And so in episode three, when the royal family is at the wedding rehearsal, Margaret says to her brother-in-law, Prince Philip, “Charles loves someone else. How many times can this family make the same mistake…forbidding marriages that should be allowed, forcing others that shouldn’t. Paying the consequences each time. He’s still in love with the other one.”
It’s the kind of exchange that makes you think, as much as one loves a grand royal wedding, Margaret is right—and maybe she can stop it. Of course, Philip doesn’t want to hear it, and says that the older Diana gets, the more confident and beautiful she’ll become, and Charles will fall in love with her even more. (Right, because that always works.)
Margaret is dumbfounded. “And in the meantime, he juggles them both?” When the queen mother tells her daughter that’s how it’s always been, Margaret steps up her concerns. “This is madness,” she asserts. “We can stop them now, before they tie the knot. Not just for the sake of the monarchy but for them as human beings.”
But the royal family has never sold itself on being human—at least not until Diana later upended the whole system by publicly showering her children with affection and hugging total strangers. That’s why Doherty relished those private moments as Princess Anne where she could show just how broken the queen’s only daughter really was.
“In the episode titled ‘Favourites,’ when Anne tries to reach out to her mum and doesn’t get what she needs, she essentially has a little bit of an emotional breakdown,” Doherty says. “It’s a heartbreaking thing to watch and play, but necessary to show that vulnerability. Because even people you think have it all together do not. That’s part of being human, and it’s wonderful to see.”
Anne is dealing with her own fractured marriage, and the queen’s response is basically that troubling times will pass if you have the patience to wait. Anne—never one to hold back—pointedly looks at her mother and asks, “Is doing nothing your solution to everything?” In some ways that very question/statement sums up exactly what has dogged the queen during the country’s most difficult times.
“That is the show,” Doherty says. “But the fascinating and beautiful thing about the queen is that she is this immovable force, and we will never understand that. But that’s what creates, essentially, all the drama.”
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