When you think about it, The Crown really has no business being as good as it is. Even the most ardent lover of history has to admit than an episode of television featuring several Cabinet meetings could be pretty dry. But somehow, due to creator Peter Morgan’s writing, it’s easily one of the best and most riveting shows of the past decade. I teared up during that scene when Winston Churchill sat in a chair to be painted and talked with the artist about ponds, an event that in real life would be just as boring as it sounds like it should be. Granted, John Lithgow can so anything, but still… Everything about this show works together so well it’s basically witchcraft. That continued in Season 2, and stories got a bit juicier without drifting into melodrama territory: The Kennedys, Prince Philip’s implied affair, the past finally catching up with former King Edward VIII.
So while we know that the future direction of the show is in the best of hands, fans were worried that the perfect casting of the first two seasons couldn’t be recreated. Can you really catch lightning in a bottle twice? It turns out maybe you can, because things are shaping up really nicely to say the least. Olivia Colman, who I instantly became a lifelong fan of when her pregnant character in The Night Manager completely wrecked a bad guy to save the day, will play Queen Elizabeth. After a few names—notably Paul Bettany and Hugh Laurie—were bandied about, Outlander star Tobias Menzies was chosen to play Prince Philip. Beth wrote an emergency post when he was cast, and Outlander fans are thrilled. Not being a fan of the show myself, I haven’t seen Menzies in much, but if the passion of his fan base is any indication of his talent then I’m positive I’ll be impressed. I’ll also be in the interesting position of watching an actress I love, Helena Bonham Carter, play Princess Margaret.
And now we have a Princess Anne! Actress Erin Doherty has previously been in Call the Midwife, a show I haven’t seen but that has been recommended to me several times. An episode at the end of The Crown‘s last season focused in part on young Prince Charles, but thus far Anne has gotten a few mentions on the show and nothing else. With the time period of 1964-1976, there are several Anne-centric stories we’ll most likely get to see. A young woman during those years, she begins dating, and her first boyfriend was Andrew Parker Bowles. It’s not really a spoiler alert to say that that name is going to come back around. She married Mark Phillips in 1973. I love a good royal wedding, but what I’ll love even more is watching her be snarky to an attempted kidnapper.
In 1974, a car carrying Princess Anne and her husband was forced to stop on the road by another vehicle, and a would-be abductor shot four people (all of whom thankfully recovered) to get to Anne. Hoping to hold her for ransom, the man tried to get her into his car, a request to which she famously responded, “Not bloody likely!” While no doubt a terrifying situation, I think that’s one of the better reactions one could have to a situation like that. I’d like to believe that I’m that badass, but if I’m being honest with myself I highly doubt I could pull it off.
One of my favorite aspects of Elizabeth’s character in The Crown is how she can calmly and politely tell someone to go to hell. One of the best moments of Season 2 was when the Queen ethered the Prime Minister right to his face when he was wheeled in front of her on a stretcher to resign. Absolutely savage, Liz. I’m glad that was a trait that was passed on from mother to daughter.
Sadly, we’re not getting a new season of The Crown this year. But some time in 2019 I’ll be blocking out the entire weekend to see how the next chapter in the lives of the members of The House of Windsor goes down, and to cheer for Anne as she gives what for to some dickhead with a gun.