Ever since time immemorial, the Royal Family has been both an attraction and a repulsion for many across the globe. It is of no surprise that they would be yet another dysfunctional family wrapped in intricate traditions and self-brought complications.
For some odd reason, while watching the series ‘The Crown’ (watch it on Netflix if you haven’t already) it struck me that the Royal Family, though a tad bit suffocating to be a part of, is just like any other family. I binge-watched it on several occasions simply because there was one or the other character I could relate to on a personal note. Upon completing the series, I thought to myself, why not write an article about the Royal Family from a different perspective. A perspective that sees them as any other family. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Now mind you, before I watched the series on Netflix, I had my share of colored judgements about the Royal Family. But that inevitably changed for the better upon completing the series.
Every family has that one person who is the Head of the family, whether it’s known explicitly or otherwise. Within the Royal Family, it is certainly the Queen herself. She was unpredictably made Queen with her father’s sudden passing away when she was only 25 years old and a newly married. Throughout the first season of the show, it threw light upon the hefty responsibility she solely had on her shoulders. To make matters worse, the ego clash Prince Philip had with her erupted like that of a boiling volcano. The newly married couple underwent an unexpected upheaval and it was only natural for the two of them to react in their own way to the situation before them.
Upon watching the series, it opened my eyes to the fact that why the Queen took a particular decision or the circumstances she was shackled in forcing her to make decisions that was mostly a disagreement to thousands and the public developed a grudge against the Queen herself.
A classic example was that of choosing the bride for Prince Charles. Lord Mountbatten had ‘suggested’ the young Prince to play the field. (I still wonder what went on in his mind while scribbling down those words in the letter he wrote to Prince Charles.) When the Prince was known in the media for his playboy demeanor was when he met Camilla Shand. It was and still is obvious that Prince Charles was head over heels in love with Camilla Shand and vice versa. As soon as the question of Prince Charles getting married cropped up, the Queen was in support of Charles marrying the woman he loved, irrespective of how Camilla was in the past. But then the rest of the family, especially the genius Mountbatten himself was against it simply on the grounds that Camilla was not ‘Queen material’ and that would question the integrity of the Royal Family.
Another distinct character each family would have is the Life of the Party, vivacious and eye-catchy person whom almost everyone is in awe of. From my observations, both Princess Margaret and Princess Diana shared these above-mentioned traits. Though explicitly each of them had their unique aura, as individuals both these women had gone through frequent rough patches in their personal lives.
Both Princess Margaret and Princess Diana have been pivotal in unscrambling some of the most heated British Diplomatic affairs. When either of the Princesses walked up into a room, a sudden sparkle that they possessed almost immediately illuminated the dull atmosphere. Be it the successful American trip in 1965 that Princess Margaret along with her then-husband Antony Armstrong-Jones embarked on or the famous Australian tour that Prince Charles and Princess Diana voyaged on in 1983, the media back then could not get enough of either of the Princesses.
Another unfortunate incident that both the Princesses had in common were their shattered marriages. Though both the Princesses preferred keeping it under the wraps, the crazy paparazzis squirmed through to expose the extra-marital affairs that both Prince Charles and Antony Armstrong-Jones had engaged in. Princess Margaret and Princess Diana are the examples of ‘Not every Princess gets her Fairy Tale.’
There’s always that one person in the family who is considered as ‘The Outsider’ simply because they cannot comply to the Royal Traditions. In this context, I drew parallels between Prince Philip, Antony Armstrong-Jones and Princess Diana, the reason being all three of them were rebellious in their own irreplaceable manner and their immense passion for humanity.
Prince Philip was could have had a successful Naval Career but he had to step down once his wife was declared Queen. The series constantly highlights his disinterest in the mundane Royal routine that he was forcibly made part of. One of the episodes that portrays Prince Philip’s love for gadgets and the latest gizmos is seen in ‘Moondust’ (Season 3, Episode 7) where the Prince was thrilled to witness the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon for the first time. Not only throughout the episode but all along the series Prince Philip is not a person who would merely bow down and follow Royal customs. He had several ambitions and passions which manifested in the form of his participation with 800 organizations that focused on environment, industry, sports and many more.
Antony Armstrong-Jones was a photographer who not only wanted to capture life’s beauty but its darker side too. Although the character comes only once in a blue moon through the series, whenever he does appear it is either to indirectly bash the monotony of the Royal Family or to get to the ground reality of an actual problem the country was facing. This is shown during the Aberfan disaster. Jones heads out to the coal mine disaster site to witness the cruel reality. Through his character it is very clear that he wanted to be an active voice for all the economic and political turmoil that the country encountered with.
Princess Diana. The name in itself rings volumes that my words would not do justice to all that she has revolutionized during her days. But nevertheless, I shall try my best. She was unapologetically herself in all aspects. Right from the way she approached motherhood to being the first British Royal in de-stigmatizing HIV-AIDS Princess Diana surely stood for what she genuinely believed in. another crucial aspect the series depicted was the intensity of mental health and body image related disorders like bulimia which Princess Diana underwent in her real life. Through her character, the series paints a picture that even the Royal Family are human beings basically at the end of day.
In short, Prince Philip, Armstrong Jones and Princess Diana are those who proved to themselves and to the world that “Actions speak louder than words.”
Overall watching The Crown has been a ‘one-of-its kind’ experiences. I highly recommend each of you reading the article to watch it. You can thank me later!