There are still more than two months to go before season 3 premiere of Netflix’s The Crown on November 17, but the series’s creator, Peter Morgan, is already getting started on hyping it up, beginning with addressing one of viewers’ most urgent questions surrounding the series: Do royals also watch The Crown?
Last year, the British tabloid Express reported that—according to an unnamed “royal insider,” anyway—episode 9 of season 2 had managed to rattle Queen Elizabeth II for its depiction of Prince Philips’s reaction to how a young Princes Charles dealt with bullies while attending Gordonstoun, one of England’s most storied independent schools. Still, outside of tabloid speculation, there’s been no real confirmation that the series is even on Buckingham Palace’s radar until the Times posted an interview with Morgan on Monday, in which he confirms that the show’s crew does indeed have a relationship with the royals.
As it turns out, Morgan heads to Buckingham Palace four times a year to meet with “people who are very high ranking and very active” within the “organization.” “Respectfully, I tell them what I have in mind and they brace themselves slightly,” Morgan said. From the sound of it, he’s particularly concerned with assuring the royals that they won’t be satirizing the monarchy. “You know when you get a supermarket trolley that veers to one side, because its wheels aren’t right?,” Morgan asked. “The wheels on this show want it to do satire, which is what we love doing with our political leaders and royals. But I’m not remotely interested in that. I’m constantly trying to steer it in the other direction, towards something heroic.”
That isn’t exactly comforting to hear on the heels of the announcement that Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher, which already has fans conflicted; last week, the beloved actress caused an uproar when she shared that she was “relishing … falling in love with the icon” in a confirmation of her acceptance of the role.
Thatcher—a prominent supporter of the war criminal Augusto Pinochet, whose dictatorship led to the murders and tortures of tens of thousands of Chileans in the 1970s—is by no means “heroic.” Sure, there’s no need to satirize her, as Morgan astutely points out. But there’s also certainly no need to glorify her—whether the monarchy is sufficiently “braced” for it or not.