Binge watching is not easy.
First, you have to ignore your kids, the prospects of nuclear war and in some cases — if the addictive qualities of the show are just right — even the intake of food.
How many shut-ins has Netflix created? Hard to know. But we do know that its most recent hit show — “The Crown” — has added a new wrinkle to the time-consuming nature of binge watching.
It seems viewers cannot watch the show without their friend Google.
One viewer had this interesting suggestion, perhaps for season three.
Well, here at Retropolis, a blog about history in the news and culture, we’ve been doing our best to help. We’ve looked into the question of whether Prince Philip was a total jerk. We broke down what really happened when President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, visited the palace. (More on that below.) We explored the Duke of Windsor Nazi question, too.
With the bingeing continuing, there are still some lingering questions out there, so we ran down a few answers as a public service — to help you get through “The Crown” episodes faster and stop ignoring your family.
Was Jackie high as a kite when she insulted Queen Elizabeth II?
In episode eight, the first lady used this excuse to help explain, during a private meeting with the queen, why she had talked negatively about Her Majesty at a party. There is no record of drugs coming up between the two women, but like other moments depicted in the show, there is an allusion to reality — or rumors. We do know JFK had a connection to Dr. Max Jacobson, alternatively known as Dr. Feelgood for his easy access to and helpful administration of “amphetamines and a slurry of other goodies,” according to New York magazine, which detailed the connection on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. “Gate logs show Jacobson visited the White House more than 30 times in 1961 and 1962,” the magazine said, “to see both the president and the first lady.” The couple visited Buckingham Palace during that period, in 1961.
Did that dude criticizing the queen get punched in the face?
One of the most searing episodes of season two is the one where the queen — and the monarchy itself — is taken to task in print by the editor of a political magazine. Lord Altrincham created quite a tabloid controversy after attacking the queen as out of touch with the changing mores of society. The show depicts Elizabeth meeting with him to hear out his suggestions. There is no evidence that actually happened. It also shows him being punched after making his argument on a TV show. A punch in the face seems like just the sort of dramatic license that TV writers might make. Anyway, this sort of happened. The New York Times, on page 4 of the Aug. 7, 1957, edition, reported that a 64-year-old man “struck” Lord Altrincham “on the mouth.” He yelled, “Take that from the League of Empire Loyalists!” After a court hearing, the man told reporters, “I am sure Prince Philip would have done the same if he had been able.”
What’s the deal with the Queen and Billy Graham?
Our colleagues at Acts of Faith looked into this question, from head to toe — literally. The blog noted that “Anne Blue Wills, who is working on a biography of Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, says that it’s unlikely that Ruth Graham (seen only from a distance) would have worn flat brown sandals for her visit to Buckingham Palace.” You can read more here.
Did the queen dance with the prime minister of Ghana?
Yes. See the photo above. Also, the show even did a side-by-side comparison between reality and screen.
Did Philip become a prince as a negotiating tactic to stay in a troubled marriage?
There is no doubt that this marriage was rocky for quite some time, a topic we previously explored. Philip wanted to stay in the Navy but couldn’t. He had, at minimum, a wandering eye and a best friend who was caught up in a steamy divorce scandal. There’s a scene that hints Philip demanded to be made a prince to get the Queen off his back about shaping up his behavior. What does history say about that? Well, it’s true that Philip had been only made Duke of Edinburgh by Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. But did he demand the prince title?
Historians say Philip was never much interested actually. “The main reason to make him a prince of the UK was that George VI had forgotten to do so when he created him HRH [Royal Highness] and Duke of Edinburgh in 1947,” The Times of London says. And he had apparently turned it down before. The paper quotes a letter from his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, that says, “Lilibet has got the new Prime Minister — in consultation with Commonwealth colleagues — to ask for Philip to be made ‘The Prince’ on return from this tour, & we all hope he’ll agree this time.”
Just how does the show, and head writer Peter Morgan, approach history anyway?
Great question. Probably should have answered it sooner! Robert Lacey, a royal historian who consults with the show, described the process in a fascinating interview with the BBC’s history magazine. “There’s a whole research team of 10 working full time on the series so that every single episode can be based on solid history,” he said.
“Peter Morgan [the writer of The Crown] takes his inspiration from that, then checks the scripts with people like me, as well as with the people who were actually involved in the real events — the best sources of all.” But the buck doesn’t stop with the facts. “From time to time,” Lacey added, “Peter also pushes his imagination to outright invention — what you could call dramatic license, or as I would prefer to put it, dramatic underlining.”
What a lovely British way of putting it — dramatic underlining.
Anyway, now you can hit play again. Enjoy.
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