Watching this was like spending an hour reminiscing with old friends – some laughs, some sighs. They had a nerve calling it “Secrets of the Crown”, though. What secrets?! At one point, they produced a document from the archives, and announced that … ta-da … it had cost £50 to hire all the chairs for the Queen and Prince Philip’s wedding. Hold the front pages! And they must have spent a good five minutes discussing the creases in Diana’s wedding dress. I wasn’t really expecting any great revelations, though, and it was easy watching. And they kept going on about what a wonderful team the Queen and Philip make, and how theirs is the longest royal marriage in British history. Bless 😊. Unsubtle use of “the Crown” in the title. I haven’t got a Netflix sub, so I’ve never seen “The Crown”, but I’ve never been sure that I want to. But I do like things like this.
This was supposed to be about balancing love and duty. A few bits had clearly been hastily shoved in at the last minute, after Harry and Meghan jumped ship, but I assume the rest of it had been filmed a while ago and that the timing was just a weird coincidence. Out came all the old stories! Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, and whether or not they sympathised with the Nazis. The establishment not being overly chuffed with Princess Elizabeth wanting to marry Prince Philip, and how she stood her ground. Was she ringing Philip from the telecommunications carriage on the train, during the 21st birthday tour of South Africa? No idea, but I hope so. The much-told stories of how Queen Mary mistaking the traycloth that Gandhi sent them as a wedding present for a loincloth, and how people sent Princess Elizabeth their own clothing coupons – proving how wrong those grumpy MPs who said that people weren’t in the mood for a big royal wedding were. Never trust MPs!
The one part of the programme where they deviated from the traditional view of things was whilst discussing Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend. Most people take the view that Princess Margaret decided she didn’t fancy giving up her royal status, but this showed documents agreeing that she could keep her royal status, and her Civil List income, and generally carry on as before, and that all she’d have had to give up was her place in the line of succession, which was irrelevant anyway because Prince Charles and Princess Anne were ahead of her. Their interpretation of events was that she just decided that Peter Townsend wasn’t Mr Right after all. Who knows? I don’t think anyone buys all that “mindful of the teachings of the church” stuff, though!
Then they brought up all the speculation in the late 1950s that all wasn’t well between the Queen and Prince Philip. See, all the Royals get hassle from the press. Remember all those headlines about “the Duchess of Pork”, “Sophie and the Fake Sheikh” and “Waity Katy”? And it’s not just here – it happens to the royal families of other countries too. How Harry and Meghan can be so self-obsessed as to make out that the media are picking on them in particular is beyond me. Look at all the grief Camilla’s had to put up with. It must be horrendous, but keep calm, be dignified, carry on, and it passes.
They were very even-handed, in this programme, with Charles and Diana, which I was impressed with – it annoys me when people try to vilify one or the other of them. Can we just accept that it was a bad match? They’re hardly the first people to have made bad choices of partner, and, if they’d been any other couple, they’d have split up very soon after the wedding. It’s sad, though. Easy to be wise after the event, but, looking now at the pre-wedding interviews, it was so obviously a disaster waiting to happen. I’ve seen better chemistry between complete strangers. Oh dear 😦 .
Finally, the latest generation of royal couples. High, and well-deserved, praise for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and especially for the Duchess. As for the Sussexes, enough’s been said about them over the last few weeks, and may they stay out of the headlines like they claim they want to. But it was the Queen and Prince Philip who were the stars of the show. As great royal romances go, theirs is right up there.
So, like I said, it was like reminiscing with old friends. But there were definitely no secrets revealed!