The Crown season four introduces Princess Diana and brings the drama, giving the show a new lease on life, but it also delivers some sick burns on the royal family. More than any of the previous seasons, The Crown season four is the least interested in the myth of the Windsors, and it devotes serious screen time to deconstructing that myth, reminding us that the royal family is not, in fact, all that glamorous and glitzy. No one escapes The Crown’s scathing reads, most especially Prince Andrew, who gets burned not once but twice. Every minute Andrew is on screen is a roast. In a season of brutal takedowns, here are the five filthiest reads in The Crown season four, ranked capriciously by yours truly.
Princess Anne Knows Her Brother Best
Princess Anne is the first person in the royal family to correctly diagnose The Problem With Diana. Though the audience has a bird’s eye view on the true state of the Wales marriage, which is a total tire fire from the jump, Princess Anne is the only Windsor to see the early crack in the marriage while the Waleses are on tour in Australia. “You and I both know how much Charles craves reassurance…and attention…and praise,” Anne says—after needling the queen for being a cold, unaffectionate mother. Anne gets it right away: Charles is too self-centered to share the spotlight. And she is relentless, piling on her brother, dropping a truth bomb about Charles’s need to be the center of attention and how that spells doom for his marriage to a popular, beloved princess.
Degree of Burn: Bad sunburn after a long day at the beach
The Thatchers Are Not Impressed
Margaret Thatcher may be a detestable figure in history, but for one moment in The Crown she is the perfect audience surrogate, slack-jawed in disbelief at how common the Windsors are behind closed doors. Margaret cannot seem to believe how ordinary, how un-special the Windsors are, and her husband, “D.T.”, is quick to supply the adjectives to describe them: “boorish, snobbish, and rude”. Never in The Crown have we seen a prime minister so unimpressed with their monarch, nor been told so expressly through the show’s POV that the Windsors aren’t worth all this fuss and bother.
Degree of Burn: Accidental hot stove graze
Prince Edward Is A Sniveling Brat
Sometimes The Crown delivers a burn via dialogue, and sometimes it uses a whole scene to roast a royal, as it does in the episode “Favourites”, in which the queen visits with each of her children and learns what awful brats they are, including that most sniveling of brats, teenaged Prince Edward. This is the first time we’ve seen Edward as anything other than a baby, and he is immediately and entirely revolting. He’s an entitled, self-aggrandizing narc, feeling he is owed by a grateful nation—for WHAT?! What have YOU ever done?! There is no mistaking The Crown’s intent when it comes to the younger Windsor siblings. They’re deadweight, ready to be cut loose in the “slimmed down” monarchy.
Degree of Burn: Curling iron to the neck
Prince Andrew Is A Leering Twat
No royal sibling, though, gets it worse in The Crown than Prince Andrew. “Favourites” is also his first appearance as a grown-up, and Andrew, while his mother’s favorite, is absolutely reprehensible. With lewd glee, he describes to his mother a film in which his girlfriend, Koo, stars as a young woman in pre-war England being “debauched” by a group of older men. In real life, Prince Andrew did date an actress, Koo Stark, who starred in a soft-core coming of age tale called The Awakening of Emily. But this scene in The Crown is less about Koo Stark’s career and more about all those allegations about Andrew and his dead rapist pedophile friend, Jeffrey Epstein. The queen’s face in this scene says it all—not even her favorite can overcome her total revulsion in that moment.
Degree of Burn: Midsommar burning bear man
Prince Charles Reads His Siblings For Filth
Charles is a frequent target in the fourth season of The Crown, but he also gets to deliver its sickest burn. Speaking to his siblings, on Andrew’s wedding day, no less, he calls them “fringe”, pointing out to self-important Andrew—who thinks the whole word should stop for his wedding day—that he will never be king, so OF COURSE the newspapers want to write about something more important than the York wedding. It is, as Edward says, “impressively cunty”.
Degree of Burn: Launched into the sun