Episode Title: Hyde Park Corner
Original Air Date: November 4, 2016
Episode Number: 1×02
With King George too ill to travel, Elizabeth and Philip embark on a four-continent Commonwealth tour. Party leaders attempt to undermine Churchill.
Wow, that was a breathtakingly beautiful and devastating episode. I have no words. Everything was perfect. I was holding my breath through most of the episode because it felt like King George’s death was imminent and when it happened, the waves it caused and the repercussions were profound. It’s kind of hard to fathom that back then, people get their news hours later especially when you’re in a remote location, but in this day and age, the news happens as it unfolds and we know right away. I was on pins and needles as we saw how the news traveled to Elizabeth and how she was informed. It was quite suspenseful.
The events after the king’s passing were illuminating. Margaret is devastated. The Queen Mother is distraught. Elizabeth is numb and in disbelief. I liked seeing everyone’s reactions to the death and how we got a little bit of insight into these people. I also liked how the people who work for the crown rallied and followed protocol since it’s their job. Brings a bit of normalcy into such a massive event.
I absolutely loved Churchill’s speech. That was magnificently delivered by John Lithgow and I can now see why he won those awards. “Famous have been the reigns of our queens. Some of the greatest periods in our history have unfolded under their scepters. I, whose youth was passed in the august, unchallenged and tranquil glories of the Victorian era, may well feel the thrill in invoking once more the prayer and the anthem, God Save The Queen.” I got chills during this scene.
I also got chills at the end of the episode when the Queen Mother curtsied in front of Queen Elizabeth. Just the way that whole scene was shot was perfect and chilling at the same time. I also really liked how Elizabeth found out about her father’s passing with no dialogue uttered. She knew when she saw Phillip and Martin talking. I loved how this scene was shot. You could hear the background noise fade to silent as we go to a closeup of her face and then all we can hear is her breathing. Terrific.
The Queen Mother’s letter to Elizabeth was another highlight of the episode. The bulk of it was so well-written, but the ending was what got me. “And while you mourn your father you must also mourn someone else. Elizabeth Mountbatten. For she has now been replaced by another person, Elizabeth Regina. The two Elizabeths will frequently be in conflict with one another. The fact is, the Crown must win. Must always win.” Can you imagine the immense responsibility that Elizabeth is now facing? Everyone has these expectations of her and she’s not even given the time to truly grieve over her father before she’s thrust into the spotlight and crowned the next monarch.
I’m bummed that Martin will no longer be under the crown’s employ because he seemed sympathetic and seemed well-liked by both Elizabeth and Phillip. Kudos to the actor for making that character come alive on the screen for the very short period he was on camera.
Not really into Margaret and the king’s right hand man having an affair. This feels shoehorned and unnecessary. I do wonder if this really happened. I’m going to assume yes. Having said that, I kind of fist-bumped when he told his superior (?) that he will accept the queen’s offer to stay on and work for them.
Such a terrific show. I can’t believe I didn’t watch this sooner.