The Crown, a Netflix political drama series, is currently in its fourth season, which spans the late 1970s and the entire 1980s. Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), the longest-serving British prime minister, rose and fell during this decade, becoming known for her hard-line approach to politics and pretty much everything.
Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) is the season’s second newcomer, whose marriage to Prince Charles was hailed by British tabloids as the stuff of fairy tales. A prince and his unquestionably attractive young wife. That was, of course, before reports of their adultery and other marital issues started to circulate (in the same tabloids, no less), resulting in their divorce.
In some ways, the Queen is less dominant this season than she was previously, both in terms of global affairs and the unfolding drama. Princess Margaret and the Duke of Edinburgh have both been widely neglected. New additions, luckily, more than makeup for it.
Gillian Anderson is consistently as excellent as Margaret Thatcher, and her depiction of the late Conservative Party leader comes dangerously close to becoming a stereotype. She doesn’t look or sound like Thatcher, but her exquisite impersonation of a few slight mannerisms makes the interpretation feel amazingly real.
Thatcher’s conduct in The Crown would not confuse someone who knows their past. She is, however, the most convincing character this season due to the characterization and insight offered, as well as Anderson’s performance.
Emma Corrin, however, is the season 4 star of The Crown. It was a wise decision to cast Corrin, a newcomer, like Princess Diana, and it shows. Without doing or even attempting a direct impression, the fresh-faced actor catches the complexities of the role (like Anderson).
This is a richly researched depiction, and the director and writer deserve a lot of credit. We’ll never know for sure how Diana was in real life, but she is written with empathy, as are all of the other main characters in The Crown. She may deviate from her public image here, but The Crown has always prioritized drama over precision.
The Crown has achieved its peak in its fourth season. It’s as beautiful and opulent as ever. The performances were all outstanding. To top it off, the show has nailed the balance between major events and personal human drama once again.