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History Talk: The British Monarchy

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How hands-on were the Windsors REALLY when it came to parenting?  Charles asked Philip if he could play while he was busy, but Elizabeth told him that "Grandpapa can play" because daddy was "busy."  This would be normal for Will and Kate, of course, but how "normal" was it in the 50s?  And why am I getting a Will/Kate vibe from HOW the Windsors are being portrayed in this series? 

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Elizabeth is never shown interacting with the kids at all after she is queen, which is most likely accurate. She seems to be a pretty hands off mother. She is shown looking wistfully out the window at them quite a bit, but is never actually with them. Prince Philip is shown playing with them a bit. I would guess thats pretty accurate, but I have no idea really.

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Anne and Philip were and are 2 peas in a pod and she flourished with him. As Charles got older, Philip went to a more patriarchal style that was very 1950s. Charles was much closer to the Queen Mother who was his supposed safe person.

I like that the show is showing The Duke of Windsor as the small and bitter person that I've always seen him as and not the "grandest romance in history ever". Well would have had Elizabeth as Queen anyway since there was no way Wallis old have had ano heir but would have had to wait until 1977. That is if Edward hadn't sold the joint out to the Nazis. 

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I watched the first three episodes late (very late) last night, into the wee small hours. I don't remember which episode it was, but spotted a disappointing mistake - obviously dramatic license, but it's glaring if you're up on the Wallis Simpson history. The scene has Queen Mary entering a room where the newly created Duke of Windsor, former King Edward VIII, is preparing to make his famous radio address to the nation. A dark-haired woman who appears to be Mrs. Simpson is in the room too, and is snubbed by Queen Mary. Ouch. In truth, Mrs. Simpson had fled the UK with the press on her trail, and was staying in France by the time of the Abdication. 

If I'm mis-remembering the scene (it was very late when I watched), I hope someone will correct me. 

I realize they need to dramatize the story. However, it's one thing to create reasonably possible private scenes, and another to create a scene that could not possibly have happened that way because one of the participants was in another country at the time.

EDITED later to add: I've now watched the whole season. Other episodes also showed Mrs. Simpson as being present when Edward signed the Abdication papers as well as during his broadcast to the nation. That bugged me every. time. 

Edited by Jeeves · Reason: Updated
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Charles was much closer to the Queen Mother who was his supposed safe person.

This picture of him at her funeral says it all:

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I hope we get more seasons and up to the 70s because I think Princess Anne rocks. She reminds me of Princess Leia. She even dressed like her for her wedding three years before Star Wars came out.

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Beginning with Prince Albert, the royal family preferred to raise their children far more hands on than any other former royal household.  Even that old sybarite Edward VIII was involved with his children, they weren't simply sent off or banished to the nursery.

Now George V was very involved with his sons upbringing much to their regret.  He really ran roughshod over them contributing to David's recklessness and rebellion and Bertie's stammer and shyness. It's no wonder he was euthanized, everyone was eager to be done with his militaristic micro-management.

Phillip's own family life was so sad and weird. Bounced around to relatives and schools and living off the largesse of rich titled relatives. He really wanted to give his children a more stable upbringing as well as live that vicariously himself. They did go on picnics and had weekend barbecues all of them together.

They have occasionally released the home movies they took of their family gatherings and adventures.

 

I am loving this but my one little quibble with E1 was no mention that EII acquired the fabric for her wedding gown by saving up her ration books. The war experience I think contributed greatly to the closeness of the family.

Edited by MrsR
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14 minutes ago, MrsR said:

 

Phillip's own family life was so sad and weird. Bounced around to relatives and schools and living off the largesse of rich titled relatives. He really wanted to give his children a more stable upbringing as well as live that vicariously himself. They did go on picnics and had weekend barbecues all of them together.

They have occasionally released the home movies they took of their family gatherings and adventures.

 

Yeah, but that stable upbringing still caused three out of four to divorce. 

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Caused their divorces?  A major leap there. Personalities, spouses upbringing, spouses personalities, invasive royal protocols certainly were factors in the happiness or unhappiness of the marriages of Elizabeth's and Phillip's children's marriages.

 

Remember, Margaret was divorced as well, and there have been many, many, many unhappy royal marriages in the past. And divorces and anullments and beheadings.

Edited by MrsR
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14 hours ago, MrsR said:

It's no wonder he was euthanized, everyone was eager to be done with his militaristic micro-management.

Okay that gave me pause so I had to go do some research.  According to the diary of King' George V's attending physician (found and made public after his death) the king was given a lethal cocktail as he lay dying.  But it appears to have been an act of mercy by the doctor, not some callous decision to "be done" with him.  He'd been seriously ill for years and and had been bed-ridden with his final illness for 5 days at the time of his death.  The quote below is from Wikipedia so all the usual caveats as to accuracy apply.

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Dawson [the king's lead physician], who supported the "gentle growth of euthanasia", wrote that he hastened the King's death by injecting him, at around 11.30 p.m., with two consecutive lethal injections of morphine and cocaine. Dawson claimed that he acted to preserve the King's dignity, to prevent further strain on the family, and so that the King's death at 11:55 p.m. could be announced in the morning edition of The Times newspaper rather than "less appropriate ... evening journals".  Neither Queen Mary, who was intensely religious and may not have sanctioned euthanasia, nor the Prince of Wales was consulted. The royal family did not want the King to endure pain and suffering and did not want his life prolonged artificially but nor did they approve Dawson's direct actions

Edited by WatchrTina
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@Jeeves (or anyone else in this thread), is there a better book than others on the abdication/their life together? I'm getting the sense there's the one book, from the '90s, about King Edward/the Duke, and "That Woman," which is about them as a couple, but I'm not sure either/both is worthwhile.

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23 minutes ago, Sarah D. Bunting said:

@Jeeves (or anyone else in this thread), is there a better book than others on the abdication/their life together? I'm getting the sense there's the one book, from the '90s, about King Edward/the Duke, and "That Woman," which is about them as a couple, but I'm not sure either/both is worthwhile.

I hate to say it, but no one title jumps out of my so-called memory right now. It's been quite awhile since my Wallis/Edward reading binge. Like, years. ETA: I remember reading some books that seemed well-researched, and some that were well into the gossip range. In the latter category there's one about how she carried on with Jimmy Donahue as Duchess of Windsor, and all I can remember from that is how empty the "glamorous" idle life of the Duke and Duchess seemed to me.

In fact, I think I'll try That Woman, because I haven't read it. My knowledge of the couple has built up over time, and I'm sorry that I can't cite anything specific right now. 

I remembered the detail that Wallis had been hurried out of the country well before the Abdication, because not long ago I watched Wallis & Edward (Joely Richardson, Stephen Campbell Moore) on Acorn. That was so much better than the corny old mini-series Edward & Mrs. Simpson (Cynthia Harris, Edward Fox) which was just more of the "Love Story of the Century" myth.

Edited by Jeeves
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22 minutes ago, Sarah D. Bunting said:

I'm getting the sense there's the one book, from the '90s, about King Edward/the Duke, and "That Woman," which is about them as a couple, but I'm not sure either/both is worthwhile.

That's probably the Philip Ziegler biography from 1991. It's informed, compassionate and fair. It's the one I read last and found that no other was needed. There are no heroes and no villains either. 

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My favourite Duke of Windsor book is Gone With The Windsor by Iles Brody and is pretty much a chapter by chapter freak out to the Duke's autobiography published in 1947.

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Thinking ahead to Season 2, the most obvious new characters to expect are Harold Macmillan and Anthony Armstrong-Jones.  Any others that spring to mind?

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"Tony Jones" was in season 1 as the Egyptian photograph guy. 

They could bring in Ronald Ferguson to prepare for Sarah's entry. I don't know when he got invloved with the polo stuff.

 

Perhaps the Mountbattend daughters will step up more. we didn't really see any regognizable ladies in waiting.

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On 11/5/2016 at 11:59 AM, millk said:

I like that the show is showing The Duke of Windsor as the small and bitter person that I've always seen him as and not the "grandest romance in history ever". Well would have had Elizabeth as Queen anyway since there was no way Wallis old have had ano heir but would have had to wait until 1977. That is if Edward hadn't sold the joint out to the Nazis. 

I'm enjoying the more nuanced portrayal.  I always thought he was a pathetic figure.  I think he clung to "that woman" because he felt unloved.  In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened to Britain.  Can you imagine having a Nazi sympathizer on the throne during WWII?  George was the right man at the right time.  It's so sad that it cost him so much.

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On 11/5/2016 at 9:59 AM, millk said:

I like that the show is showing The Duke of Windsor as the small and bitter person that I've always seen him as and not the "grandest romance in history ever". Well would have had Elizabeth as Queen anyway since there was no way Wallis old have had ano heir but would have had to wait until 1977. That is if Edward hadn't sold the joint out to the Nazis. 

 

On 11/8/2016 at 2:33 PM, monakane said:

I'm enjoying the more nuanced portrayal.  I always thought he was a pathetic figure.  I think he clung to "that woman" because he felt unloved.  In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened to Britain.  Can you imagine having a Nazi sympathizer on the throne during WWII?  George was the right man at the right time.  It's so sad that it cost him so much.

This discussion sparked my interest in Edward and Wallis. Because it's been a long time since I read any books about them, I borrowed a few from our public library. Last evening I plowed through Princes at War, by Deborah Cadbury. It was a good read, covering the lives of the four* sons of King George V from the Abdication through the death of King George VI (and a few bits later).

The book confirms that the stresses and strains of taking the throne with essentially no preparation, then leading Britain through WWII, could reasonably be said to have shortened King George's life. I suppose that specifically the smoking did him in, but he became a heavy smoker on medical advice to help with his speech issues, and IIRC generally for stress relief. For all his worries - and my God, did the man have worries! - he maintained toward the end some affection for his older brother despite all the post-Abdication and wartime antics of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And "antics" there were (my term, for want of a better one). When watching these episodes I wondered if Edward had really incessantly harped on getting that HRH for his wife, through all those years and on so many totally inappropriate occasions. Well, he did. What an entitled and delusional little shit he could be. I appreciate the nuances, and think the series did a great job with them. But at the mo, fresh from reading that book, I am not on Team Edward. No, he wasn't evil incarnate, just a flawed person, but the contrasts are stark when you look at the four Princes at war.

During WWII, Edward and Wallis were busy being self-seeking, self-absorbed**, centers of Nazi espionage plots and plans (wittingly or unwittingly or a little of both), and then whining about being sent to the Bahamas (the Duke was named Governor there), which got them out of war-torn Europe.

Also during WWII, all three of Edward's brothers literally and constantly risked their lives - and one died - for their nation's war effort. We know about King George VI. The third brother in age, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was no good at books, a whiz at all things athletic and sporting, and went into the Army instead of the Navy as his brothers had. He was generally considered kind of dim and inarticulate, but when Bertie needed him, he stepped up and endured danger in war zones, and long separations from his wife and babies, to help out. And apparently did a helluva job. The youngest son, the handsome, charming, and articulate Prince George, Duke of Kent, also served as an officer with the RAF (not a pilot himself, he dealt with logistics etc.) - also involving time away from his wife and small children - and was killed in a plane crash in 1942 while on a mission for the government. 

While Edward sat safely but resentfully in the Bahamas and constantly bothered the Palace with requests to tour the US, or visit the US, or get the effing  HRH for Wallis, hung out with some very rich and maybe shady guys, and did fuck all for anybody but his wife and himself.

-----

*The four sons who survived to adulthood, the youngest, Prince John, having died at 13 age of natural causes. 

**Okay, I have to share just one bit. As the Germans were invading France [or beginning their march across Europe if they actually hadn't gotten to France yet, I forget], and Britain's jeopardy was very clear, the Duke of Windsor walked into Cartier with a pocket full of precious jewels and an idea for a custom designed flamingo brooch for Wallis. Which was duly created, after he'd spent much time working with the jewelers and fussing to get all the details just right. He was that obsessed with her, and that oblivious to all the death, destruction, and danger at their doors. It was also suggested that the Windsors felt secure in wartime France because they were sure they were in no danger from the Nazis. I for one believe it.

Edited by Jeeves · Reason: I was itching to tweak a couple of sentences and finally had to scratch the itch. Ahh. . .
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9 hours ago, millk said:

John died of epilepsy and quite possibly sat on the autism spectrum as we know it now. 

Sorry, as someone who DOES have epilepsy, you don't DIE FROM epilepsy specifically, but you CAN die as a result of a seizure.  Semantics.

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Sorry. Semantics count.

There was a nice documentary about him. He had his own household and was known but set to the side. The Duke of Windsor was predictably horrible about him in letters. Princeven John The Windsor's Tragic Secret

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On 11/6/2016 at 4:40 PM, stcroix said:

I've always read that Phillip was dirt poor, having to always sponge off people for the very clothes on his back.  Lord [Mountbatten] hatched the scheme that he'd marry into the Windsor family,  . . .  [Mountbatten] wanted an in with the royal family and Phillip wanted an easy life.  

 

On 11/6/2016 at 5:25 PM, MissLucas said:

Mountbatten definitely championed the match. 

 

7 hours ago, Brn2bwild said:

Lord Mountbatten actually was part of the Royal Family, albeit tangentially.  His mother, Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven, was the daughter of Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hess, who in turn was Queen Victoria's second daughter.  So Louis Mountbatten was Queen Victoria's great-grandchild, as was Philip's mother, Alice.

I'm bringing this over from the "Monarchy" episode topic to avoid "future history spoilers." Although she stuck with the "Windsor" family name early in her reign, in 1960 the Queen decreed that her descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the family name of Mountbatten-Windsor. Deets online here: https://www.royal.uk/royal-family-name

However, this did not change the name of the "house," or dynasty. The monarchy remains The House of Windsor, as it was designated by King George V in 1917. Only the family name of Queen Elizabeth II's descendants was changed to Mountbatten-Windsor. So Lord Louis failed to establish The House of Mountbatten. If this series goes as planned, we'll see more of him because he remained very involved with the Royal Family until his death in 1979. His daughters - who must be of a great age now - seem to be fixtures as talking heads on BBC/PBS documentaries these days. 

Can anyone recommend a good biography of Mountbatten? He was quite a character, as was his wife. Remember the Duke of Windsor snarking about him as they watched the Coronation on TV in "Smoke and Mirrors"? He made a crack referring to the famous and avid promiscuity of Mountbatten's wife Edwina

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6 hours ago, Jeeves said:

I'm bringing this over from the "Monarchy" episode topic to avoid "future history spoilers." Although she stuck with the "Windsor" family name early in her reign, in 1960 the Queen decreed that her descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the family name of Mountbatten-Windsor.

The earliest individuals to whom that rule could possibly apply are the descendents of Prince Edward's son James (who should theoretically be Prince James, but goes by the title Viscount Severn at present); Prince Harry's grandchildren would be next.

Edited by SeanC
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11 hours ago, Jeeves said:

Can anyone recommend a good biography of Mountbatten?

Also Philip Ziegler! A terrific read, a compelling account of the career Mountbatton made of life, including his remarkable marriage and the dashing figure he cut in the midst of various twentieth century British crises: the abdication; Indian independence; Charles's desultory pursuit of a wife. And on video, The Last Viceroy is an intriguing BBC serial starring the brilliant Nicol Williamson -- mad, bad and dangerous to know -- with Ian Richardson as Nehru.  

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On 11/5/2016 at 11:07 AM, millk said:

I love Anne. she is so very dry and snarky.

Something about Anne reminds me of her great-grandmother Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven.  Victoria was snarky, witty, and managed to maintain a stiff upper lip and carry on through a very full life, even when it handed her tragedy after tragedy (for instance, two of her sisters died in Russia, one of them being Empress Alexandra, the last tsaritsa).  I don't know how close she was to Philip, but she did look after him, especially after his mother entered a sanitarium.  Victoria lived to see Philip marry Elizabeth and the birth of Charles.  It's too bad she didn't get a cameo in this series, if only because she's the reason the name Mountbatten exists -- she married Louis of Battenberg, and the name was later Anglicized.   

* Oh, and Victoria was someone people in those days could turn to as an example of "See? Smoking doesn't kill you!" as she smoked like a chimney and died in her 80s.

Edited by Brn2bwild
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On Friday, November 11, 2016 at 0:03 AM, Brn2bwild said:

Something about Anne reminds me of her great-grandmother Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven.  Victoria was snarky, witty, and managed to maintain a stiff upper lip and carry on through a very full life, even when it handed her tragedy after tragedy (for instance, two of her sisters died in Russia, one of them being Empress Alexandra, the last tsaritsa). 

She also lost her mother & youngest sister, May, to diptheria, and her youngest brother to an accident (he fell out a window, but he was hemophiliac, so he bled to death internally).

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On 11/8/2016 at 0:47 PM, SeanC said:

Thinking ahead to Season 2, the most obvious new characters to expect are Harold Macmillan and Anthony Armstrong-Jones.  Any others that spring to mind?

Andrew?

Edward?

JFK?

John Profumo?

Alec Douglas-Home?

Dead Winston Churchill?

Apologies if some of these have already appeared.  I've yet to watch Season 1.

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In the show, they had Charles riding a bicycle and Anne riding a trike before George VI died. In reality, Charles and Anne were a little younger than Prince George and Princess Charlotte are now. So my nitpick is the actors playing the little kids are too old. They've also prettied up Anne. Her hair was short and curly until Prince Andrew was born.

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In S01.E01, "Wolferton Splash," there's a great little scene which I mentioned in a post on that topic. It's just after the wedding of Princiess Elizabeth and Philip, when the families were posing for photographs. We see Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mum) and Queen Mary swapping a few gossipy barbs about Philip's mother, Princess Alice. Princess Alice is shown wearing a gray nun-like habit in that scene. Very different from what everyone else was wearing for the big occasion.

I didn't realize it then, but that's not at all what she wore to the wedding. I found the documentary "The Queen's Mother in Law," which I highly recommend, online, and have started to re-watch it. At the very beginning, the 1:00 mark, is a photo from that wedding. Princess Alice is not wearing a habit; she's wearing a purple dress with a matching hat and some jewelry. Although she's not arrayed with all the glitz of Queen Mary, she doesn't look out of place. 

Putting her in the gray habit in the wedding scene in this show was of course dramatic license. I actually think I'm OK with it, but it was fun to spot the discrepancy and I figured I'd share it.

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Admittedly, the only monarchs that fascinate me are the Plantagenets. Don't know much about QE II but this show has to be whitewashing her character, right?

I'm watching this series because it's gorgeous and I'm interested to learn if I agree with Dr. David Starkey's opinion of her as a monarch. I don't agree with Starkey on many things but I've grown to respect him as a historian.

Edited by turbogirlnyc

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2 hours ago, turbogirlnyc said:

this show has to be whitewashing her character, right?

I don't think anyone on this board can really answer that question but the portrayal of Elizabeth so far is in sync with everything I've ever heard about her.  She was a child when King Edward abdicated but she was old enough to realize what a scandal it was for the country.  She grew up seeing how hard it was on her father to have to step into the role of king and then to see the way the country came to respect and admire him for the resolve he displayed by staying in London (with his family) during the Blitz.  She really did serve as a mechanic during WWII and she really did save her ration books in order to be able to buy the fabric for her own wedding dress (though Parliament voted her extra ones to help out.)  She was formed in the crucible of scandal and war and my impression is that as a result of those early experiences the need to do her "duty" has always been the dominant guiding force in her life. And she really is crazy about horses.  So no, I don't think there is much white-washing going on.  But that's just my perception.

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On 11/17/2016 at 9:35 AM, Jeeves said:

In S01.E01, "Wolferton Splash," there's a great little scene which I mentioned in a post on that topic. It's just after the wedding of Princiess Elizabeth and Philip, when the families were posing for photographs. We see Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mum) and Queen Mary swapping a few gossipy barbs about Philip's mother, Princess Alice. Princess Alice is shown wearing a gray nun-like habit in that scene. Very different from what everyone else was wearing for the big occasion.

I didn't realize it then, but that's not at all what she wore to the wedding. I found the documentary "The Queen's Mother in Law," which I highly recommend, online, and have started to re-watch it. At the very beginning, the 1:00 mark, is a photo from that wedding. Princess Alice is not wearing a habit; she's wearing a purple dress with a matching hat and some jewelry. Although she's not arrayed with all the glitz of Queen Mary, she doesn't look out of place. 

Putting her in the gray habit in the wedding scene in this show was of course dramatic license. I actually think I'm OK with it, but it was fun to spot the discrepancy and I figured I'd share it.

I looked it up after that scene, as well, because I'd never noticed anyone in a habit in any of the wedding pictures I'd seen before.  Apparently QEII's fashion-conscious mother was worried that Philip's mother might attend the wedding in her habit, but it didn't actually happen.  Philip's mother, did, however, wear a wimple with her dress at Elizabeth's coronation.  They probably wanted to get that tidbit in, but didn't have a good place to put it in the coronation episode.

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11 hours ago, WatchrTina said:

I don't think anyone on this board can really answer that question but the portrayal of Elizabeth so far is in sync with everything I've ever heard about her.  She was a child when King Edward abdicated but she was old enough to realize what a scandal it was for the country.  She grew up seeing how hard it was on her father to have to step into the role of king and then to see the way the country came to respect and admire him for the resolve he displayed by staying in London (with his family) during the Blitz.  She really did serve as a mechanic during WWII and she really did save her ration books in order to be able to buy the fabric for her own wedding dress (though Parliament voted her extra ones to help out.)  She was formed in the crucible of scandal and war and my impression is that as a result of those early experiences the need to do her "duty" has always been the dominant guiding force in her life. And she really is crazy about horses.  So no, I don't think there is much white-washing going on.  But that's just my perception.

I suppose white washing was the wrong terminology. I don't doubt any of what you stated but the character comes across as having very little personality. We finally see her tipped over the edge by Phillip's comments in one episode and it was quite refreshing. Perhaps this series is portraying her with amazing accuracy. But as you said, who really knows? 

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I suppose everyone will come to the show with preconceived notions of the different real life people being portrayed and would be either happy or disappointed about it. The Elizabeth we are seeing reads real to what I know. So do Margaret and David. I'm not too sure about Philip. I think it's a bit too sulky but that's me. when we get to the 80s and Diana I will have LOTS of feels. (I personally can't stand the woman)

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With the caveat that I'm not judging Prince Philip by modern standards, I really have to say that I do feel some real pity for him and I always have, long before this series.

 

Everyone else in the world (or at least in the UK and likely the majority of the rest of the world) at that time operated within a set of tradition and standards and he was made to operate by an entirely different set because of an entirely unique set of circumstances. 

 

Did he handle it well? No, he didn't. Could he have been more supportive of his wife? Of course he could have been. Is there any real excuse for his petulance and resentment, especially since he had to have known that he would have eventually faced these issues no matter how long George VI survived? Not really.

 

But holding him to modern standards in taking the measure of his acts in the 1950s is simply unfair. He and HM were placed in an entirely unique position at the time and they both adapted the best way they could. Now, Philip's way was pretty much shit for a while, but there's a reason that particular marriage survived and eventually thrived. He did get over it and became his wife's constant stay and support, as HM herself has said in paying tribute to him years later.

 

No pity for the Duke of Windsor, however, especially since the abdication turned out to be the very best thing that could have happened for all involved except for poor Albert and his family.

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17 hours ago, turbogirlnyc said:

Admittedly, the only monarchs that fascinate me are the Plantagenets. Don't know much about QE II but this show has to be whitewashing her character, right?

I'm watching this series because it's gorgeous and I'm interested to learn if I agree with Dr. David Starkey's opinion of her as a monarch. I don't agree with Starkey on many things but I've grown to respect him as a historian.

Thus far, I don't think so.  Elizabeth was born and raised under unique circumstances what with the abdication followed by WWII.  Her parents inculcated her with the message that duty comes before all and that, as Queen, she was a figurehead and must always behave with decorum and discretion.  I'm not sure anyone knows the 'real' Elizabeth, except maybe her parents, Philip and Margaret; as she was taught that it was her responsibility to never express an opinion or let her feelings be known.  They're the ones who knew her best before she became Queen; and, of the 4, Philip is the only one still living and he isn't going to be giving any intimate insight into his wife now or ever.  If anything, I think the series has done a very good job of showing the pressures she was facing as well as the general family attitude about the 'job' of monarch and how she adapted to it.  Her conversation with her grandmother, Mary of Teck; followed by Elizabeth's later chiding of Margaret for being too open at public appearances; rings true as Elizabeth passes along the hard-won wisdom of the family business. 

As the series progresses, I think we're going to see how Elizabeth adapts to the changing times and their effect on the role of monarch.  Not that that is news to anyone who saw the film, 'The Queen'.

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On 11/10/2016 at 6:30 AM, Jeeves said:

 

. . . in 1960 the Queen decreed that her descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the family name of Mountbatten-Windsor. Deets online here: https://www.royal.uk/royal-family-name

 

On 11/10/2016 at 1:11 PM, SeanC said:

The earliest individuals to whom that rule could possibly apply are the descendents of Prince Edward's son James (who should theoretically be Prince James, but goes by the title Viscount Severn at present); Prince Harry's grandchildren would be next.

Maybe it's not a requirement but it's been used by at least one of the Queen's children. I've just (re)watched a documentary about Prince Philip. It mentions this decree, and says that Princess Anne used the new surname when she married, with a screenshot of the marriage certificate. 

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On 11/7/2016 at 1:40 PM, Sarah D. Bunting said:

@Jeeves (or anyone else in this thread), is there a better book than others on the abdication/their life together? I'm getting the sense there's the one book, from the '90s, about King Edward/the Duke, and "That Woman," which is about them as a couple, but I'm not sure either/both is worthwhile.

I have read so many will try to remember them,  The Phillip Zeigler book is a good one.

I also can recommend this bio of Queen Mary which reveals much about DoW and his brother and their childhood

Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor,  Anne Edwards

Francis Donaldson Edward VIII

and here is a list I found on Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/42008.The_Duke_and_Duchess_of_Windsor_and_the_Abdication_of_Edward_VIII_Nonfiction#1616739

which should keep you busy

Edited by hummingbird

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On 11/7/2016 at 1:55 PM, Jeeves said:

I hate to say it, but no one title jumps out of my so-called memory right now. It's been quite awhile since my Wallis/Edward reading binge. Like, years. ETA: I remember reading some books that seemed well-researched, and some that were well into the gossip range. In the latter category there's one about how she carried on with Jimmy Donahue as Duchess of Windsor, and all I can remember from that is how empty the "glamorous" idle life of the Duke and Duchess seemed to me.

In fact, I think I'll try That Woman, because I haven't read it. My knowledge of the couple has built up over time, and I'm sorry that I can't cite anything specific right now. 

I remembered the detail that Wallis had been hurried out of the country well before the Abdication, because not long ago I watched Wallis & Edward (Joely Richardson, Stephen Campbell Moore) on Acorn. That was so much better than the corny old mini-series Edward & Mrs. Simpson (Cynthia Harris, Edward Fox) which was just more of the "Love Story of the Century" myth.

yes but Edward Fox as DoW was good, and Cynthia Harris looked like her, but it was a more romantic take on the story.

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I loved this season and would really like to read more about the period covered, in relation to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Does anyone have any particular book recommendations in this regard? 

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I loved the first season!  Anyoneelse concerned how they will get up to modern day in 6 seasons?  I've read season 2 covers up to 1965ish so if you assume a decade for each season we would only get to 2005.  And some decades so much happened that I think it will be difficult to include all the major events.

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New here. Finding this a little uneven, but that may be because I'm a Tudor nerd and much of this modern-day (relatively speaking) material is new to me, other than the basics one picks up as an American. And I'm of the "Diana" generation; didn't live through the early years of QEII's reign, had a sub-standard education, and my history interest was originally sparked by the soapier aspects of the Tudor reign. I also just watched Victoria--that in addition to every book, documentary and dramatic series about the Tudors of the last 20 years, including a near obsession with Wolf Hall. 

... all of which means I'm accustomed to certain tropes in my historical semi-fiction when it comes to British queens, and this show is obviously following a different blueprint. And I'm trying to shift my thinking, since after all it's a different time and a different queen. I love Claire Foy--she's tied with Natalie Dormer for my favorite portrayals of Anne Boleyn--but I'm at episode three and she's still a cipher. Which I suppose is intentional, but doesn't make for riveting viewing. Again, probably spoiled by the hundred-year soap opera that was the Tudor dynasty, and a steady diet of easily-digestible television period pieces like Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, and Agent Carter. Bottom line, though, the show isn't pushing my historical OR television-fan buttons.

Anyway, just musing out loud. I appreciate the historical background you all are providing, and the show has at least inspired a few Wikipedia deep dives.

Edited by kieyra · Reason: Autocorrect got me on Downto(w)n.

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11 hours ago, kieyra said:

New here. Finding this a little uneven, but that may be because I'm a Tudor nerd and much of this modern-day (relatively speaking) material is new to me, other than the basics one picks up as an American. And I'm of the "Diana" generation; didn't live through the early years of QEII's reign, had a sub-standard education, and my history interest was originally sparked by the soapier aspects of the Tudor reign. I also just watched Victoria--that in addition to every book, documentary and dramatic series about the Tudors of the last 20 years, including a near obsession with Wolf Hall. 

... all of which means I'm accustomed to certain tropes in my historical semi-fiction when it comes to British queens, and this show is obviously following a different blueprint. And I'm trying to shift my thinking, since after all it's a different time and a different queen. I love Claire Foy--she's tied with Natalie Dormer for my favorite portrayals of Anne Boleyn--but I'm at episode three and she's still a cipher. Which I suppose is intentional, but doesn't make for riveting viewing. Again, probably spoiled by the hundred-year soap opera that was the Tudor dynasty, and a steady diet of easily-digestible television period pieces like Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, and Agent Carter. Bottom line, though, the show isn't pushing my historical OR television-fan buttons.

Anyway, just musing out loud. I appreciate the historical background you all are providing, and the show has at least inspired a few Wikipedia deep dives.

I think that, as a modern story, whose protagonists are still living, as are many folks who were alive and remember the actual events; it is hard to 'soap it up' like the many Tudor novels do.  Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies are terrific books, but let's face it; there's nobody around to verify the conversations, the smaller events or even the basic personality traits of the protagonists.  That gives the author a blank canvas on which to construct the story; while any story about the House of Windsor is subject to actual recollection as well as the near-ubiquitous media coverage surrounding the royals.  There are newsreels, documentaries, magazines, TV shows just from, the 50's that have so much more detail than we'll ever have about the Tudors.  Look at the previous discussion of the historical accuracy about what the mother of the groom wore at the wedding.  Multiple people stepped forward with actual photos and videos to dispute the onscreen depiction.  The lines are much narrower for telling this story.

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6 hours ago, doodlebug said:

I think that, as a modern story, whose protagonists are still living, as are many folks who were alive and remember the actual events; it is hard to 'soap it up' like the many Tudor novels do.  Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies are terrific books, but let's face it; there's nobody around to verify the conversations, the smaller events or even the basic personality traits of the protagonists.  That gives the author a blank canvas on which to construct the story; while any story about the House of Windsor is subject to actual recollection as well as the near-ubiquitous media coverage surrounding the royals.  There are newsreels, documentaries, magazines, TV shows just from, the 50's that have so much more detail than we'll ever have about the Tudors.  Look at the previous discussion of the historical accuracy about what the mother of the groom wore at the wedding.  Multiple people stepped forward with actual photos and videos to dispute the onscreen depiction.  The lines are much narrower for telling this story.

Interesting. I suppose I came across as mostly being into Tudor fiction, but I've read endless amounts of non-fiction as well. I'd argue that there's enough "paper" from the Tudor era (correspondence and diplomatic records and such) that we DO have a very good idea of the personality traits of the Tudor monarchs (and their contemporaries). In fact, while watching The Crown, the thing that's struck me is that, in the Information Age, it's paradoxically much more difficult to get a sense of young QE2's personality. Apparently.

(As a final disclaimer I'll mention that I'm well aware that Wolf Hall is basically historical fan-fiction.)

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I watched the movie "The Young Victoria" with Emily Blunt last night and it ends with the suggestion that, following the attempt on the life of the young queen during which Prince Albert was shot, Victoria became much more open with him about her duties and leaned on him as a sort of behind-the-scenes co-monarch.  That is only suggested of course (she brings his desk into her office and has it set up directly opposite hers so that the two of them would face one another across their desks) but I'm guessing there is some evidence of her relying on him as a key advisor.  

This show depicts Elizabeth as very carefully NOT allowing Philip to play such a role -- refusing to let him see the contents of her daily box from parliament despite his asking to  I wonder how much of both situations is true and, if they are being accurately depicted, I wonder WHY Elizabeth was so careful to draw the line between monarch and spouse so much more rigidly.  There's a line in "The Young Queen" where Victoria says to her aunt, the Dowager Queen something along the lines of "You didn't play a role in the governing of the country" to which the Queen replies, "You don't know what I did."  I guess that's the real answer.  We'll never know just what Philip's real role has been in "ruling" the country all these years.

Edited by WatchrTina
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I just found out it's Elizabeth and Philip's wedding anniversary! ...I gotta say I think anyone who can maintain a mostly-happy marriage for 69 years deserves accolades for that feat alone.

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2 hours ago, WatchrTina said:

I watched the movie "The Young Victoria" with Emily Blunt last night and it ends with the suggestion that, following the attempt on the life of the young queen during which Prince Albert was shot, Victoria became much more open with him about her duties and leaned on him as a sort of behind-the-scenes co-monarch.  That is only suggested of course (she brings his desk into her office and has it set up directly opposite hers so that the two of them would face one another across their desks) but I'm guessing there is some evidence of her relying on him as a key advisor.  

Prince Albert was never shot.  That was fictional.  I think Victoria wanted Albert to be happy and leaned on him as the sort of stable male figure in her life that she never had (her father having died when she was nine months), so she gave him more and more control.  Albert was bright, curious, and motivated, so he managed to do a lot with his role as Prince Consort.  While I doubt Philip is stupid, I don't think he ever had the same intellectual heft and ambition to reform his adopted nation as Albert did. 

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