It’s time for our final recap of The Crown for the season! Today, we’ve got a deep dive on the jewels and history shown in the final episode of season three, “Cri de Coeur.” (Missed any of my previous recaps? You can find them all here!)
We begin at Kensington Palace. The Queen has arrived in pearls and zero brooches to visit her sister, Princess Margaret.
Margaret’s not looking good. She and Tony have been fighting again — not bickering, but knock-down-drag-out stuff. Tony’s been cheating on her.
We see Tony with his latest lover, Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, on their way to his home in Sussex. (Tony’s relationship with Lucy, who became his second wife, reportedly began in 1972.) We’re not the only ones who spot him — Margaret’s friend and lady-in-waiting, Lady Anne Tennant, sees them, too.
Anne tells Margaret what she’s seen. Margaret’s a little blasé about the whole thing. She’s certain they’ll never get divorced. (We get a quick time locator in this scene, as the television in the background is showing general election results, which means that it’s February 28, 1974.)
Over breakfast the next morning, the Queen wears something that looks suspiciously like a brooch but I think is probably just a button. (Sigh.) Philip goes on and on about the election results. Ted Heath’s party has lost seats, they’re heading for a hung parliament, and it looks like Harold Wilson will be back as PM. The Queen, however, is distracted and worried about Margaret, who is celebrating a birthday soon. (The show’s version of Margaret must need a lot of advanced planning for her birthday celebrations, as the election was held in February, and Margaret’s birthday was in August!)
At Kensington Palace, the royal family gathers for a dinner to celebrate Margaret’s birthday. We’ve got an interesting depiction of the family here. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are both present, which would have been a tough get, as the Duke died in June 1974! Also present are the Duke and Duchess of Kent (played by actors who appeared earlier this season) and a whole bunch of other unknown faces — presumably Prince Richard of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, Angus Ogilvy, etc. It’s not totally clear who’s supposed to be who.
The Queen’s talking about how happy she is that Wilson is back as PM, wearing a rather inexpensive looking necklace and earrings.
Prince Philip and the Queen Mother (wearing pearls and an invented ribbon brooch) are amused.
You’ll note that there’s a piece of jewelry in Princess Anne’s hair as she talks with the reanimated corpse of the Duke of Gloucester.
Margaret’s not looking particularly lively herself, to be honest. She uses the opportunity to declare to everyone that it’s time to give the cut direct to her wandering husband.
The Queen is concerned. Everybody else takes the opportunity to talk about how much they like Tony, which ticks Margaret off royally.
She’s thoroughly disgusted, but she’s at least wearing some interesting jewels. The necklace looks cheap as chips, but the earrings are interesting, if a bit modern in design. We know for sure that Helena Bonham Carter wore her own jewelry in some of the scenes from this season, and I’m curious to know whether that’s the case with these earrings.
While everyone else is toasting his wife, Tony is all snuggled up with Lucy at his home in Sussex. She’s hopeful he’ll marry her, but he tells her that will never happen. Their only hope, they think, is for Margaret to fall in love with somebody else.
Margaret is in dire need of a change of scenery, and she jumps at Lady Anne’s offer to stay with the Tennants for a house party at the Glen.
She is not doing particularly well on arrival.
By the pool, Anne tries to convince her that it’s time she went ahead and had an affair of her own. (By all accounts, Margaret had already begun dabbling in extramarital liaisons far before this, with one affair reportedly happening as early as 1966.) Margaret is uninterested in the prospects before her — until she spots one man in particular.
It’s Roddy Llewelyn, a young (as in almost two decades younger than her!) landscape gardener from a Welsh aristocratic family. Margaret wants him to swim with her, but there’s a problem: he doesn’t have swimming trunks.
They solve the issue with a shopping trip. Margaret’s famous ruby engagement ring and gold wedding ring are both on prominent display in this scene, as well as several other moments during the episode. They’re being used as symbols of her uneasiness over breaking her marriage vows.
Uneasiness aside, and trunks procured, Margaret and Roddy splash about in the pool. Margaret keeps her gold earrings and necklace on.
Later, they entertain the house party with a song and dance routine. The production’s entire brooch budget for the season must have been blown on this floral bauble for Roddy. (A historical note: Roddy and Margaret were indeed introduced by the Tennants, but it reportedly happened in September 1973.)
Meanwhile, at Windsor Castle, Tony has come to see his sister-in-law. He arrives bearing gifts.
One is a photograph of Claire Foy and Matt Smith. Memories!
The other is a whole bunch of memorabilia prototypes for the Queen’s upcoming Silver Jubilee. He’s particularly enthused about the tea towel.
But the Queen doesn’t want to chat about merch — she wants to talk about marriage. She admonishes him for the way he’s been hurting Margaret, but then he breaks the news to her that Margaret is doing a little illicit canoodling of her own.
Margaret, gold jewelry in tow, flies with Roddy to her favorite getaway: the island of Mustique, which is owned by the Tennants. (Their first visit together took place in February 1974; they traveled to the island together several times over the next few years.)
They arrive at Les Jolies Eaux, her home on the island. The land was a wedding gift from Colin Tennant, and Margaret sniffs that it’s ironic that her husband hates the place.
We’re treated to a montage of Vacation Margaret in various pieces of fantastic jewelry, starting with a suite of gold and gemstone pieces…
…and then long gold filigree earrings…
…a suite of gold jewels set with dark orange gems…
…a pair of gold statement earrings that are clearly perfectly suited for water sports…
…and a vibrant pair of beaded statement earrings. Margaret briefly has a crisis of conscience over her absent husband while wearing them, but she moves past it.
But soon, the couple’s Caribbean bliss is interrupted by a photographer with a long lens. Margaret and Roddy really were photographed on the beach in Mustique, but it happened in March 1976, not 1974. They were also tamer than this — they just showed Roddy and Margaret sitting near each other on the beach, not a whole suntan lotion situation.
Back in Britain, the photos are splashed across the front page of the News of the World. The Queen and Philip read the news over breakfast…
…as does Prince Charles, who is still in the navy. In March 1974, he was serving aboard the HMS Jupiter, but when the news of Margaret’s affair really broke in March 1976, he was commander of a minesweeper, the HMS Humber, off the coast of Scotland.
Princess Anne also sees the news at breakfast. All of you here will undoubtedly have registered the fact that the episode conveniently ignores several important events in Anne’s life, including her wedding to Mark Phillips in November 1973, as well as the kidnapping attempt of March 1974. In 1974, she and Mark were living at Oak Grove House on the grounds of Sandhurst. In 1976, she was still living there, but she was also in the middle of training to compete in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Honestly, I can’t believe this soap opera missed the chance to cover a royal wedding and a kidnapping. Seriously!
The person who is maddest about the whole affair, though, is the Queen Mother, who storms in to see the Queen, newspaper in hand.
The Queen Mother talks at length about how disgusted she is by Margaret’s behavior, while the Queen makes this face.
It’s a little hard to see, but we definitely got a brooch on the Queen Mother in this scene, and it looks quite a lot like one of the invented ribbon brooches we saw on the Queen in seasons one and two.
Lucy Lindsay-Hogg is over the moon about the affair when she reads the papers — now that Margaret’s in love, perhaps a divorce really is on the cards.
She’s disappointed, though, in Tony’s reaction. He’s not as thrilled as she hoped he’d be.
Back in Mustique, we get more engagement and wedding ring symbolism as Margaret and Roddy’s vacation ends.
They return to Britain under heavy press scrutiny and head straight for Kensington Palace.
There, they’re confronted by Snowdon, who is livid about the whole business.
He and Margaret have it out, Roddy leaves the room, and Tony threatens to divorce her if she follows. She heads straight after Roddy — but he’s gone.
(In reality, the couple separated almost immediately after the photographs were printed in March 1976. Tony was in Australia for the opening of an exhibit of his photographs when the news of the separation broke, and he told the papers there that he was “desperately sad” about the end of his marriage.)
At Buckingham Palace, the Queen wears pearls and no brooch for an audience with Harold Wilson. (I don’t know about all of you, but the jacket she’s wearing here strikes me as a little anachronistic — it looks like something she might have worn in 2006, not 1976.)
It’s not a happy meeting. Wilson reveals that he’s dealing with the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and he’s stepping down as prime minister. The Queen is shocked and sad, and she extends him a rare honor, letting him know that she’d be happy if the Wilsons would have her and Philip to dinner at Number 10.
(Wilson really did have Alzheimer’s, and he really did announce his resignation in March 1976. It’s not clear whether the two things were truly linked, or whether he told the Queen. It’s certainly possible that they were, and he did. The Wilsons hosted the Queen and the Duke for a farewell dinner on March 23, 1976. It really was the first such dinner since the retirement of Churchill. Interestingly, the show skips another major dinner held a month later: the Queen’s birthday dinner and ball at Windsor Castle, held on April 21, 1976. The event was attended by both Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, just weeks after their separation. Harold Wilson was there, too, as was his successor, James Callaghan.)
As Wilson leaves, Charteris comes in with even worse news. Princess Margaret has taken an overdose of sleeping pills. The Queen Mother refuses to believe that it was a suicide attempt, instead seeing it as a cry for help.
When the Queen gets to Kensington Palace, Margaret is awake but still a little woozy.
(According to Christopher Warwick, a version of this really did happen in 1974, long before the Roddy Llewelyn affair was public knowledge. Roddy, confused about their relationship, hurried off for an impulsive trip, traveling to Turkey by way of Guernsey. Warwick writes that Margaret’s subsequent decision to take “a handful of Mogadon tablets” is described variously as “a nervous breakdown” or “attempted suicide.” She and Tony were still living together, and Anne Tennant reportedly barred him from going in to Margaret’s room during her recovery. Margaret had recently asked Tony to move out, and their relationship was clearly at a highly unhealthy period.)
In The Crown‘s version of events, the Queen visits her sister, wearing the production’s invented pearly floral brooch and conveying to Margaret how very important she is. The two have a touching conversation. They also talk about Margaret’s impending divorce.
(The show is conflating the events of 1974/1976 here, but either way, divorce wasn’t yet being discussed after Margaret and Tony’s separation. Instead, Margaret’s lawyers negotiated a financial settlement for Tony, so that they would able to remain married but live totally apart. They didn’t divorce until May 1978. The show also seems to suggest here that her relationship with Roddy ended after the photographs and the separation announcement. It didn’t. They remained romantically involved until 1980, and friends for much longer than that.)
And then, we see the Queen wearing a familiar hat, heading for one of the palace reception rooms. It’s June 7, 1977, and the nation is celebrating her Silver Jubilee.
The royal family is assembled to greet her. The costume is a good facsimile of the real thing, including the double strand of pearls, but the brooch is wrong. The Queen didn’t wear the Flame Lily Brooch; she wore the Williamson Pink Diamond Brooch for the service of thanksgiving in her honor at St. Paul’s. I’m almost okay with the substitute here, though. At least the production chose a replica brooch that’s a) a real royal jewel, b) a floral brooch, and c) a brooch with significant sentimental weight. It’s the brooch she wore when she arrived back on English soil after acceding to the throne in February 1952. (Spoiler: we’ll have an extensive feature on the Flame Lily Brooch here tomorrow!)
Special focus is given to Princess Margaret here, as a carry-over from the last scene. She’s wearing a pearly brooch. Somehow, the corpse of the deceased Duke of Gloucester has been Frankensteined once more for the occasion. (He’d been dead for a whole three years by this point!)
The Queen glances over at Prince Philip and Prince Charles as she steps into the carriage for the procession to the cathedral. The show depicts her riding alone in the carriage, but in reality, Philip was beside her.
And that’s how we end the season: the Queen, looking rather morose, celebrating the first twenty-five years of her reign. The show really does want to view her as isolated, sad, and unfulfilled, doesn’t it?