Netflix’s The Crown: A Defense of Burkean Conservatism [National Review]

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  1. World Press

    World Press Active Member

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    The Jewel of Conservatism in The Crown
    By Kyle Smith | April 14, 2017 8:00 AM

    netflixs-crown-defense-burkean-conservatism-1.jpg

    Claire Foy as Elizabeth II in The Crown (Netflix)

    Netflix’s dramatization of Elizabeth II’s early years as queen mounts a surprising, convincing defense of Burkean values.

    Netflix’s superb drama The Crown may appear on the surface to be merely another lush historical soap opera for the sort of person who cried while watching Princess Diana’s wedding. But in fact, the series, which promises to retell the story of Queen Elizabeth II from her girlhood to today, is a stirring and deeply considered apologia for Burkean conservatism.

    Throughout the ten episodes of the brilliant first season, the young Queen Elizabeth II (played with beautiful understatement by Claire Foy in a true star-making role), just 25 when called to the throne by the death of her father George VI (Jared Harris), is still finding her way as a frustrated, flustered sovereign. Caught off guard by the unexpected chores and rigors of duty and at times abashed by her own lack of preparation and education, she is circumscribed by circumstance, a leader who isn’t allowed to do anything.

    Then, in the seventh episode, it occurs to her with a certain breezy satisfaction that if nothing else she can at least choose her own private secretary upon the retirement of the long-serving Buckingham Palace majordomo, Tommy Lascelles, played with stern authority by the excellent Pip Torrens. Tommy’s deputies are two: a senior and a junior. Even palace flunkies have their own lines of succession, and it is the senior deputy, Michael Adeane, who is expected to take over as Her Majesty’s next secretary. Yet the sovereign has a special fondness for the junior deputy, Martin Charteris, who served her ably when she was duchess of Edinburgh. She asks Tommy what he would think if she invited Charteris to succeed him. “That is your right, Ma’am,” he replies, with the proper deference, before adding, with an unexpected firmness, “but it would be a mistake.”

    What comes next is one of the most riveting instances of table-turning ever presented on television.

    Like Elizabeth, we in the audience have simply assumed the stakes are minuscule, hardly worth a fuss. The reality, Tommy explains, is otherwise. There has been, he says, “An order developed over time, generations. And individuality in the House of Windsor, any departure from that way of doing things, is not to be encouraged. It results in catastrophes like the abdication.” The queen scoffs at this comparison of her secretarial preference to the decision made by her uncle, the former Edward VIII (played as a roguish foil by Alex Jennings) to trade the throne for the hand of the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Violating protocol in a small household-hiring decision wouldn’t be nearly as egregious as Edward’s total abandonment of duty, she notes.

    “I disagree,” says Tommy, crystallizing, in an instant, the business of the crown, and of The Crown:

    I served your uncle, as you know. And it’s in the small things that the rot starts. Do the wrong thing once, it’s easier to do it again. Do the individualistic thing once, it is easy to do it again. Now, in the case of your uncle, it started with wanting to use Buckingham Palace simply as the office and York House as his home. Then he stopped attending church, decided he wanted to sell Sandringham. He dismissed courtiers who’d served under his father in favor of younger, sycophantic supplicants. Of course, no one saw the abdication coming then, but the ego, the willfulness, the individualism, the rot had set in.​

    Torrens delivers these lines with such urgency and passion that the scene is transfixing.


    Click here for the rest of the article:
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/04/netflix-the-crown-defends-burkean-conservatism/
     
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I've quite enjoyed The Crown.
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Me2
     
  4. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It's worth seeing I gather?... have been hearing quite a few good things on it from different quarters, but one never knows..
     
  5. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It still has soap opera/tabloid subplots of course but I find it very all in all its very good.
     

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