Season 4 of The Crown was full of all the expected drama, as characters completely changed from their previous ways, some becoming totally unlikable.
The publicity whirlwind around season 4 of the royal drama The Crown hasn’t died down yet, and it doesn’t seem likely that it will anytime soon. The show delved deep into the fraught relationship shared by Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the Queen, as well as the explosive and sadly doomed marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Showrunner Peter Morgan describes the show as “an act of creative imagination,” yet it’s worth remembering that almost everything that is depicted on The Crown is based on history and facts, albeit dramatized (or not, according to some). In season 4, fans saw their favorite characters flip sides and become the complete opposite of who they used to be in previous seasons.
Gone was the sweet, considerate Charles of season 3 who cared for the Welsh, and well, for anything apart from himself. He was thought of as one of the best characters in season 3 of The Crown, but the neglect and disrespect for his wonderful wife and his ongoing affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles made him the worst character in the show.
The Prince refused to mature and accept his responsibilities to the Crown, resented his wife because she was more popular than him, mocked her for her efforts to impress him whenever she tried to do something for him (like the Uptown Girl dance), and dressed her down because his mistress felt overshadowed by Diana. There was no redeeming quality about Charles at all.
Not far behind on the unlikability scale is Charles’ true love, Camilla. Despite being married to Andrew, she continued to see Charles, while encouraging him to marry Diana. Her idea for lunch with Diana was ill-intentioned from the start: she just wanted to make a young girl at the cusp of marriage feel bad for not knowing her fiancé very well.
She had made a nest with a married man at Highgrove and blamed Diana for her own lack of charisma and insecurities. Camilla kept her own marriage happy and intact, but made sure that Charles and Diana had a tumultuous one because of her irresponsible behavior and vitriolic conversations about Diana.
Tobias Menzies’ Prince Philip was a lot more measured and a lot less unfaithful than Matt Smith’s Prince Philip, but even his enduring love and support for his wife couldn’t cover the distasteful parts of him. His hostility towards Charles after Dickie’s death was absurd during a time of grief and mourning, and his general pushiness for Charles to get married to Diana didn’t end well for anyone.
His fondness for Diana was a redeeming quality, but this was negated by his thinly veiled threat to her during the finale: that she would regret doing anything unsavory to harm the reputation of the Crown.
Queen Elizabeth II, played by Olivia Colman, just did not care for her family whatsoever. Since season 3, she has ignored all of Charles’ cries for help, and instead lambasted him to no end. She continued the trend into season 4 with her deliberate ignorance of Diana’s pleas for help before and after the wedding, which didn’t look too good on her.
The fact that she had to have impersonal meetings with her own children to find out what was going on in their lives, and weirdly who was her favorite, was also quite astonishing. When she picked notorious Andrew as her pet, audiences’ hopes in the Queen crashed completely.
Margaret Thatcher was a character worthy of respect, but had some questionable notions about how a country should progress (to say the least), which puts her somewhere in the middle. She overcame huge barriers to become the first woman PM of her country and entered the office with high regard for family values and the desire to better the nation.
However, as time passed she led with an iron fist, waged wars which could have been avoided, refused to act against apartheid, and insisted that feelings of community and helping each other out were against Britain’s economic progress, which could only happen with a “to each their own” attitude.
Princess Anne has long been a favorite among fans, with her direct and on-the-nose sense of humor. She participated in the Olympics during her lifetime, and in season 4, audiences got to see her vulnerable side. She laid bare her insecurities and her threadbare marriage, and her triumph in the sports department was well-liked.
Anne’s relationship with her father was also quite heartwarming, but fans liked her a little less when she participated in the mockery of Diana behind her back and resented her for her popularity too.
The troublemaking, unpredictable Princess Margaret wasn’t as vivacious as she had been in previous seasons, but she showed a side to her which was unprecedentedly kind. Compassion was not a word associated with the royal, but she instantly recognized the trouble in Charles’ marriage from previous experience and attempted to alert the Queen and Queen Mother about Diana’s fragile state.
She also tracked down her differently-abled cousins, Nerissa and Katherine, who had been pronounced dead, but unfairly locked away in an institute to keep from tarnishing the name of the Crown. Her fury at the lack of humanity in her family was refreshing to watch, and her brave struggles with her lung disease and mental issues were commendable.
Margaret Thatcher’s husband was one of the good ones. He supported his wife to the ends of the Earth, and never showed a single sign of toxic masculinity through their marriage. He understood his role in the marriage and accepted it with grace.
Dennis also knew that Margaret wasn’t as fond of their daughter Carol, so he provided Carol with the love and support she needed as well. Dennis’ love for his wife and devotion to his family was loved by many fans.
Emma Corrin’s Princess Diana was the largest jewel on the proverbial crown in season 4. Diana was a triumph: inside and out. Her beauty was the subject of everyone’s conversations, but she was also a loving wife, a devoted mother, and unfailingly kind to the public as well. While she struggled privately with her eating disorder, Diana continued to be brave and compassionate to those who needed it the most.
She championed charities and the arts and treated the masses with love and respect, which the Royals were not known to do. Hugging an HIV patient in the time of immense doubt and taboo was extremely brave, yet she used her celebrity to better the lives of those in need, while also trying to make her failing marriage work against all odds. Her courage and kindness were the highlights of The Crown in season 4.
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