Friday, March 1, 2024

Culture From The Couch: The Royals Edition

For an institution that’s been going for roughly one billion years, you have to admit the royals are very good at keeping themselves a major topic of conversation in an already convoluted news cycle. Whether or not you think the royals have a place in the modern world – a topic Capsule has already delved right into – there is no denying that they know how to keep things interesting. And we are all well back in our Diana fever, in part due to the new series of The Crown. Here, we look at a few Royal-related pieces of pop culture if you’re also feeling nostalgic.

Watch: The Crown – Season Four
After a smashing first season, and then a couple of slightly dull middle seasons, The Crown is back with the good stuff: the Diana years. Emma Corrin (above) is an ABSOLUTE triumph as the young – the so, so young – Diana, right from her impish first meeting with Charles through to the slow, miserable spiral of their very public marriage breakdown. The tragedy of Diana is such a landmark moment for so much of the world – our generation’s ‘Where were you when JFK was killed’. The Crown does a spectacular job at showing just how young, naïve and totally ill-prepared she was to take on such a famous role. You can argue, quite easily, that 2020 has not been a good year for the real-life royals from a PR perspective – Harry and Meghan’s rushed exit, Charles getting Covid-19, William getting Covid-19 and lying about it, Prince Andrew’s ongoing, possibly criminal activities. The Crown has always done a very good job of balancing the pomp and ceremony of the monarchy with showing the very real, human side of the family – the loneliness of it, and what an important and constant part of history the Queen has been. But in this season, the gloves are very much off. In various scenes, the more ridiculous aspects of the royals are very much on display; their cold public personas, their insane wealth and rules, their steadfast need to remain out of touch with the common people. It does not make for pretty viewing. It’s not hard to imagine Meghan and Harry – who, incidentally, have signed their own production deal with Netflix – watching this and perhaps being quite grateful for their decision to leave. (yes, I am Team Meghan and Harry, please don’t throw things at me).
The Crown is currently streaming on Netflix.

Listen: You’re Wrong About… Princess Diana
OH BOY is this good. You’re Wrong About is a podcast series run by two journalists who take a new topic each week, research the bejesus out of it and then present their case about why history/the modern consciousness have done it a disservice. They have just done a five-part series dedicated entirely to Princess Diana: The Courtship, The Wedding, The Affairs, The Divorce, The Crash. Each episode is about 90 minutes long and based on research – as opposed to The Crown, which takes absolute creative licence. The two journos who run this podcast are American and were previously relatively uninformed about the phenomenon that IS the royals, so they are bemused, entertained and often shocked by the information they discover along the way. This is a spectacular podcast to listen to and – see above – will make you absolutely dust off your Diana merchandise.
Listen to You’re Wrong About here

Read: Royals By Emma Forrest
Set against the backdrop of 1980s England – and the joyful public exuberance for the wedding between Charles and Diana, Royals follows the fast and furious friendship between two teenagers: lovely Steven, who ‘might be gay but hasn’t 100% decided yet’, and heiress Jasmine. They meet in hospital – he after being beaten up by his homophobic father, she after another attempted suicide. Yes, this book doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff. The pair bond immediately over fashion and a love of Princess Diana and fall into a deep friendship love, that lasts over the chaotic summer of the royal wedding and honeymoon. Diana plays something of a third character, with all of the UK besotted with the blushing bride, and the entire book is a very dark, very delightful time capsule of being young and in love.

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