In the fourth episode of the sixth season of The Crown – be careful, some disappointment is coming –, with Diana recently deceased, we witness the only memorable line of dialogue of this new installment. In the discussion about the details of the transfer of Lady Di’s body from Paris to London, Prince Charles is in favor of following the current protocol for members of the royal family, even though it is no longer so. And he sarcastically rebuts a reluctant Elizabeth II through one of her employees: “He asked if she would prefer us to bring her in a van from Harrods.”
Well, these four episodes that Netflix has released before the final installment of the series hits our screens in mid-December have arrived in a van from Harrods. With scripts that do not do justice to what was an extraordinary series in its first seasons. There are those who attribute the recent disdain towards the series not to its current low quality, but to the fact that it narrates events that many of us have experienced. We have real life to compare, they say, and we lose out.
But we also have fiction to compare. Peter Morgan himself portrayed the events surrounding Lady Di’s death from a much more adult perspective in the extraordinary The Queen. For The Crown they have only been a missed opportunity. Using ghosts to explain the subtext is as crude a resource as doing it with a voice-over.
The day Diana died, my sister had her birthday. My mother had gone out to run some errands, and when my sister and I got up, we found a note: “Happy birthday daughter, I’ll be back soon. She loves you, your mother. PS: Lady Di has died.” I wish The Crown had lived up to my mother’s standards.
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