‘The Crown’ stars cover Town & Country, talk about modern Sussex parallels

United States President Donald J. Trump Departure

Emma Corrin, Josh O’Connor, and Emerald Fennell cover the latest issue of Town & Country. They are (in order): Lady Diana Spencer, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles in Season 4 of The Crown. I was expecting a sort of hazy, sugary joint interview with them, considering this is an American publication and Americans, by and large, still have such a great deal of affection for all things royal and all things Diana. But there were some shady comments about the Windsors, and some truths told about how poorly Diana was treated by everyone, from the Queen to Charles to Camilla and beyond. Showrunner/creator Peter Morgan also speaks about Prince Harry and Meghan and the parallel to Diana. Some highlights:

Emma worked with her speech therapist mother to get Diana’s voice: She analyzed Diana’s speech patterns with the help of her mother, a speech therapist. “No matter what Diana is saying, it kind of goes down at the end,” Corrin says, slipping into the hauntingly similar imitation that makes her so believable. “It’s like a sadness.”

Emma on playing an iconic figure: “I hate being asked what it’s like to play someone iconic. It makes her untouchable—the whole point was that she was touchable.”

How Diana was treated by the Windsors: “The coldness, the traditions, and the expectations of behavior…I don’t think she expected that. I think she expected to join a family.” As for the situation today, the actress sees some parallels. “You just want to shake these tabloids and say, can’t you see history repeating itself?”

Oh, this is good: Margaret Thatcher lends her own perspective on the Windsors during a disastrous weekend of shooting at Balmoral. “What am I doing here?” snarls the sublime Gillian Anderson, in full Thatcher garb. “They aren’t sophisticated or cultured or elegant or anything close to an ideal. They’re—” “Boorish, snobbish, and rude?” her husband offers.

Emerald Fennell on playing Camilla:
When she got the part, she returned to smoking. “There’s a personality type I think that goes with it,” she says, describing Camilla as “languid, but actively so.” Camilla is, according to Fennell, “the only person who didn’t want it and wasn’t impressed by it.”

Peter Morgan on the Sussexes: “The Meghan and Harry story is nowhere near over yet. And I’m happy that I’m never going to write it.”

Emma on the Sussexes: But that doesn’t mean that The Crown won’t touch on some of the themes that run through the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s ongoing tale. Emma Corrin, the newcomer who plays Princess Diana, definitely sees similarities between her character’s plight and Meghan’s. “You just want to shake these tabloids and say, can’t you see history repeating itself?”

[From Town & Country]

Boorish, snobbish, and rude? Kitty can scratch! I love where Peter Morgan is going with this! Honestly though, what if The Crown is actually just an elaborate takedown of the British monarchy, a factual dramatization in which this family’s thin veneer of respectability, duty and honor is stripped away and we see them for who they really are: a group of backstabbing, petty, rude a–holes? Hm.

Photos courtesy of Town & Country.

Related stories

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

42 Responses to “‘The Crown’ stars cover Town & Country, talk about modern Sussex parallels”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Caroline says:

    There are no words to describe how much I love their photoshoot and the interview. I am incredibly excited for the new season.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      I finally watched season 3 and it was amazing with some really well-constructed eps – especially the first about Anthony Blunt being a Russian spy and the ep where Charles is invested as Prince of Wales! Def on a par with season 1 and I’m am ridiculously excited about season 4.

      I also have to say that season 3 was not flattering to the Queen. She hardly had any sympathetic moments unlike the previous 2 seasons.

      • Desert Lizard says:

        I remember when I first watched season 3, how struck I was by the change in the portrayal of the Queen. The first two seasons I thought Claire Foy portrayed her sympathetically while still capturing her strength and drive. With Olivia Colman, it seemed suddenly all empathy and compassion had been driven out of HM.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Claire Foy’s Elizabeth is still a relatively young woman who have her insecurities – both with her role and in her life (Philip the Arse). Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth is a woman who has been in the job for a long time – she has experience but she’s also become rigid.

        In the first season especially we saw an Elizabeth who at least tried to fight back against the rigid nature of the palace machine but now she’s stopped doing that and has stopped trying to let them manage and dictate her life and choices completely – and now you see the Palace machine trying to beat Charles into submission. It will be interesting to see how Elizabeth is portrayed in the later seasons – because I have a feeling that as she gets older, she stops caring so much and lets the inhuman palace machine manage things because it is easier – and the grey men and their system is just very inhumane and they ruin the lives of the people they manage (if those people don’t fall to heel).The only time we really saw her sparkle (and happy) was in the episode where she was taking a break and travelling around visiting race and breeding stables. She’s stuck in a job and a role she doesn’t really like – and her real passion can only be a hobby for her. It is kinda sad.

        So we see an Elizabeth who have become older and colder – because it is too much work and trouble to try to relate to her relatives (and especially her heir) outside of the internal hierarchical organization that manages the lives of the royals.

  2. candy says:

    I can’t get over how good these performances are, and how closely these actors resemble their characters in real life!

  3. Mignionette says:

    Let the BINGE begin…..

    • Becks1 says:

      I thought it came out tomorrow and I was really sad to realize it comes out on Sunday.

      I remember last year the third season debuted right around the time of Andrew’s BBC interview (maybe even the same weekend! I just remember watching the interview on Sunday AM and then watching the Crown, but maybe I was late to the Crown last year) and that ended up weirdly working out in the Crown’s favor because it put a lot of spotlight on the monarchy.

      • Mignionette says:

        Yep it’s out on the 15th (Sunday).

        I usually watch the first episode on the Sunday eve and then trickle the rest throughout the week.

        Now that we’re in lock down that’s actually welcome.

  4. Cee says:

    From what I’ve seen, Emma Corrin channels such a vulnerable Diana it is uncanny. It gives me goosebumps.
    Diana was problematic and had her issues – but the Windsors broke her. I can somewhat understand Kate’s empty vessel vibe, she’s trying to survive and get to the top.
    The way Meghan has been treated by born Royals and their vipers just shows they’ve learned nothing and they have truly managed to make her the new Diana. Except this time someone stepped in and removed her from it all. Harry made his mother proud.

    • Prof Trelawney says:

      I know… Tho I think they almost broke her, but didn’t in the end, yes she was flawed and had her challenges, inc possible BPD, but she found her way to meaningful, impactful work on landmines and w her various charities. And even earlier when she touched the AIDS patient’s hands — that really humanized an issue that Reagan and others were doing their best to dehumanize. She made a real difference, against a lot of odds. Also, I think Kate learned the lesson to never overshadow William, Charles or the Queen, whereas Harry learned to not let the palace overshadow your higher purpose, inc love and service. It’s almost Shakespearian now, the tale of two brothers. Anyway, I cannot wait for The Crown!

  5. Becks1 says:

    I know we discuss on here a lot whether the Crown is pro monarchy or anti monarchy, but I think its point is just the last sentence – remove the thin veneer of respectability and see them for who they really are – and who they really are isn’t very good. They’re motivate by class, power, money, and hierarchy.

    I agree with I think its Sofia who says that this isn’t a takedown of the monarchy, but I don’t think the Queen is coming out of it looking good, especially when you see how Margaret was treated and then how Diana is treated and compare it to Harry and Meghan – this is going to be messy.

    • Mignionette says:

      I think these first few seasons have actually helped to humanise the dysfunction.

      Eventually I suspect the franchise will be bought / sold and then the gloves will be off, especially given the whole Meg and Harry debacle as currently the headlines are writing themselves.

      Also Betty and Philip are getting on so I suspect the series will end with Chucks Coronation.

      • Sofia says:

        Peter Morgan is ending the series at Season 6 and it might not even go up to Charles and Camilla’s wedding let alone coronation aka something that we have no date for yet or even know which year.

        This show, written/produced in this style will end in 2023 (most likely). Morgan himself is admitting in this very interview that he won’t be writing Harry and Meghan’s story.

        That doesn’t mean someone else won’t take it on or whatever but I think we’re going to have to wait a while (as in when things aren’t so “fresh”) for their story to be decently written/acted/produced.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Mignionnette – I thought the first two seasons humanized the family a lot. I thought the third season made the queen seem very hard and cold.

        My guess is the series will end with the golden jubilee and/or the Queen Mother’s death. I think season 5 will end with Diana’s death (like if I were in charge, I would have the final shot of season 5 be Diana getting in the car or heading into the tunnel) and then season 6 will deal with the aftermath and the next few years and then I think end in 2002.

        But, alas, I am not in charge of these decisions.

      • Mignionette says:

        @Sofia I think you misunderstood my post. I understand that the brief was initially 5 seasons, however what I am saying is that the franchise will likely be bought (for the right price), by someone who is ‘happy to go there’.

        The current writers clearly tow the line, but there is just too much gold to be made by the most recent exploits of the BRF, especially the later Diana years, Lamebridges, Sussexes and Chucks eventual Coronation which I suspect is now very imminent.

        It’s a Brit show so I suspect the writing won’t quite be ‘guns at dawn’ but I think it will definitely be more ‘hands on’.

      • Sofia says:

        @Mignionette: I don’t doubt that there’s a lot of potential but it’s not going to happen now or even in a few years. Anything that’s made too soon will be biased a certain way (either towards the Sussexes or the BRF)

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Yeah, but the guy who plays Charles said in an interview with Sky News said that he hoped people can feel some empathy for Charles. So I guess their comments are determined by which publication or news outlet they talk to.

    • Becks1 says:

      I felt empathy for Charles in the third season. that line from the Duchess of Windsor – when Charles says his family means well and she’s like, “no they don’t” – that was chilling. And probably very true, to this day.

    • Mignionette says:

      He’s just protecting his OBE and acting career. A lot of UK actors actually who are happy to comment on political events but not the Royal Family, even the most liberal ones.

    • Myra says:

      It’s possible they wanted to show how the royals, as individuals, are naive and idealistic when young, but as they grow older they inevitably become part of the machinations. The individual person is replaced by the monarch. If the machination itself is cold and ruthless, the royals also eventually become cold and ruthless, or at least less sympathetic than they were when they were younger.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        I think is def what they’ve been doing with Elizabeth in season 3 and I think it is actually a very interesting premise – because it really highlights how it is the institution itself (or how it is managed in Britain by a very rigid bureaucratic hierarchy) that makes the familial dysfunction run amok. These people don’t know how to be a family because their staff has too much power – and because the top boss isn’t able to put the staff in their place.

        It was noticeable in the first two seasons where Elizabeth had good intentions but she constantly caved to what the senior courtiers (especially Tommy Lascalles) said was proper procedure, protocol etc. We were shown a Queen who was manipulated by her senior staff (even ex-staff), a Queen who was unable to enforce her wishes for how she wanted her administration to work and who caved to the powers that be.

        In season 3 she has just given up trying to define her role – she has become defined by her role (even as a person). In season 3 the palace machine has moved onto Charles – trying to break him down enough to make him do what they want (and that system is aided and abetted by people he trusts – Mountbatten and the Queen Mother). That means that Charles is portrayed with a lot of sympathy in season 3 – but I suspect that may not entirely be the case in season 4. I think we’ll see a season 5 where Charles have been beaten by the Palace system – and where the person they want to break is Diana though she puts up much more of a fight that they anticipated.

  7. MaryContrary says:

    I couldn’t even watch last season because I’ve become so disgusted with the BRF over their treatment of H & M. But this makes me want to start back up.

    • Amy Bee says:

      Me too.

    • Bettyrose says:

      The first two seasons are vert sympathetic to Liz, but season 3 turns a corner. Maybe it’s historically accurate that young Liz was trying to rise to her position and then at some point was empowered to become this machiavellian manipulator of her offspring. I still don’t know what to make of the Aberfan episode, though. If she really was that callous, it’s hard to believe her heart was ever in the right place (as depicted in seasons 1 & 2).

      • Myra says:

        Historically, it wasn’t uncommon for freedom fighters to turn into despots. A lot of people (politician) start out well and end up being part of the very thing they were fighting to change once.

  8. Sofia says:

    I’m definitely watching when it comes out on Sunday. I’m just going to keep expectations low in terms of how the Windsors are portrayed lol

  9. Mumbles says:

    Love the styling of the shoot.

    I think the series has up to now been very sympathetic to Charles, from the early season when he gets sent to that brutal Gordonstoun over Eton, to his getting dressed down for his speech in Wales by the Queen, to all the shenanigans about Camilla. He comes off as a sad sack. Looking forward to seeing the next season.

  10. Chill says:

    I use to love the British monarchy. Now, not so much. But, I love The Crown and will be watching on Sunday. Sorry, not watching. Binge watching.

  11. S808 says:

    I hope S4 is better! S3 was so boring I had to force myself to get through it.

    • Mignionette says:

      S3 was painful. Admittedly not much salacious scandal. I did like the episodes with Princess Alice.

      I love Olivia Colman as an actress but she was cast badly as middle aged-ish queen. She doesn’t have the mannerisms or voice as down as Claire Foy.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      I actually loved season 3 – I think that the overarching themes of the show became increasingly clear and there were some superbly constructed episodes. Particularly the first ep where it was revealed that Sir Anthony Blunt was a Russian spy (one of the infamous Cambridge Four). The way that they constructed the denouement in parallel to him giving a talk about the allegorical content in a baroque painting with Truth unmasking the two-faced Deceit was just so well-done. As was episode 6 where Charles was invested as Prince of Wales – and where his idealism was cruelly trounced by his mother – with the episode ending with Charles performing a soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Richard II:

      “For within the hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits, Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp, Allowing him a breath, a little scene, To monarchise, be fear’d and kill with looks, Infusing him with self and vain conceit, As if this flesh which walls about our life, Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus Comes at the last and with a little pin Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king! Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood With solemn reverence: throw away respect, Tradition, form and ceremonious duty, For you have but mistook me all this while: I live with bread like you, feel want, Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus, How can you say to me, I am a king?”

      Those episodes were incredibly well-written! In terms of writing and how the narrative is constructed to illuminate character, season 3 is on a par with season 2, which I think is the weakest yet with only 1 truly brilliant ep (Paterfamilias).

  12. Redgrl says:

    I didn’t like how the Queen was reduced to a largely supporting character in S3. Morgan was more interested in telling the men‘s stories than hers which I found frustrating and wrong. And the fact that Anne was barely covered at all, and there isn’t any mention of the kidnapping attempt on her further proves my point. The attempted humanizing of Edward VIII was sickening too. He was a nazi supporter, not a “visionary” or whatever the hell Charles called him in one of the episodes…

    • Sofia says:

      With that visionary thing I think that was the whole point. Charles was making a lot of assumptions because he needed and wanted it to fit his narrative of “progressive King stunted by the establishment” because that’s what he sees himself as and needs to see someone else in his position (or future position) in order to justify it. The romanticism was the point.

    • ShazBot says:

      This has been my issue with the series since it started – Peter Morgan has always been more interested in telling the mens stories and you can tell he doesn’t have good female writers (if any). He did absolutely nothing with the Elizabeth/Margaret relationship, and considering Elizabeth wears the eponymous crown, you’d think the show was actually about Philip.

  13. Dee Kay says:

    The story I really hope gets done by a future series on the British Royal Family is Andrew’s!!!! And as a part of that story, how the family totally threw Meghan to the wolves while shielding Andrew at every turn. THAT would be a show I would watch.

  14. Singhsong says:

    I just came here to say that I want ALL of their coats/vest in that bottom pic. Just sublime.

  15. Shoshone says:

    If the series does eventually portray events up to the present I would be very interested in the treatment of Carole Middleton.

  16. Isabella says:

    I really liked the Crown until it became all about Lord Mount-Batten–and barely about Elizabeth. Huh? What? Frankly, I was relieved when he died. I get that he was Charles’ mentor, but we learned more about him and other dry old men than Charles. Ugh, Ugh.

    Emerald Fennell Is delightful as Camilla.

  17. Kalana says:

    I think Claire Foy’s beauty made the Queen too sympathetic and the over-emphasis on Philip added to that. They also totally ruined the Queen Mother as a character. She was the iron fist in the velvet glove not a dotty old woman. Peter Morgan isn’t good at writing for women.

  18. Sid says:

    “Honestly though, what if The Crown is actually just an elaborate takedown of the British monarchy, a factual dramatization in which this family’s thin veneer of respectability, duty and honor is stripped away and we see them for who they really are: a group of backstabbing, petty, rude a–holes? Hm.”

    This is exactly what I came away with after binge watching all 3 seasons for the first time. I didn’t think the Queen or Philip or anyone really came off all that well even in the first 2 seasons. I had sympathy for some of the things they went through that brought them to where they were, but my biggest takeaway was that the whole BRF is an outdated dysfunctional mess.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      I came away with that impression too – but perhaps more along the lines of how the way the institution is managed by the senior staff is slowly eroding the monarchy because they are incredibly rigid and hidebound, rooted in the late Edwardian age and unable to adapt to the charging times. instead, they are incredibly good at managing and shaping the royals so they cave to the institutional system – and not caring that they are exacerbating if not out-right creating the familial dysfunction that is becoming more and more public.

      In season 1 and 2 Elizabeth tries, rather weakly, to buck the system a bit. But she eventually caves and then we see a woman who’s succumbed to an inhuman system. Now the focus is on making Charles conform and he is trying a bit harder – but I suspect that we’ll eventually see a man who has succumbed to the system as well.

      Regarding the complaints about the lack of exclusive focus on the Queen. I think that is partly because Elizabeth II is not that interesting a person and that she has cultivated a remoteness that makes her into a sort of cipher (just like Kate does). We know more about the personalities of the rest of the family. Furthermore, the Crown doesn’t just refer to the Monarch but the entire institution in this show – and we repeatedly see how the courtiers (and senior royals) use the Crown as a justification to be cruel to their relatives and interfere in their lives. The Crown blights the family in this show and I find it a very interesting dynamic to see as it is portrayed here.

  19. L4frimaire says:

    Ok, I have this issue in my unread magazine pile so will have to go through the article. Also love those teddy bear coats. They’re ridiculous but I want one. That Thatcher line rings so true. That recent stunt with the wreath shows how incredibly rude and tone deaf they are. All their efforts to freeze Meghan out were just so unnecessarily cruel and blatant, and they’ll make themselves look ridiculous to still try to score points against her, even though they left like they wanted them to. They could have sent them on a round the world tour or made them Ambassadors to Latvia instead, but press hounding was more lucrative. I have ever gotten the impression that, despite their charitable veneer, that they have actually championed anything with sincerity , whether the arts, education, sports, outside of Charles and his causes( and his impact has diminished) and Harry and the military. This season of the Crown will be interesting but last season was a bit of a snooze, and hope no one is expecting some grand revelation or anything to make the BRF see the errors of their wicked ways. They’ll dig in deeper and unveil a few more plaques, do more Zoom calls, write some more smears about H&M, and bring out some 80s shoulder pads.