This season of The Crown really brings the bitchiness to the front, roasting everyone left and right, but while the burns are hot, the queen is ice cold. The Crown has always spent time on the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and her prime ministers, but for the first time, her prime minister is a woman. At first, the connection between the queen and Margaret Thatcher is promising—Thatcher is surprised at how “interested” the queen is in politics, and the queen seems ready to bond with a fellow female leader. But things quickly deteriorate, as the queen and Thatcher have no common ground and seem to disagree on every policy. The Crown is not a show where people are going to hurl insults at one another—unless you’re Prince Charles telling your siblings they’re “fringe”—but it IS a show where every look is loaded with repressed feeling. The looks between the queen and Thatcher could freeze continents, they’re so frosty. Every glare is an epithet, every controlled blink a curse. These two are actively trying to freeze one another with the power of their stare alone, so here it is, a nonsensical ranking of The Crown’s frostiest glares.
Failing the Balmoral test
In episode two, “The Balmoral Test”, the queen and Thatcher cement their mutual dislike. Thatcher does not enjoy upper-crust pursuits like stalking, and she prefers to work on a bank holiday, while the queen picks up on Thatcher’s disdain for the privileged class and lack of respect for her “grit”. In their final audience of the episode, they tacitly acknowledge that they hate each other with this elegant, frosty nod.
Degree of Chill: Frostbite
Thatcher’s solo victory parade
After she has just been warned by a commoner—who broke into Buckingham Palace, no less—that Thatcher would like to boot the Windsors out, Queen Elizabeth learns that Thatcher is attending a victory parade celebrating the end of the Falklands War. As the queen later says, this is the kind of thing the royal family usually does, but here is London, celebrating the end of the war without their monarch. For the first time, the queen is confronted with a prime minister who doesn’t care about having royal power at her back, and the queen does not like it one bit. Not one little bit, I say.
Degree of Chill: Tongue stuck a cold metal flagpole
Duking it out in the press
It is clear early in Thatcher’s tenure that she and the queen do not share similar moral or political philosophies, and those differences are starkest in the episode “48:1”. The queen wants the UK to sign a letter along with the other commonwealth nations, sanctioning South Africa over apartheid, but Thatcher doesn’t care about the commonwealth and has no intention of signing the letter, let alone actually imposing sanctions on South Africa. Their falling out leads the queen to use the press—anonymously, of course—to censure Thatcher, but it kind of blows up in her face. The monarch is supposed to be politically neutral, after all, and this instance of partisanship isn’t taken well by anyone. And Thatcher knows she has the upper hand, no matter what the queen says in their audiences, she must publicly support Thatcher, but Thatcher does not have to support the queen. Thatcher couldn’t care less about the queen’s stance on sanctions, and so she basically eye-rolls the queen with this amazingly chilly condescending look.
Degree of Chill: Positively Antarctic, baby