FAMILY LIFE Season 2 of ‘The Crown’ may be set in the 1950s and ’60s, but the lessons—from marital stress to diplomatic power-play—remain timeless. Meghan, get ready to binge-watch.
It wouldn’t be the worst use of her time. After all, the series is jam-packed full of pointers for a young woman starting out in royal life.
Here are 10 areas of Crown concern Meghan might want to look out for as she preps for life in the Firm.
1. The flashing of flesh
Meghan Markle’s decision to wear a beautiful sheer top in her engagement photos this week surprised some prudes.
The Ralph & Russo gown, with a reported $80,000 price tag, featured a ruffle black skirt and a sheer top with embroidery.
Had Meghan been paying attention to Season 2 of The Crown, she would have recalled the scene in which a photograph taken by Tony Armstrong-Jones (later her husband, Lord Snowdon), which appears to show Margaret naked from the chest up displeased her sister, and worn something dowdier.
“You need to be careful,” the queen tells her sister, who is still drunk at breakfast, “Of what people might think.”
Meghan Markle, refreshingly, seems to be cocking a very respectful snook at such fusty thinking.
2. If in doubt, wear tweed
Meghan Markle could have avoided all the fuss by wearing a garment made of the royal go-to textile: tweed. Good luck to her: Try as she might, Diana tried to liven up this most conservative material, and failed.
The queen appears to wear tweed everywhere to everything in The Crown; racing, on her private BA transport plane, to lunch with her sister and even at breakfast (although not in bed—too itchy).
Tweed is the ultimate regal material because while it doesn’t look flashy like Meghan’s dress did, the fact that it is hand-produced by rugged Scottish crofters on remote islands on the fringes of the Arctic Sea telegraphs a secret message of wealth and exclusivity to others in the club.
3. Learn to love the rain, especially in Balmoral
Tweed is built for wearing in driving Scottish rain, and this is the reason that the queen is rarely pictured wearing anything but the sturdiest weaves when she is on her holidays in Balmoral, where so many of the pivotal scenes of Season 2 are set.
The queen is rather fond of the driving Scottish rain (one of the things that annoyed her about Princess Diana was her insistence on claiming illness and staying in her room when it was lashing rain at Balmoral).
Of course, gamely enduring terrible weather with a grim smile is one of the British upper classes’ defining characteristics. This may come as unwelcome news to a sun-kissed Californian girl like Meghan Markle, but living in Toronto while filming Suits should have given her plenty of practice when it comes to donning rubber boots and getting out there, rain or shine.
4. There are no animal rights
In a much-admired scene in The Queen, Peter Morgan, the writer of both that movie and The Crown, created a famous scene in which Helen Mirren, in the titular role, stalking in Scotland, encounters a magnificent deer which she takes pity on and shoos away from the guns.
The scene is reprised with a twist in Episode 5 of The Crown, in which the queen retreats to Balmoral and undertakes a little light stalking to relieve the pressures or ruling.
Off the queen goes—it is drizzling and she is wearing tweed, by the way—and, accompanied by a faithful ghillie who helps her draw a bead on a deer, shows her ruthless streak by pulling the trigger and blowing the unlucky cervid away. A thin smile of satisfaction then escapes her lips.
The slaughter of defenseless animals—both winged and hooved—is an essential and greatly treasured feature of royal life.
It’s hard to imagine that Meghan, who has spoken tenderly in the past of her rescue pups, was a huge fan of the picture of Prince Harry posing over a dead water buffalo. Harry was also recently off in Bavaria killing wild pigs with a German prince nicknamed “The Boar Terminator,” who once uploaded a video that shows him in a snowy forest killing half a dozen bolting wild boars in rapid succession.
The Boxing Day pheasant shoot at Sandringham (personally organized by Prince Philip) will be a bloodbath. Meghan should aim to be with Harry, but not out in the field. Instead we suggest a plane, en route to somewhere hot.
5. Have a knockback line ready for when Prince Philip cracks on to you
If you are an attractive woman of child bearing age, a key lesson of Season 2 is that Prince Philip may well at some point hit on you. Much of the series revolves around Philip’s legendary womanizing. A leopard doesn’t change its spots and even at the ripe old age of 96, Phil is said to still have the ability to turn on the charm when it comes to the ladies.
As the newest and prettiest girl on the scene, Meghan will certainly be sitting next to Philip at Christmas lunch, so she and Harry should already be war-gaming the polite but firm heading off at the pass.
6. Become a vlogger
One of the key moments in Season 2 concerns the queen’s recognition that the monarchy needs, as part of its quest to modernize and stay relevant, to embrace the era of television.
This bold decision results in the queen’s Christmas address being transmitted live on the BBC, a tradition that continues to this day.
Meghan should take a similar approach to the challenge of the digital age, and while she may have shuttered her blog The Tig, The Crown’s lesson would be that she should immediately start a vlog, Instagram account (@PrincessMeghan) and twitter account—which would put @realdonaldtrump’s social media presence in the shade.
7. Don’t worry if you don’t know where Harry is
Harry’s a busy fellow and, it has been said, not always that easy to track down. But if his phone keeps going to voicemail, The Crown teaches royal wives to remain calm. So, what should you do if your husband disappears on a royal tour for several months and you don’t know if he is in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) or Mandalay? Just buck up and ignore it, like the queen does in Episode 1 (Note: You are allowed to let your eyes completely fill with tears when discussing the problem with trusted advisers, as long as none spill down your cheek).
8. Put all threats in writing
Philip’s farewell from his wife when he departs on his big tour, is rather perfunctory, and he doesn’t understand why until opens his suitcase, where he finds a note which reads, “Always remember you have a family.”
Now that’s how to deal with a man. Keep. It. Simple.
9. Dance your way to diplomatic triumphs
The queen salvages a colonial relationship with Ghana in Season 2 with a foxtrot. After she hears reports that Jackie O considered her a little frosty, HM jets off to the country and does the foxtrot with the country’s President Nkrumah.
This is soft power at its best, and the bewitched president, who has been fooling around with the Commies, falls back in to line. So if conversation fails with foreign dignitaries, Meghan should think about polishing up her stage school dance skills.
10. Don’t allow your husband to be photographed at any naked sex parties
The most controversial episode of the new series implicates Prince Philip in the 1963 Profumo scandal, suggesting that he was the “mystery man” photographed with his back to the camera at one of society osteopath Stephen Ward’s legendary sex parties.
Although Ward and Philip knew each other, there is no evidence he attended the parties, and Netflix has been criticized in some quarters for excessive invention. But the narrative arc serves to provide a useful lesson for Meghan anyway when it comes to discussing with her hubby the advisability of being photographed in compromising situations in, say, Las Vegas hotels.