'The Crown' – Chuck and Di get together in Season 4
It’s the end of the 1970s and there is cause for celebration, mourning and angst for the Royal Family and England as “The Crown” returns for Season 4.
Premiering Sunday, Nov. 15, on Netflix, the new season opens with the Royals preoccupied with finding a mate for Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), who they feel at age 30 is getting too old to play the field and shouldn’t be wasting any more time with the now-married Camilla (Emerald Fennell).
Into his life comes family friend Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin, “Pennyworth”), who establishes a connection with him at the funeral for his mentor Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance), the victim of an IRA assassination. Charles is immediately taken with the fresh-faced teenager and a romance and eventually a wedding ensue.
Meanwhile, Great Britain has a new prime minister in Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson, “The X-Files”), a hardline conservative and the first woman in the office. Though she and the Queen (Olivia Colman) seem to be birds of a feather, they often disagree on matters of governance and the relationship eventually deteriorates.
The season spans 1979 to 1990 and encompasses such historical events as the Falkland Island war, Charles and Diana’s politically sensitive tour of Australia and New Zealand and of course, their wedding and turbulent marriage.
To create Diana, cast newcomer Corrin did months of research, reading books and watching documentaries but she set that all aside when she picked up series creator Peter Morgan’s script.
“I think something incredibly interesting happens to her,” she says of her character’s arcs, “because (the decline of her marriage) coincides with Diana growing up, becoming a woman, discovering who she is, her sense of self and her voice. And so, you have these two things running in parallel, which is the mounting tragedy of her marriage failing, and also her growth and popularity and celebrity in the world.
“There is this tipping point in episode nine, where she realizes the marriage is essentially over and she’s reached rock bottom,” she continues. “… She’s gone so far past despair and … she basically picks herself up and says ‘No.’ That she is stronger than this and won’t let this be the end. In an interview I think she says, ‘I realized I had a duty and I had a role to play and my work wasn’t done.’ She realized that she isn’t going to give up and I think that’s a beautiful thing, where she finds that strength at her lowest, lowest point.”
Diana’s growth into the “People’s Princess” made life difficult for Charles, the future King of England, and O’Connor notes he didn’t take her popularity well.
“She wants the spotlight, she wants to be seen in the celebrity world and that doesn’t feel like Charles,” he says. “Essentially he really struggles and that is one of the biggest downfalls of their relationship. As the (season) goes on, Charles realizes he is no longer the King in the waiting, and actually he is supporting Diana as opposed to her supporting him.”