect for the RF.

      • Nic919 says:

        Kate chose to chase William for almost a decade and presented herself in a way that made her acceptable to him, which includes tolerating cheating. If she’s unhappy that’s on her because she had more time to decide than Diana ever did.

  11. tee says:

    I’m so tempted to watch this season, despite never making it through the first ep of S1, but I’ll just wait and observe responses.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Me too, but then I remember The Crown is favorable to the Windsor’s. While it has some moments that aren’t it’s because those were inescapable and built into public history.

      They will never show TQ defending her pedophile son. Just mild jabs.

    • Thirtynine says:

      I couldn’t get through season 1 either, so never bothered with the rest. It seemed too adoring of the BRF and fictionalised in a way that flattered and excused them. But Emma looked enough like Diana for me to want to see how they did it. So far, up to epidode 7, I think its been pretty fair. Gillian Anderson is bringing complexity to Margaret Thatcher too. But I cannot see any Tory or BRF fan being happy with these portrayls.

      • Eleonora says:

        I already watched season 4, all of it (big loser, I am) and it’s not favorable to the RF, I would say. It shows them displaying ugly behavior a lot, especially Charles, but the others too.

    • Myra says:

      I never made it through the first episode either. I started watching from S3 and it would have been the only season I watched, had the BM not overreacted.

  12. emmy says:

    I’m watching it right now and Emma is doing a fantastic job. I’m on episode 5 and so far they haven’t managed to flesh out the character as they did with everyone else though. She is 100% the image we are still being sold to this day which is a little boring. This isn’t a documentary after all. I hope this changes in the second half of the series.

    The Michael Fagan story is pretty great btw. His world captures some of the bleakness of the 80s and the economic horrors perfectly. Much more fascinating than the castles tbh.

  13. Catherine says:

    So I’m American my nanny is British, and she’s young (29) her mother and aunts (they are in their 50s) HATE AND DESPISE Camilla. Like, ACTIVELY. I kind of thought – things had smoothed out on that point. Apparently not. The women around Diana’s age….stay super mad. Nanny’s grandmother too!!!

    • Smalltown Girl says:

      My mother despises Camilla. Refers to her as “that woman”.

      • Ann says:

        I watched the Charles/Camilla wedding with my father. I’m not sure why, he probably just had it on some obscure news channel because that’s what he always watched. I was visiting from school at the time. I said to him “She looks nervous” and he replied “Nervous as a whore in church!” It’s an old expression, normally my father wouldn’t use that word and he wasn’t actually calling her that. But it just shows how set in their views of her some people were and still are. And I can’t deny I laughed. My Dad was a great guy, just kind of Old School.

        I’ve watched the first few episodes of Season 4 and wow Camilla is coming off worse than I thought she would. Did it never occur to to the two of them to just accept that they were married to other people and try to stay away from each other? Try to make their marriages work?

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      I am a British woman in my 50s and I LOATHE Camilla. I hate that she pretended to be Diana’s friend and is alive and enjoying time with her own children while Diana can’t.

      • Mignionette says:

        ” I hate that she pretended to be Diana’s friend and is alive and enjoying time with her own children while Diana can’t.”

        ^^^ I am ambivalent about Camilla, but that sentence hit me hard.

      • Thirtynine says:

        I am in Diana’s age group and also dislike Camilla. Charles’ excuse that they were no longer sleeping together is pure sophistry if the ex-mistress is still getting daily phone calls and hosting your parties. Camilla made a big investment in Charles, outside of her own marriage, and tried very hard to control the Diana/Charles dynamic, right from the beginning. How could Diana and Charles build their own relationship w ith Camilla constantly in his ear? I will never buy that she was not interested in becoming Queen. Maybe Diana came to some peace about it before she died-I hope for her sake she did. But I see nothing to admire. Deliberate cruelty to a young woman sustained over many years which she was perfectly aware was causing her immense suffering, for no reason other than she wanted what Diana had, something she had no right to. No pass from me.

    • Sid says:

      This is why Charles had to pay for a whole PR campaign to make Camilla more acceptable to the public. And even after all of that, there are still questions about whether the public will be supportive enough for them to go through with actually crowning her queen when the time comes.

    • Dani says:

      My mother is mid 50s Israeli (grew up in Israel too) and despises Camilla lol Diana was alllll the rage all over the world! My mom has pictures where her outfits are copies of DIana’s – even the same hairstyles and makeup. She was truly an icon.

  14. Sara says:

    Fortunately for Meghan, her husband actually loves her. Diana didn’t have that with Charles.

    • Dee Kay says:

      Yeah Meghan is far, far more fortunate than Diana in many key ways. 1) Meghan had (and has) her own money, was a millionaire in her own right from Suits before she started dating Harry. 2) Meghan was a mature woman who knew her own gifts and her own mind before marrying into that family. 3) Meghan has U.S. citizenship and another home base besides Britain — she had someplace to go. 4) Meghan and her husband married for love not duty. 5) When H+M decided to split, they did it together, had each other’s backs 1000%, have presented a solid front and seem solid behind the scenes and have never let each other down or undermined each other in any way. 6) H+M both quickly found a way to continue to support a “royal” lifestyle outside of the BRF. 7) Meghan does not seem to suffer from serious psychological issues, such as a serious eating disorder.

      Diana did not have *any* of those advantages, not a single one. She was not a saint, but she certainly was a victim. The fact that H+M have to fight so hard for themselves to not be victimized by the BRF, and have so many strengths and assets that Diana did not have, tells us how brutal that family business is.

  15. Gorgonia says:

    I just started seeing The crown 4 and I have so many feelings about Lady DI. When she died, I was 31, I grew up with Diana’s story, her marriage, her divorce and her untimely death. As someone wrote in another post, Diana made many mistakes, but I think hardly anyone can justify the treatment she received from Charles and the royal family. She was an extremely sensitive girl, raised in a highly dysfunctional family and married in another highly dysfunctional family. She didn’t get real support from anyone. The mistakes were made by her own family of opportunist people, who knowing her should have prevented the marriage, and by the royal family, who had not a shred of empathy for a young and naive girl catapulted into a hostile environment without having any preparation to face it. I do not worship her, during her life she has also done very questionable things and, moreover, I do not consider Charles evil, but at the end of the story, I think she is the one who was wronged the most, not the opposite. Thinking about all this, I’m even more happy Harry and Meghan left the RF.

    • Harper says:

      I lived the Diana years in real-time and beyond wondering why Diana would marry the old, unattractive Charles, I bought the whole fairy-tale hook, line, and sinker. When the truth began to eventually trickle out, it was an eye-opener at how much unhappiness they were able to hide and how many secrets were kept. Diana was wasting away in front of us and I thought she was just growing up. I’m half-way into the new season of the Crown and wonder why anyone watching today wouldn’t suspect the marriage of Will & Kate isn’t just as much a public front as Charles and Diana were. The same exact privilege, the same cast of characters, yet the public believes this marriage is still a fairy tale because of Carole Middleton’s family values? Uh, right.

      • Elizabeth Regina says:

        You’ve articulated my thoughts better than I could have. Kate is truly wasting away before our eyes and the public refuses to accept that it is a sham of a marriage. The RF in particular are terrified of the truth coming out but it will sooner or later. I know Kate and the Midds are holding on for dear life but they are also shrewd and cunning enough to do a kiss and tell via their RR friends to keep William in check. Then add the courtiers and what you have is potentially more explosive than the Charles/Diana/Camilla crowded marriage.

    • Mignionette says:

      Unpopular opinion, but I don;t think Di did anything really ‘that questionable’. Yes she manipulated the media and played Chuck and the BRF at their own game, but for me that was all a David v Goliath battle. Put yourself in her shoes with no safe harbor from your blood family or the one you married into. Add to the fact that she had no opportunity to form an adult personality before marriage and becoming a mother and the most famous/ photographed woman in the world. The whole world then projected everything they wanted onto her. Is it any wonder that she developed an eating order and occasionally acted out.

      Considering all the above, I think Diana played a blinder. She may have fractured every now and then, but she was never a woman broken and fought till the bitter end. Her legacy left the BRF shaken and changed forever. Without Diana the BRF would have faded into irrelevance. Not obscurity but certainly not the relevance they command today, and certainly not in the information and cult of celebrity era that we have now.

      Diana is not a Saint, but her actions are in no way even vaguely comparable to the shit show the BRF have put up historically. This is a family who have always ex-communicated and institutionalized their own when they didn’t fit neatly the family image.

      • Dee Kay says:

        “This is a family who have always ex-communicated and institutionalized their own when they didn’t fit neatly the family image.”
        Uhhhh…except for Andrew.

    • Eleonora says:

      I was very young when Diana died, but still remember exactly how I found out.
      Am not even British, but loved her

  16. Ennie says:

    Seeing what has happened to Harry and Meghan through the attacks by the press and the subtlety, disfunctionality and coldness of the RF, even in a fiction series, it has given me perspective of what Diana faced when she was a teen without much savvy family support
    The deer metaphor was perfect, including deluded Chuck thinking he was the wronged one.

  17. Mignionette says:

    Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin have played a f*cking blinder. The expectations of Gillian were always high given her past acting range, but for me Emma is the unsung hero here. Emma even sounds like Diana, and she pitches Diana’s personality perfectly. Not too saccharin sweet, with just the right amount of believable naivete.

    Having watched the first three episodes I can see why Chuck (and notice it’s mainly Chuck) is up in arms. Chuck and Camilla’s machinations towards Diana were cruel and heartless and even the family knew but chose to look the other way. The family critiques just before the wedding also tie back directly to his ability to lead as king. Like someone said above it chips away at all that very expensive revisionist PR that Chuck and Camilla engaged in.

    I also believe that the depiction of Charles and Camilla in this season are just the tip of the iceberg. I have read elsewhere that Camilla actually ‘coached’ Chuck through the courtship. The scene where Camilla and Diana have lunch was just so heartbreaking. The mistress giving hints to the future wife on how to ‘care-take’ her lover for her. They treated Diana like a hapless child. I think the other Royals believed that Chuck would tire of Camilla as she aged, but they got it horribly wrong and Diana paid the ultimate price.

  18. Nancito says:

    That Sister Wives dresses description is spot on! Hahaha

  19. Likeyoucare says:

    I know this is superficial.
    If charles and camillia married early on instead of married to diana.
    they will have an unfortunate looking children.
    Then, the RF will not be popular as now. No one outside britain will care about them.

    • Mignionette says:

      ^^^ isn’t this why the blood Princesses despised Diana so much, bc she naturally possessed what they knew the world sadly valued i.e. beauty, charm and star power ?

      Who does that remind you of …?

    • Sid says:

      Superficial sure, but you hit the nail on the head Likeyoucare. Diana is THE reason for the surge in global popularity that the BRF experienced in the 80s and it was her genes that helped mute out the Windsor ones, at least for a while. It’s HER popularity that transferred over to her sons such that the world was interested in watching them grow up and become men. Regardless of her mistakes, the BRF owes her big time even if they will never admit it.

    • Oh says:

      as if Diana’s sons are handsome lol. Yes Harry is a little bit attractive now but William …

  20. Original Penguin says:

    I can’t wait to discuss the series properly. I thought the 2 scenes that focused on Andrew were perfect. They brought up underage girls and his whinny-ness about his position and issues with Charles without overtly saying anything.

    Given they aren’t going to the present day this was a great way to foreshadow the future

  21. teehee says:

    Ive said it before but its worth repeating here:
    The monarchy is a power institution. It is only interested in itself and protecting its power.
    If you come in and are more popular and thus wield more influence (power) than the monarchy, you got to go.

  22. Foile.15 says:

    I guess I am a bit more on the fence regarding Diana, although of course my info is mainly from the tv show. But who marries a man she met 3 times over 2 odd years with almost no contact outside of these meetings? This plus the man is part of the royal family. Any history book can tell you by what principles they get married and how your life is going to look like.
    She was at best naive I’d say, although she did have an aristocratic background so she did not enter an unknown world.

    Her complaints seem like those of someone who wanted to become a doctor because they like the outfit, authority and salary and then get upset if they have to deal with sick people. She was coached before the wedding of what was expected of her. If she didn’t marry for love, and didn’t want to conform why go ahead on the marriage? Either to be a princess no matter what or some real delusions about changing a century old institution?

    That said, she did have charisma. But as the Crown makes clear, the royal institution requires of the people to put their personality on ice in order to become symbols, so even if they had her charisma (Margaret comes to mind) they were not allowed to show it.