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"And while you mourn your father, you must also mourn someone else: Elizabeth Mountbatten. For she has now been replaced by another person, Elizabeth Regina. The two Elizabeths will frequently be in conflict with one another. The fact is, the Crown must win. Must always win."
Queen Mary

The Crown is an award-winning Netflix original series which premiered on 4 November 2016. It follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II and that of her family, ministers, and governments, from her wedding in 1947 until 2005.

Series One and Two, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith as the monarch and consort, cover 1947 to 1963 and track Elizabeth's growth from young princess to experienced queen. King George VI's untimely death from cancer in 1952 pushes Elizabeth onto the throne far sooner than she had expected, only a few years after she married against the advice of her family. Her burgeoning family life is thrown into disarray by the obligations of her position as she struggles to embody the authority and dignity of the Crown. This is complicated by her husband's dissatisfaction with his role and the public misbehaviour of other Windsors. On top of all this, she must learn how far she can and cannot go in her role as monarch, especially when it comes to dealing with elder statesmen like Winston Churchill and foreign leaders who underestimate the young queen.

Series Three and Four, starring Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, cover 1964 to 1990 and follow a middle-aged Elizabeth reigning at a time of economic turmoil while dealing with continued family drama behind the scenes.

Series Five and Six have Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce take over as the head and consort of the royal house.

The series was created by and is written in large part by Peter Morgan, who has written a loose series of works about Elizabeth II's reign. The Queen is about the older Elizabeth (at the time of Diana's death) and her relationship with her then-new Prime Minister, Tony Blair; The Audience is about her entire reign; The Deal, meanwhile, is about Blair's deal with Gordon Brown to get the Labour leadership ahead of the 1997 election.

The series has a recap page under construction.


The Crown contains examples of:

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    A-F 
  • Abdicate the Throne: That's what Edward VIII did to marry his twice-divorced lover, and the memory of the crisis still haunts the House of Windsor.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Subverted. Lascelles and the Queen Mum try to invoke this with Margaret and Peter, but they're still as in love with each other as ever at the end of their two-year separation, forcing Elizabeth to deploy the nuclear option.
  • Accidental Innuendo: invoked Diana in "Terra Nullius", when she and Charles talk about how they could improve their relationship:
    Diana: I suppose we've got to learn to give it to each other on a more regular basis. (Charles snickers) The encouragement, I mean.
    Charles: Well, and the other thing.
    Diana: Well, yes, that too.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Edward seems to enjoy Charles' "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Andrew in "48:1", where Charles points out that the headlines created by the rift between his mother and Thatcher have appropriately stolen the thunder from Andrew's wedding, because he's only a fringe royal - fourth in line to the throne in 1986, and will be further away when William has children (as at 2020, now eighth)
    Edward: That was impressively cunty.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The fourth season episode "48:1" is essentially a fleshing out of the Margaret Thatcher scene from The Audience, to the point of even reusing large chunks of dialogue.
  • Advertised Extra: Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher is given equal placement to Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana in the season four poster. While the Queen is the true lead and Diana becomes a central focus of the season, Thatcher is more of an important secondary figure that year. The placement is even more noticeable when Josh O'Connor's Prince Charles is left out, even though he's at least as prominent as Diana.
  • Advice Backfire: The most notable example is probably the effort to separate Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend. Elizabeth's advisors believe allowing them to marry would inflict damage upon the monarchy on the level of Edward VIII's abdication; in fact, the press and the public, who have by then adopted more modern attitudes, criticize the Royal Family for not allowing the marriage to take place.
  • The Alcoholic: Boris Yeltsin; John Major suspects that when he visited him in Moscow, he was drunk the whole time.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Elizabeth's one real "passion," as Margaret points out, is for her horses. Margaret and the Queen Mother are also accomplished riders, as is Princess Anne.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Diana loved Prince Charles, but he pined for Camilla. Camilla in turn was in love with Andrew Parker Bowles.
  • Ambiguous Situation: A few:
    • The show loves to hint at Prince Philip's supposed adultery. This is particularly noticeable on the second series, in which the Queen suspects him of having cheated on her with a ballet dancer, an Australian journalist who uses her charms to get an interview (and maybe more) and, at the end, a hint that he may have become involved in the social circle of Stephen Ward (who basically used his social connections to pimp out call girls to upper-class men) — thus making him a peripheral player in the Profumo Scandal.
    • The show tends to be sympathetic to Diana but holds her impassioned speech to save her marriage at a chilly remove. Is Diana being sincere about loving her husband, or does she just want to still be Queen of England someday?
  • Ambivalent Anglican: While Elizabeth has strong religious convictions, the rest of her family isn't as invested in the C of E. William has to "sign the book" on his first day at Eton. He doesn't know what to put down when he has to fill in the field marked "Religion." Irritated, Charles tells him to put down "Church of England", and reminds William that he'll eventually be the Supreme Governor of said church.
  • Analogy Backfire: In "Gunpowder", Diana expresses second thoughts about doing a BBC interview. The reporter, Martin Bashir, notes that she chose November 5th as the interview date (because everyone else would be out celebrating Guy Fawkes Night) and tries to use that as leverage to persuade her:
    Bashir: The thirteen members of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 also almost pulled out at the last minute and it took the ringleader to encourage them to stick with it.
    Diana: Maybe he shouldn’t have! Not only were they unsuccessful, they were hung, drawn and quartered!
  • Appeal to Tradition: The main conflict between senior courtiers and members of the Royal Family (Queen Mary, The Queen Mother, Tommy Lascelles, etc.) who wish to maintain the traditions of the monarchy, and the younger generation (Prince Philip and Princess Margaret) who wish to modernize and liven it up with an Appeal to Novelty, with the young but eminently sensible and responsible Queen caught in the middle. As he gets older, Prince Philip becomes more of a traditionalist, setting up conflict between him and Prince Charles who assumes the moderniser role.
  • Arc Words: "Fairytale", about Charles' and Diana's love story. Whenever someone mentions how much of a fairytale it is, you can be rest assured the show will tell you how very un-fairytale it really is.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "Assassins," Elizabeth delivers this to Philip at the end.
    I have nothing to hide from you. Nothing. Porchey is a friend. And yes, there were those who would have preferred me to marry him. Indeed, marriage with him might have been easier. Might have even worked better than ours. But to everyone's regret and frustration...the only person I have ever loved was you. And can you honestly look me in the eye and say the same? Can you? [walks away]
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Coup", one of the business leaders in attendance at the Bank of England meeting describes the Labour government's financial plans as "an attack on freedom, democracy, and capitalism".
  • Artistic License – Geography: In Series 6 episode "Dis-Moi Oui", Diana and Dodi ostensibly head to Monte Carlo for an evening out. However, not only does the graffiti on the walls of the streets and the pop-up street betting games immediately signify that this is not scrupulously clean and well-ordered Monaco, but paparazzi-type press photographers are simply not allowed in the Principality and the very prevalent police would immediately shut down such action, as well as swiftly quelling the screaming throng that chase Diana and Dodi into a jewellers, and later down to their transfer boat at Port Hercules.
  • Artistic License – History: Has its own page.
  • As You Know:
    • The script uses this a few times to aid the audience, as when Martin Charteris reminds Elizabeth about how regnal names work, to the point of reminding her what her father and uncle's names were.
    • Subverted and lampshaded in a later episode — Michael Adeane gives Tommy Lascelles an "as you know" briefing of the interpersonal relationships of half the staff's spouses. Tommy responds, "Why on earth would I know that?"
  • At the Opera Tonight: In episode 5, Elizabeth and Phillip attend a ballet, but the real focus is on them discussing the coronation. Elizabeth goes to the ballet on her own in the following series, but it's mainly to check out the ballerina with whom she suspects Philip's been having an affair.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • Played with, the Coronation is the central event of the fifth episode, but more importance is given to the anointing with holy oil as the climax of the entire service.
    • Phillip's investiture after Elizabeth consents to raise him to a Prince is far less extravagant, but he takes quite a bit of pleasure in its happening in front of all the Parliament members who'd been looking down on him.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Most of the marriages in the show, really.
    • Margaret's marriage is in dire shape by Season 3, with she and Antony sniping at each other at nearly every opportunity. Antony even takes to writing down insults and hiding them where Margaret will find them later.
    • Elizabeth's and Philip's improves over time, but is seriously rocky in the early seasons.
    • The majority of Charles' and Diana's marriage is straight misery with a few nice moments.
    • Anne and Mark are both deeply unhappy and having affairs, as are Camilla and Andrew.
    • But perhaps the grimmest marriage portrayed in the show is Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and his wife Dorothy, the latter of whom is openly contemptuous of the former, and carries on a long-term affair with Robert Boothby. In Real Life, Harold and Dorothy knew their marriage had been over for decades, but in an era before no-fault divorce, stayed together for the sake of Harold's political career while living almost entirely separate lives.
  • Babies Make Everything Better:
    • In Series 2, Elizabeth announces that she wants to have more children. Philip notes that this is for two reasons. One, is because she wants to move on from the recent troubles in their marriage and considers this to be a way to symbolize a new start. Two, she's become much colder and distant towards Charles (since he's her heir and a constant reminder of her mortality) and she wants a child who can simply be hers to love without the additional pressure of having to maintain the monarchy.
    • Charles' and Diana's tumultuous relationship temporarily improves after the birth of William.
  • Berserk Button:
    • A rather understated and stoic one, as befitting the person. However, in "Vergangenheit," when Elizabeth refuses the Duke of Windsor's request for official royal jobs and to return to Britain, he launches into a self-pitying rant in which he decries the "inhumanity" of her and her family's treatment of him. Unfortunately, Elizabeth has recently been presented with evidence of the Duke's palling around with Nazis, which extended to borderline treasonous dealings with them while his former subjects were being bombed in the Blitz. Clearly this was a very bad choice of words, as she proceeds to let him have it with both barrels. This is echoed in Season 1, when the Duke is advised by both Tommy Lascelles and the Archbishop of Canterbury not to attend Elizabeth's coronation. He accuses Tommy of placing his personal animus towards the Duke above the country's welfare. The normally unflappable Tommy stands up and angrily replies that he will not allow the Duke to lecture him on patriotism.
    • A less understated and stoic one from Elizabeth occurs earlier, however, when Philip — chafing at Elizabeth's determination to see through a major royal tour — accuses her of only doing so to try and compensate for her inferiority over not being her late father's favourite daughter, and cruelly mimics King George's stammer while doing so. He gets a drinking glass and a tennis racquet thrown at his head for his troubles.
  • Big Fancy House: Buckingham Palace is too big and fancy to actually be very comfortable. Elizabeth's family tries to resist living there in favor of the smaller and more modest Clarence House, but they are eventually forced to live there.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: How the Windsors are portrayed. The parents are distant from the children, most of the marriages are unhappy, nobody really understands each other, there’s several cases of adultery, Margaret is an alcoholic, Diana is bulimic, and Wallis Simpson hates everybody.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • David, Duke of Windsor (the unfortunate Edward VIII), who while he acts courteous and properly affectionate to his family and the public, is revealed, through his letters to his wife, Wallis Simpson, to despise his family and country for the circumstances of the abdication. In fact, they are overjoyed that public opinion turns against the Royal Family during Margaret's affair with Peter Townsend. Of course, almost everyone in the Royal Family and Government can see through his façade, leaving only the public completely fooled.
    • Subverted with Jacqueline Kennedy, where after charming nearly the entirety of The House of Winsdor, including Elizabeth herself, the Queen is taken aback after learning some of the nasty things the First Lady had said about her at a public dinner. As Jackie explains, however, when apologizing to Elizabeth, that she had been drugged by her husband's secretary, loosening her tongue, and not once does she ever condone or try to rationalize her inappropriate behavior.
    • On Charles's suggestion, Camilla and Diana have lunch together after the engagement announcement, during the course of which Camilla relentlessly intimidates Diana with her own familiarity with Charles's preferences and habits, as well as accounts of their time spent together and private jokes. This may be a case of Innocently Insensitive, but given how frosty Camilla becomes the instant Diana asserts her own relationship with Charles, probably not.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first series ends with Elizabeth's reign coming into the promise of Churchill's "new Elizabethan age," but also with a noticeable rift in Elizabeth and Philip's marriage, Princess Margaret being heartbroken by the resolution of the Townsend affair, Churchill realizing that his age is catching up to him and resigning, and a deteriorating situation in Egypt, foreshadowing the Suez Crisis which occurs in the premiere of the second series.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: In 'Ritz', Princess Margaret has just suffered a second and serious stroke, with burned feet as a consequence of suffering it in a hot bath, but wants to 'go out with a bang' and have her 70th birthday party at the Ritz. The Queen really doesn't think this is a good idea, as would any medical professional and indeed many non-medical people, professionals or otherwise. But Margaret reminds the Queen of the 'good times' they had at the Ritz, with the implication that the family might find out certain compromising details about the Queen if she can't have her party.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
    • The first sign of George's cancer is when he begins coughing blood into the toilet ahead of Philip's investiture as Duke of Edinburgh. This also just happens to be the first scene in the entire series.
    • Echoed in Season 3 with the Duke of Windsor's cancer.
    • Echoed again in Season 4, with Princess Margaret coughing up blood during lunch with the Queen. She undergoes investigative surgery shortly thereafter.
  • Boarding School of Horrors: Charles experiences Gordonstoun as this, later calling it "hell." And it certainly is tough, subjecting its students to a regimen of hard physical activity, cold showers and menial labor, not to mention the student bullying that usually happens in such schools. However, its headmaster is also a Reasonable Authority Figure who explains that he's trying to raise men strong enough to confront modern evils (and as a Jew who escaped Nazi Germany, he should know), and he eventually wins over Philip, leading the latter to send his children there.
  • Book Dumb:
    • Elizabeth laments that she never received a proper education and can't really hold a conversation about current events and scientific developments. Others are quick to point out that her knowledge of the British Constitution is second-to-none, due to having received exclusive in-depth lessons as a child, and that not even her most experienced ministers would dare to take her on in a battle on the minutiae of constitutional matters. She wanted differently for her children. Charles is the first direct descendant in the family to have graduated from university, which he's seen attending in season 3.
    • Neither Camilla nor Diana are portrayed as especially academic or well-read, particularly compared to the bookish Charles. Charles doesn't appear to mind this with Camilla, as they share a number of other interests. He is disdainful, however, of Diana's "incurious" nature.
  • Book Ends: The series began with the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip and the death of King George VI. It ends with Prince Charles finally marrying Camilla and Elizabeth planning her own death.
  • Breakout Character: With little surprise, Diana Spencer. Relative unknown Emma Corrin has been universally praised in the press and by fans for her uncannily on-point performance as the Princess of Wales, to the point that it's been acknowledged that she steals almost all of the scenes that she's in, art imitating life, perhaps? Given the fascination with Diana, it was perhaps inevitable that she'd induce the strongest intrigue, but an unfavorable performance could have quite easily gone the other way, for the series in general.
  • Brick Joke: The Duke of Edinburgh, obsessed with the Apollo mission, disregards safety instructions while flying his plane in order to (seemingly) fly to the Moon. When he finally meets the surprisingly dull astronauts he is told that sticking to procedure and protocol was essential to their success.
  • Broken Pedestal: After the Apollo 11 moon landing, Philip becomes infatuated with the astronauts and arranges a private audience with them so that he can bathe in their wisdom. However, he finds them to be completely unremarkable, just three dull flight jockeys with head colds and no profound insight to share.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • The crux of the tension between Churchill and Grahame Sutherland, his portraitist, in "Assassins." Churchill wants a portrait that will reflect his mythic self-identity as a titan of British politics. Sutherland, however, values honesty, and instead depicts Churchill as he is — a weak, increasingly frail elderly man.
    • Lord Altrincham's criticisms of the monarchy and how increasingly out-of-touch it's becoming to modern Britain are depicted as this. The point is made at a scene late in the episode, when Elizabeth is secretly meeting with Altrincham; when he produces his list of proposed reforms and begins to read through them, Elizabeth peppers the conversation with some chippy commentary until Altrincham gently points out that he's only there in the first place at her request, heavily suggesting that even she knows that while she might not want to hear what he has to say, on some level she knows she needs to. Elizabeth is slightly humbled, concedes the point and allows him to continue without further snideness.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Kenyan king who greeted the royal couple at the airstrip returns after the news of George VI's death and locks eyes with Elizabeth, now queen, as she departs for England.
    • In the fourth episode, Elizabeth takes her box of paperwork and flips it upside-down once Tommy leaves the room, just as her father had suggested in the first — they put everything they don't want the monarch to know about on the bottom.
    • During the montage near the end of "Mrs. Kennedy," while the audience is informed and updated on the unfolding events of President Kennedy's assassination, the music from "Hyde Park Corner" during the sequence after George VI dies is playing.
    • In one episode, Elizabeth personally intercedes with Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah to secure a treaty, even dancing with him at an official party. The next season, it's casually mentioned that he was overthrown a year or two later.
    • The first episode of The Crown begins with King George VI violently coughing up blood into a toilet — a sign of the lung cancer which will later kill him. A Series 3 episode, "Dangling Man", begins with his elder brother, the former King Edward VIII, doing exactly the same thing. He's then diagnosed with cancer, which the doctor refers to as "structural alterations", much like George VI.
  • Call-Forward: Anne says Charles should be prepared to have "three in the marriage" if he marries Camilla, due to her continuing love for Andrew Parker Bowles. This is famously how Princess Diana described her marriage with Charles due to his love for Camilla.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Not to her father, but to her abdicated Uncle David. Elizabeth demands an apology for making her the heiress presumptive, robbing her of a normal life, and gets one.
    • She also takes her mother to task for inadequately educating her to talk to statesmen even though they knew early on that she'd become Queen.
    • Elizabeth herself is on the receiving end of one herself in Season 3 courtesy of Prince Charles about her own disregards for his thoughts and wishes.
    • William is infuriated with Charles for multiple Diana-related issues in Season 6 after her death, and finally explodes at him about them.
  • Camera Abuse: Elizabeth scatters a symbolic handful of earth onto her father's coffin, covering the camera lens.
  • Camp Gay:
    • The famous designer Norman Hartnell who designed most of the outfits worn by the Queen on her Commonwealth Tour. Historically, the Queen Mother was also one of his frequent and favourite clients. The portrayal of Hartnell as camp is quite accurate, as is the studious blind eye everyone turned towards it.
    • The photographer Cecil Beaton, who took the Royal Family's portrait photographs. The portrayal of his campness is slightly less accurate (he was not quite that flaming, and he may have been at least bisexual), but overall a fair portrait considering his role in the series as a fusty, overly-fawning mirror to the dark, modernist (and straight-leaning bisexual) wild man Antony Armstrong-Jones.
  • Camp Straight: Downplayed, but even for the son of a queen, in his brief portrayal in Season 4, Prince Edward uses affected Gratuitous French and says "Ouch!" — while watching one of his older brothers verbally bitchslap the other — in a manner that firmly falls under this. It may be shorthand for the series not covering how in Real Life, he quit the Royal Marines to work in theatre.note 
  • Cassandra Truth: In "Fairytale", Princess Margaret tells the Queen, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother that Charles and Diana's engagement should be called off, because Charles still loves Camilla, so the marriage can only end in disaster. They don't listen, insisting that Charles and Diana will learn to love each other.
  • Cast Full of Rich People: Given that it deals with a young Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the British royalty and nobility, who lead appropriately lavish lifestyles, this is obvious. For example, Elizabeth sets out on a tour with a different hand-crafted gown each day.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In season 6's "Persona Non Grata", William and Dodi discuss the upcoming Tomorrow Never Dies, in which Jonathan Pryce (Prince Philip) plays the villain.
  • Central Theme: What place does an inherently illiberal and undemocratic institution like the royal family have in the post-World War II world which has ushered in the most prosperous, stable, and democratic era in human history?
  • The Chains of Commanding: A major theme of the series, not only through Elizabeth learning to take on the responsibilities of the Crown even at the increasing cost of her personal happiness, but also through the struggles of her Prime Ministers, beginning with Sirs Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. Episode Eight has a poignant moment when she and Prince Philip return home after a months-long journey abroad, and once they return home, Prince Philip goes absolutely nuts running around with their children with their corgies yapping at their heels, while The Queen gives them a longing look and then exits stage left to a meeting with Prime Minister Churchill.
  • Chest of Medals:
    • Philip has an impressive collection of medals, including, it should be noted, a number of campaign medals earned the hard way, and goes around showing off to a group of African chiefs while on a goodwill visit. He's taken aback that an African chief has earned a Victoria Cross.
    • When Anthony Eden travels to Egypt, President Nasser meets him in uniform. Eden compliments him on his decorations, but Nasser seems to take this as a Stealth Insult, as he's fully aware of Eden's much more distinguished military record. Though it's implied (and Eden certainly believes) that Nasser is merely feigning offence for political reasons.
    • In addition to being born a prince, Lord Mountbatten had an extremely long and illustrious military career, so dress uniform is positively covered in medals and honors.
  • Cold Open: Each episode of the first season opens on a moment in Elizabeth's life before her coronation that will somehow then relate to the events facing the Queen in the episode's main storyline. This continues infrequently in later seasons, where the cold opens more commonly depict the lead-up to the event on which the episode will focus.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When the Queen hears that Diana intends to take her infant son with her on her and Charles' tour of Australia and New Zealand, she remarks how unusual that is and how back in her day, she and Phillip left the children at home for five months. Princess Margaret, eyeing Princess Anne, quietly asks if perhaps that had some negative repercussions. Obliviously, the Queen responds that the tour was a complete success. Margaret and Anne exchange a glance.
  • Content Warning: Season 4 episodes depicting Princess Diana's bulimia are preceded by a warning which includes the website address of an easting disorder charity.
  • Cool Crown:
    • Tiaras and crowns are seen in many important events, most of which are based on real life regalia.
    • The opening credits show a piece of gold ore's gradual transformation into the Imperial State Crown.
    • There is also St Edward's Crown, which is used for the official crowning of the monarch. It's stated to weigh 5 lbs, much heavier than the Imperial State Crown's 2.3 lbs, and Elizabeth practices walking with it so it won't fall off her head and to get used to the weight of it. It should be noted that the crown itself is shown to be Awesome, yet Impractical. It's disproportionately large compared to the wearer's head, and quite unbalanced (it visibly wobbled when George moved his head with it on).note 
    • A Kenyan chieftain also has a pretty cool one, but since it doesn't look like a European crown, Philip mistakenly says, "Like the hat."
  • Costume Porn: The show is filled with gorgeous period clothing, highly detailed military uniforms, and practically dripping with jewels and other royal paraphernalia. The costumers went to great lengths to make sure that Elizabeth's wardrobe was as accurate as possible, even acquiring replicas intended for museum exhibits (such as Elizabeth's wedding dress and Commonwealth Tour wardrobe) that, luckily, fit Claire Foy almost perfectly.
  • Country Matters:
  • Cue the Sun: The smog finally lifts just as Elizabeth is sitting down to take Churchill to task for his mishandling of the crisis. She is forced to quickly change gears, but does so in such a way that still gives her an advantage over him.
  • Cunning Linguist: Anthony Eden is fluent in Arabic (though he has a very thick accent), which worries Nasser.
  • The Cycle of Empires: In the political realm, the series focuses on Post-War Britain, the Decline of the British Empire, and the ascendancy of America and the USSR.
  • Darker and Edgier: Series 4 is much more unflinchingly critical in its portrayal of the Royal family than the others.
  • Death Glare: Colin Tennant gives an intense one to Billy Wallace upon finding him flirting with a few girls at a party, as the latter was supposed to be engaged to Princess Margaret at the time, Tennant's close friend.
  • Death of a Child:
    • In the episode "Paterfamilias", young Philip hallucinates the plane crash that killed his sister and two young nephews....and her newborn baby. We are treated to a shot of his nephews' corpses amongst the wreckage.
    • In the episode "Aberfan", we get an entire classroom full of children Buried Alive in coal.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The show has been greatly praised for its willingness to show even its more-sympathetic characters engaging in the less-enlightened ideas of the time.
    • Especially cringe-inducing is Elizabeth in "Hyde Park Corner" singing the praises of British colonialism during her trip to Kenya.
    • One of King George VI's most notable attributes is the fact he always has a cigarette in hand. In real life, he was told by doctors to smoke in order to alleviate his stutter. Even after having a lung removed, he still smokes heavily. By the end of Series 1, Elizabeth has come to consider smoking a "filthy habit."
      • In Series 2, Elizabeth remarks to Charles and Anne before their bedtime that the Royal Family must visit various nations so their citizens don't get "silly ideas" like rebelling or becoming independent.
    • In Series 3, Tony begins cheating on Margaret and the rest of the family, most notably the Queen Mother, excuse or ignore his actions. When Margaret begins to fool around with a servant, she is promptly slut shamed.
      • Later, Margaret tries to commit suicide as a result of her marital troubles. While Elizabeth is incredibly sympathetic and reassures Margaret she loves her, the Queen Mother scoffs it's merely a cry for attention.
    • In Series 4, Elizabeth receives word of Diana's bulimia, and treats it like Diana's a whiny Attention Whore, as eating disorders were still stigmatized by the general public in the 1980s. Somewhat Downplayed, as Margaret and Anne are sympathetic, remarking "people do the worst things when they're unhappy."
  • Descent into Addiction: By the end of the first series, Anthony Eden has become dependent on powerful painkillers as a result of his botched surgery, which is Truth in Television. In the last episode of series one, we last see him passed out alone in a conference room after injecting himself.
  • Destructive Romance: Subverted with Charles and Camilla. Most of the romantic relationships in the show aren't particularly healthy, but they are originally portrayed as a particularly destructive pairing, to Love Ruins the Realm levels. Charles comes across as nearly obsessed with her. Throughout dating her and then carrying on an extramarital affair with her, he falls out with several members of his family over her, is never able to seriously consider any other woman romantically even when Camilla is unavailable, and eventually treats his actual wife terribly partially out of resentment over not being able to marry Camilla. Nearly everyone in his family, even the louche Margaret, disapproves of their relationship, and Elizabeth and Anne both give him blistering lectures over his ongoing affair with her. However in Season 5, their relationship is portrayed as much more mature, beneficial, and healthy, with even Diana acknowledging Charles was simply already in love with someone and there was nothing anyone involved could really do, particularly when she and Charles also became this in spades.
  • Disappointed in You: On the advice of her tutor, Elizabeth strikes this tone with Winston Churchill and Lord Salisbury for hiding the former's strokes from her — any Englishman of a certain social class is highly susceptible to a telling-off from Nanny.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: George's illness is described as "structural alterations" in his lungs. Churchill gives this medical report to a doctor friend for translation — cancer. The same occurs with the Duke of Windsor later on in the series (in French, no less, showing that midcentury discomfort with the diagnosis was just as common on the Continent).
  • Divine Right of Kings: Discussed. Elizabeth asks Queen Mary if she really does believe in it and is told yes. Appointment by God confers a sense of legitimacy and security onto the throne and thus the country.
  • Domestic Abuse: After an initial warm reception from Charles and the other Royals, Diana is separated from her friends and confined to Buckingham Palace for several weeks to protect her from the press, as well as to train her into her new royal role. This "training" involves harsh corrections and even tying her up to teach her not to gesticulate while she speaks. After marrying Charles, he is relentlessly critical and unhappy with her, and the rest of the family becomes increasingly disdainful of her.
  • Door-Closes Ending: The last shot of season six, and the series as a whole, shows Elizabeth exiting St George's Chapel through the West Door, which then closes itself to symbolise the Queen's eventual death.
  • Double Standard:
    • When Princess Margaret's husband Lord Snowdon has an affair with a much younger woman, Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, despite Margaret's complaints, the rest of the Royal Family doesn't care, and continues to be friendly with him. However, when Margaret is discovered to be having an affair with a much younger man, Roddy Llewellyn, the Royal Family harshly criticizes her and the Queen Mother calls her a "tramp".
    • Prince Charles carries on a long-time affair before and during his marriage to Diana, going so far as to get a custom bracelet made for his mistress Camilla three days before his wedding to Diana. Despite criticizing his wife constantly, ignoring her phone calls, and making it clear that he prefers Camilla to her, he is enraged when she has numerous affairs of her own. He orders his protection officers to monitor her so he can bring evidence of her infidelity to his mother and secure a formal separation from his wife.
      • On Charles' end, there are hints that he's less outraged about the fact of her having the affairs, and more concerned about how her perceived lack of discretion might tarnish his image. Moreover, by this stage in their marriage he seems to be searching for a pretext to justify divorcing her. That said, there is certainly also a Double Standard at work as well.
    • Another example is between Charles and Anne prior to their marriages. Whereas Charles is encouraged to date around and "sow his oats" before settling down, Elizabeth in particular is nonplussed at finding out Anne, in her mid-20s, has had "fun" with men. (Admittedly, in context, it might have been less that the Queen was shocked at her daughter's activities—of which she was probably vaguely aware in theory—than that they were with Andrew Parker Bowles.)
  • Downer Ending: Season 4 ends with Diana feeling completely isolated and alone among the royal family, and given the tragic fate awaiting her within the next decade...
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: In 'Fagan', when Prince Philip calls Michael Fagan a fool, the Queen, who has been disturbed by Fagan's very pointed and informed comments about the damage Thatcher's government is doing to people's lives, concedes that Fagan might be a fool but calls him "Lear's fool". Philip mockingly says "Don't get all Shakespearean on me," as if he thinks it ridiculous for the Queen to compare herself to a king, and Fagan to a fool who spoke the truth to a king. She gives him a look, and after a moment he pulls a rueful face, as if to admit that, if anyone is in a position to call anyone "Lear's fool", it's her.
  • Dramatic Irony: In 'Ruritania', when Robin Janvrin - who has newly become the Queen's private secretary due to his predecessor feeling at odds with change - discusses the Queen's upcoming visits, they discuss the fact that Tony Blair is going to address the Women's Institute, and feel that no doubt it will be another triumph for him. It most definitely was not. (In the same episode, he also predicts that, as the "senior partner," he will have the upper hand in his relationship with the incoming Bush administration, where again he most definitely did not.)
  • Dropped-in Speech Clip: The teaser trailer for the fourth season, which focuses on Prince Charles's nuptials to Diana Spencer, is overlaid with the real speech given by Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie at the wedding. The speech's emphasis on Happily Ever After is juxtaposed with less-than-ideal scenes behind the curtain.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • As Philip grows more unhappy in his marriage, he takes to going out and getting plastered with his buddies.
    • Implied with Princess Margaret's Hard-Drinking Party Girl antics during her marriage with Antony Armstrong-Jones.
  • Due to the Dead: Discussed by Philip, who disapproves of the hidebound traditionalism of Queen Mary's funeral as he plots to modernize Elizabeth's coronation.
  • Eating the Eye Candy:
    • Churchill accuses his wife of doing this to his portrait painter, Graham Sutherland. She doesn't deny it.
    • Princess Margaret definitely indulges with Roddy Llewellyn.
  • Empathic Environment: The weather for Margaret and Tony's wedding in the show (while pleasant sunny in real life) is moody and rainy, with gray skies overhead, signalling turbulence and lots of tears in the future and reflecting Philip and Elizabeth's tense sense of foreboding during the event.
  • Enemy Mine: Happens in Season Two. Philip and the Queen Mother can't stand one another and he can't stand Tommy Lascelles, but they dislike the Duke of Windsor and get-together for a round of drinks to celebrate Elizabeth throwing him out of the country.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • When Churchill arrives at the Queen's wedding, he stands outside for a moment and times his entrance to the start of "I Vow to Thee, My Country," stealing the scene at a royal wedding.
    • A late-teenaged Princess Anne is introduced feet first striding through the castle in her riding outfit.
  • Ethereal Choir: Used in the episode "Act of God" to indicate, well, acts of God.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: a heartbreaking variation in "Assassins," where through his discussions with the artist painting his portrait, Churchill realizes why he keeps painting his pond over and over again: it reminds him of his dead daughter Marigold.
  • Everybody Smokes:
    • In the case of George VI and Queen Mary, this results in an Incurable Cough of Death. Elizabeth and the Queen Mother stand out because they don't smoke. Elizabeth also gets Philip to stop smoking, due to what it did to her father, and he does so out of love, but it causes no small amount of stress in their marriage later on.
    • In an amusing moment in Series 4 when Fagan has broken into the Queen's bedroom, he asks her for a light so that he can smoke and calm himself before speaking to her. Predictably, Elizabeth does not have one, and quips that smoking is a "filthy habit", eliciting a weary "I know, I know" from Fagan.
    • It even continues into modern times with Harry, when smoking is no longer a social norm.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: The Duke of Windsor plays bagpipes when he's homesick. Appropriately, he does it outdoors, wearing a kilt.
  • Evil States of America: Played with throughout.
    • Wallis Simpson is disliked by everyone and viewed as a "Jezebel" who is ultimately responsible for the near-breakdown of the English throne after the abdication. She is also portrayed as an extremely manipulative, Nazi-supporting gold digger.
    • John and Jackie Kennedy are both superficially charming people admired by everyone for being youthful and modern, but JFK is a domestic abuser and Jackie is a spoiled drug addict.
    • Lyndon Johnson is very loud and vulgar, and is presented as merely being petty in rejecting the Queen's invitation.
  • Fanservice: The audience gets a good long look at naked Matt Smith when King George rouses Philip from bed to go duck hunting.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Dodi Fayed's bodyguard finds driver Henri Paul in the Ritz's bar and tells him he needs to drive Dodi and Diana to Dodi's apartment, he fails to notice the multiple empty glasses in front of him that would indicate that he wasn't in the best condition to drive through the streets of Paris dodging paparazzi.
  • Fisher King: Not Elizabeth, but rather her Prime Ministers — both Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden experienced severe health problems while in office, which the series purposefully juxtaposes with the decline of the British Empire after World War II. The point is also rather subtly made that the entire Conservative Party leadership of the time seems to be a bunch of rather frail, tired and increasingly sickly old men.
  • Fish out of Water: The show isn't particularly kind to Margaret Thatcher politically or personally, but she's most sympathetic when she spends an uncomfortable long weekend with the royal family at their country estate in "The Balmoral Test". They like doing outdoorsy things like hunting and riding horses, which aren't her cup of tea. She also wasn't given a full itinerary to know what clothes to pack, leaving her to go hunting in a dress and heels. Neither she nor her husband grew up in an aristocratic family so they don't know the proper protocols to follow. They both commit several breaches of etiquette. They're also in an unfamiliar house without being given a tour. Margaret yells at her for sitting in a chair that once belonged to Queen Victoria, even though no-one had told her that. She's very rightfully upset at having been put in such an unfamiliar situation and being insulted by all of them.
  • Flash Back Echo: As Elizabeth ascends to the throne, she recalls the abdication of her uncle and enthronement of her father which took place in her childhood.
  • Fog of Doom: Episode 4 covers the Great Smog, a horrific cloud of exhaust and coal smoke which lasted for five days and led to the deaths of over twelve thousand people. Visibility was only about three feet at times.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Margaret is the foolish sibling to Elizabeth's responsible one, but her father's death and forced separation from her love, on top of having to stifle her lively personality for publicity's sake, is what drives Margaret's acting out. It's also implied that the trope is played up more than it actually exists because the press wants the cliché of the good queen and her wicked sister.
    • Among the older generation, Edward VIII is the foolish sibling, throwing the nation into a constitutional crisis over his love life, while George VI is the responsible sibling, stoically taking the crown even though he really doesn't want to.
    • Among the Queen's children, Charles, the heir, is serious, bookish, and feels the weight of his responsibility as heir to the throne. His younger siblings all live much more carefree lives. That said, Anne seems to be the most level-headed and clear-eyed of the lot of them (weirdly mixing some of the best and worst of her mother, her father, and her aunt).
    • Philip shares Tommy Lascelles' theory about the Windsors. (Significantly, since Philip otherwise hated Tommy Lascelles and wouldn't agree with him about the colour of the sky if he could get away with it.) There were always the responsible, boring, but ultimately heroic ones, and the dazzling, but dangerous ones. Apart from the above mentioned, Philip also names George V as an example of the first and Prince Eddy as an example of the latter. Edward VII was also an example of the latter, while some of his siblings, though not mentioned, were examples of the first. Queen Victoria was one of the dull ones too.
    • William and Harry are shown as the latest set in the final season. A teenage Harry even delivers an extensive monologue about being Foolish to Foil William's Responsible star qualities.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Margaret won't marry Peter Townsend. Elizabeth won't remove Churchill during the Great Smog. Things like Elizabeth's desire to raise her children in her private house and her wish to keep Martin as secretary are also pre-determined if you're familiar enough with Windsor trivia. Charles' breakup with Camilla paving the way for his eventual marriage to and divorce from Lady Diana Spencer is also a given. Diana will die in a car crash while being hounded by the paparazzi.
  • Foreshadowing: Anne bluntly says that if Charles marries Camilla, there will always be "three in the marriage" as Camilla is still in love with Andrew Parker Bowles. Words that were later uttered by Diana in her famous interview on her marriage to Charles.
  • Freudian Excuse: Margaret Thatcher is portrayed as extremely sexist against women, viewing them as "weak" and "emotional", attributed to having a "weak" mother. Unfortunately, this attitude extends towards her own daughter, and she displays blatant favouritism towards her son Mark.

    G-K 
  • The Generation Gap: In the later series, particularly around attitudes towards marriage. Elizabeth was 21 when she married Philip, would have married him earlier if not for the war, and seems puzzled when an aide points out that 19-year-old Diana might need additional training for her impending role as Princess of Wales due to her young age. Additionally, Elizabeth doesn't seem to understand that Charles and Diana have different expectations of marriage than people had in the 1940s, and that divorce is far more socially acceptable and not the tremendous scandal it was in Elizabeth's youth. This leads to a communication gap where Elizabeth continually pushes them to "make it work" - she is largely thinking of the unhappy marriages seen in the first two series, when spouses ignored each other's infidelities or lived separate lives while presenting a happy face to the public. Charles and Diana continually interpret this as finding a way to be happy together, a seemingly impossible feat for the two of them.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: Diana thinks it's a good idea to do a public dance on stage for Charles on his birthday; he only finds it humiliating and upstaging. Later, Diana tries again with something a little less public, a tape of her singing "All I Ask of You" in full costume, which he only finds even more cringy and embarrassing. (His anniversary gift to her is no better, a book of her family genealogy, which she obviously couldn't care less about.)
  • Gilligan Cut: In Series 2, Philip wakes up with a crick in his neck and orders a palace employee to crack it. The servant insists that it needs a professional, so Philip does it himself. Cue the two of them driving to aforementioned professional, with Philip's neck in a brace.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry:
    • Margaret is envious of the clear role that Elizabeth is given while she's left with nothing but to stand behind her sister, while Elizabeth is herself envious of Margaret's easy way with people, and her freedom from the constraints of the Crown.
    • In Series 4, Anne is resentful that the media constantly compares her with her sister-in-law, Diana.
  • Gorn: Though the context isn't making a spectacle of the gore as much as averting Gory Discretion Shot.
    • The show depicts King George VI's illness and death in very graphic detail. Some highlights include:
      • A closeup of the operation to remove one of his lungs, showing his beating heart and the surgeons cutting away at his lung.
      • Philip walks into the room being used as a makeshift operating theater in time to see King George VI's diseased lung being laid out on a tray.
      • Margaret walking in on his body being embalmed.
    • Season 2 depicts the birth of Prince Andrew, involving the midwife reaching in with medical forceps and pulling the baby out (a common method at the time).
  • Graceful Loser: Churchill has a good laugh with his wife over the way Elizabeth pivoted when the smog cleared, changing a planned admonition into a request for advice on foreign prime ministers, which threw him sufficiently that he agreed not to oppose Philip's flying lessons.
  • Grand Dame: All of the royals, to one extent or another, but special mention goes to Diana's grandmother, the grim-faced and utterly humorless enforcer of etiquette, puppetmaster of Diana's engagement, and overseer of her princess training.
  • Hate Sink:
    • The first seasons Big Bad of sorts, the former King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to marry his twice-divorced lover, the former Mrs Wallis Simpson. And if that wasn't enough, the second season reveals that he tried to strike a deal with the Nazis during World War II, in which they would restore him to the throne if they succeeded in conquering Britain. Though he does mellow with age and show remorse for his actions.
    • Ted Heath, Prime Minister, once again from the Conservative Party. Supposedly an innovator, he instead proceeds to put the country into a coal crisis which makes him very unpopular with the people.
    • Mr Edward Adeane, Prince Charles' Private Secretary and the son of Michael Adeane. He is totally unfeeling to how Diana feels.
    • Prince Andrew and Prince Charles both take huge Levels in Jerkass season 4, the former being a sexual deviant and generally pompous prick with little to no redeeming qualities, and Charles is the same (to a lesser extent, however) and is a borderline domestic abuser who is portrayed as selfish and arrogant although not as much as his brother (keep in mind that, unlike Andrew's relationship with Epstein which is being hinted at, Charles' own relationship with Jimmy Savile was completely scrapped).
    • Mark Thatcher is a Spoiled Brat who is basically Andrew without the sexual deviant overtones.
  • Happily Married:
    • George VI and Queen Elizabeth, which is why she is devastated when he dies at the age of 56. She lived until 2002 and never married again.
    • The Duke of Windsor loves Wallis enough to abandon the throne for her, even if he gets wistful sometimes. At one point he describes his marriage to Wallis as being better than being a god, and on the whole their partnership is extremely affectionate and mutually loving. Truth in Television, as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were a devoted couple, remaining married for over thirty years from 1937 until the Duke's death in 1972 — by far the Duchess's longest-lasting marriage.
    • The Churchills also have a close and affectionate relationship.
    • Margaret and Denis Thatcher are a loving couple, to the point where she's appalled by the notion of them not sleeping in the same bed together when they visit Balmoral. Denis is happy to circumvent convention and join his wife for the night.
  • Heaven Above: The episode "Act of God" focuses Queen Elizabeth's lack of clarity on the relationship between the monarchy and God, a theme that is visualized by the Great Smog that blocks out the London sky for the entire episode.
  • Held Gaze: Philip and Elizabeth share a lot of these to indicate their passion (since neither of them is very verbal about it).
  • Heroes Love Dogs:
    • In later episodes, Elizabeth is often accompanied by her corgis.
    • Churchill frequently appears with one of his dogs.
  • Heroic BSoD: Elizabeth and Philip when they're informed that Charles' skiing party was caught in an avalanche and hasn't been found yet. All Philip can do is ask numbly why the royal funeral plans are always named after bridges, and Elizabeth has to leave the room after explaining.note 
  • The High Queen: Elizabeth is forced to quickly transition from a newlywed and young mother to the sovereign of a nation still recovering from a devastating war, which needs her to be a dignified and distant figure of admiration.
  • Historical Beauty Update:
    • Victoria Hamilton is much slimmer and conventionally beautiful in contrast to the real Queen Mother's ordinariness (there's a reason why the Duke and Duchess of Windsor derisively called her "Cookie"). Marion Bailey in Seasons 3-4 is a little closer to the historical Queen Mother's proportions and appearance.
    • While her first scene as an older Queen has her acknowledging her beauty is beginning to fade due to age, in Seasons 3 and 4, Elizabeth is now played by the lovely Olivia Colman.
    • Played straight with Camilla Shand (Parker Bowles), who was famously compared unfavorably to Charles's beloved and beautiful ex-wife Diana Spencer, portrayed in Series 3 and 4 by the gorgeous, pouty-lipped and voluptuous Emerald Fennell.
    • Prince Charles was fine looking in his younger years, but he is played by the far more conventionally handsome Josh O'Connor — cleverly though, as they do look alike. Consequently his Charles is not dramatically less attractive than Emma Corrin, who portrays world-famous beauty Diana.
  • Historical Domain Character: Given the nature of the show, most of the characters are this, even if they are sometimes subject to some Artistic Licence – History. Notable examples of fictional characters are Venetia Scott (Churchill's secretary in the first series), Helen King (the Australian journalist who gets rather ... close to Prince Philip in the second series) and Duncan Muir (the photographer hired to take some photos of Charles, William and Harry in the sixth series).
  • History Repeats: Several times members of the royal family provoke controversy by romantically pursuing divorcees. The big example is Edward VIII abandoning the crown to marry Wallis Simpson, which is brought up when Margaret intends to marry her divorced love Peter Townsend but it never happens. And of course Charles is determined to leave Diana to remarry Camilla, who in this scenario would be (and was) a divorcee.
    • In season 4 episode 10 Camilla Parker Bowles points out to Prince Charles that she was his lover, much like her great-grandmother Alice Keppel had been lovers to his great-great-grandfather, who also had been Prince of Walesnote . He replied that his great-great-grandfather loved Alice until the end (they married in 2005 and are still together, with no major controversies or rocky moments).
  • Hollywood Old: There are several Time Skips during and between seasons, resulting in many characters being much older than their actors. In an attempt to avert this, most characters will be recast every two seasons. In Season 3, only Churchill and Tommy Lascelles are played by the same actors as the first two seasons, and Lascelles is only shown in a flashback sequence.
  • Hope Spot:
    • While staying in Kenya at Treetops, Elizabeth tells Philip that after the tour she wants to return to Malta, where she and Philip were happiest, so that he can resume his naval career, and will write to her father asking so. Unfortunately, the King passes away overnight, and everything changes.
    • Another, perhaps crueller, one is in the last episode of series one, when Margaret becomes 25, finally freeing her from having to ask Elizabeth's permission to marry Peter Townsend under the Royal Marriages Act 1772. However, her advisers at the time deliberately failed to mention that even after reaching the age of 25, she will still need the approval of Parliament, who is still violently opposed. Which forces Elizabeth and Margaret into direct conflict.
    • Near the start of the Australia tour, Charles and Diana's argument turns into an honest discussion of their feelings, a realization that they're not so different, an Anguished Declaration of Love from Charles, and a decision to be kinder and more open towards each other. Their refreshed relationship makes the tour a triumph — and then Charles realizes that the cheering crowds are there mainly for Diana while disdaining him, and he withdraws back into cold resentment.
    • A particularly bleak one comes in the flashback in "Ipatiev House" when the Romanovs — a father, a mother and their five children, plus four servants — are woken up in the middle of the night and told to get ready to leave. They're happy because think they're being evacuated out of Russia, and are not disabused of this notion until the Bolsheviks are pointing their guns at them.
  • How We Got Here: Series 2 opens with Elizabeth and Phillip having a tense conversation about a vaguely defined scandal, followed by three episodes covering the prior five months.
  • Humiliation Conga: Anthony Eden's Epic Fail at handling the Suez Crisis puts him through a long one that ultimately results in his resigning...and being replaced by one of the people who goaded him into the war.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Queen Mary expresses her disdain for Phillip's lineage ("..a royal family of carpetbaggers and parvenus, that goes back what? Ninety years?"). Mary's own father was a lowly German Duke from a morganatic line (similar to the Mountbattens), who at one point had to flee from London to avoid his creditors, and her own royal in-laws were very reluctant about letting her marry the heir to the throne for the same reason. note 
    • When planning Elizabeth's coronation, Philip insists on several changes that aim to modernize and democratize the ceremony, which he feels is out of touch and out of date. Elizabeth agrees to support some of these changes, on one condition: that Philip kneel when she is crowned. He refuses this, and walks off without saying anything.
    • When Anthony Eden says that his cabinet is opposed to Margaret and Peter's marriage on moral grounds, Elizabeth points out that there are several cabinet members (including Eden himself) who are themselves divorced. He concedes the point, but ultimately it doesn't help because of the Church's opposition. In real life, Eden drew up a plan in 1955 under which Princess Margaret could marry Townsend while keeping her royal title and her civil list allowance note  She could continue to live in the UK and even continue with public duties if the public approved, as was highly likely. However, she would have to renounce her rights of succession and those of her children.
    • The Church of England blocks Margaret's marriage on the grounds of their objection to divorce, even though the Church of England was created for the purpose of giving the monarch more power in religious affairs- most prominently, granting Henry VIII a divorce so that he could remarry to the wife of his choice. That said, the Church of England came into existence to annul Henry VIII's marriages, not divorce them - whereas a divorce ends a marriage, an annulment says it never started in the first place. Therefore there is no previous marriage to consider in the case of people with annulments, unlike divorces.
    • It is often noted that Margaret's self-image of herself as a modern, independent woman-of-the-people often clashes rather drastically with her actual personality; she casually displays incredibly snobby and superior attitudes, treats her servants like dirt and views her step-relations (who are royalty in their own right) as jumped-up little coattail chasers.
    • In "Imbroglio" the Queen Mother says that Camilla Shand's background matters, specifically contrasted with Philip being a royal prince. This is coming from the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who was not royal herself before marrying Charles' grandfather.
  • Idiot Ball: A major plotline in the last two episodes of Season 1 involves Margaret reaching her 25th birthday and both her and Elizabeth assuming she (Margaret) will finally be free to marry divorcee Peter Townsend, until Elizabeth is told of the remainder of the Royal Marriages Act (which says any marriage would be valid, unless Parliament voices disapproval). However, the series had previously taken great pains to establish that while Elizabeth's education in the arts and sciences was lacking at best, her constitutional and legal education was first-rate, as befitting a future monarch. So Elizabeth based a major promise to her sister on the Royal Marriages Act, yet either never bothered or was unable to read and understand the Act itself?
    • The otherwise clever and sensible Penny Knatchbull grabs hold of this in "Ipatiev House" with her pet theory about Queen Mary telling George V to leave the Romanovs to their fate due to her personal jealousy of the Tsarina.
  • Idle Rich:
    • Prince Philip's frustrations with his marriage all stem from being the Queen's consort and not being allowed to contribute anything to the Queen's reign that he can call his own, even after being forced to give up his career, his home and his name.
    • The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are this; just as in real life, they are portrayed as high-flying socialites, throwing numerous and glamorous parties in their Paris home. The Duke gets bored of this life very quickly and longs for something more meaningful, but he is told in no uncertain terms that he burned those bridges long ago.
    • Charles, to an increasing degree. He does spearhead a lot of philanthropy and makes many public appearances, but he often laments that he's essentially in stasis as heir to the throne, unable to pursue a meaningful career and more or less forced into a life of leisure.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Charles invents a "diary conflict" to cut his second honeymoon with Diana short and meet with the Prime Minister to discuss recent polling regarding himself and the Queen. Diana sees through the excuse, though seems unaware of the Prime Minister meeting.
  • I Gave My Word: Margaret's relationship with Peter causes Elizabeth to become caught between conflicting oaths that she gave to her father, to her sister, and to the nation. She can't keep one without breaking another.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Churchill always greets the Queen with this.
  • Impoverished Patrician:
    • What David complains he will be if he is not allowed to keep the £10,000note  a year income given to him by George VI when he abdicated.
    • Several references are made to the fact that Philip grew up as this, since the Greek royal family into which he was born was overthrown when he was a babynote . This is a major reason why the Windsors initially opposed his marriage to Elizabeth, and why he's concerned about the monarchy staying in touch with the people.
    • Although it's not given any context, Elizabeth and Margaret's aunt (and Philip's cousin) Princess Marina became one for many years after being suddenly widowed, probably explaining Margaret's catty one-sentence dismissal of her.
    • Princess Alice, Prince Phillip's mother is seen as a nun in a convent, forced to sell her belongings to keep the convent afloat.
  • The Ingenue: Diana is ethereal, a little quirky—and as several characters point out—very young.
  • In Medias Res: Used a lot in the second series.
    • The first episode has a Cold Open with Elizabeth confronting Philip in his cabin on the Royal Yacht at the end of his Global Tour, before jumping back five months earlier to just before the start of the Tour. The scene isn't revisited until near the end of the third episode.
    • The 5th episode of that same series opens on Lord Altrincham getting punched in the face while leaving the television studio where he recorded an interview about his article critical of the Queen. Just before the interview airs, the show jumps back to before the article was written.
  • Intimate Artistry: Margaret decides to have Tony take portrait photos of her for her birthday. The two had some Belligerent Sexual Tension when they formally met at a party earlier in the episode. During the photography session at Tony's studio/apartment, he asks Margaret intimate questions regarding her sense of self and romantic past, seemingly trying to unsettle Margaret to get her to drop her guard enough for him to capture her "true" self. This continues into the dark room while they develop the photos, where Margaret even calls out the blatant seduction attempt.
  • In Vino Veritas:
    • Margaret says that she knows that Porchey still holds a torch for Elizabeth because he said so when he was drunk. Elizabeth doesn't believe it because, as she points out, drinking's "when the nonsense comes out."
    • According to Philip, Tommy Lascelles got very drunk when he revealed his theory about how the royal family always manages to produce one outgoing but risky type and one Boring But Sensible type per generation.
    • Philip apparently has to get drunk in Season 4 to be able to express his own tortured feelings and resentments about his uncle Dickie Mountbatten and his Disappeared Dad Prince Andrew of Greece to Charles.
  • Irony:
    • It is noted that at least one point that the modest, retiring and reserved Queen Elizabeth and her vivacious, glamorous and desperate-for-the-spotlight younger sister Princess Margaret would probably have been much happier if they were able to swap public roles.
    • Margaret is not allowed to marry Peter Townsend, a decorated veteran with a history of service to the Crown as a trusted servant of George VI, because he sought a divorce from his unfaithful wife, and the Church of England at the time condemned divorce as immoral and forbade the remarriage of divorced persons. However, it didn't forbid marriage to bisexual bohemian libertines, which is how Margaret winds up in her disastrous union with Antony Armstrong-Jones and, ultimately, divorced herself.
    • Also, in series 3 the Queen Mother and Lord Mountbatten conspire to break up Prince Charles and Camilla Shand, with one of the stated reasons being that 'dangerous, unpredictable elements' shouldn't be allowed into the royal family. In real life, not only is Diana is eventually allowed in, which from the royals' perspective eventually becomes a disaster, but Charles ends up marrying Camilla anyway - and for further irony, is now marrying a divorcee instead of someone who isn't.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Philip's handling of the coronation is treated as if he's indulging his own grand designs out of arrogance and boredom. When Elizabeth confronts him, however, he makes a very good point that bringing the people in touch with the British monarchy will help avoid the fate of his own family, who were deposed in an uprising following the monarchy gradually becoming too remote from the people they ruled over.
    • Tommy Lascelles goes behind Elizabeth's back to browbeat her favoured secretary into refusing the position. When Elizabeth confronts him, he argues that breaking longstanding traditions can corrode the heart of the monarchy, as just Edward VIII's actions nearly toppled it.
    • Elizabeth eventually has to concede that Lord Altrincham's criticisms of the palace and the crown have merit and eventually implements many of the changes he suggests. A postscript notes that doing so allowed the monarchy to survive into the modern age. This one depends on your point of view a bit, since — if you don't happen to be a member of the family or institution he's rather bluntly criticising — Altrincham generally comes across as a rather pleasant and well-meaning sort.
    • The Duke of Windsor is snide and bitter about the Royal Family and his own abdication, but he's not entirely wrong to feel that the treatment that he and his wife receive from them and the British Establishment can border on the unnecessarily spiteful at times.
    • In Season 3, after Princess Margaret's diplomatic success in America convincing President Johnson to approve a bailout to the United Kingdom, Elizabeth considers sharing some of her workload with Margaret in order to make her happier and give her more to do. While he's blunt about it, Philip points out several compelling reasons why this is a mistake; one diplomatic success does not a potential leader make, there is a good reason why the duties of the monarch are undertaken by one person, and while she may be the "boring" sister to Margaret's charmer, ultimately Elizabeth is much better equipped for the role than Margaret is.
    • Charles decides that Andrew's wedding day is the right time to curtly remind him of his irrelevance, now that Charles has children. He's not wrong (as Anne's expression and Edward's near-memetic commentnote  suggest).
    • While the failings of Elizabeth as a parental figure are given plenty of focus in Seasons 3 and 4, when Charles complains of how he is "suffering" in his marriage to Diana she is quick to take him to task for his self-pitying perspective on the situation. From the viewpoint of almost everyone else he and Diana are young, attractive and fabulously wealthy and powerful people living lives of envy for most of the world, and both his and Diana's constant acting out over their admittedly unfortunate situation just makes them look petty, ungrateful, self-obsessed and narcissistic.
    • When Diana demands to know why she has to be separated from William for two weeks while she and Charles are touring Australia, Edward Adeane replies, "Because you married the Prince of Wales, ma'am."
  • Just Train Wrong: In the first episode of the series, the Royal Train is pulled by a British Rail Standard Class 9F. Although the 9F was fast enough to be used in some passenger services, it was primarily a heavy freight engine, and the King would be pulled behind something a bit more prestigious. The engine is painted green, rather than the black it would've worn in regular service, and the scene is set in 1951, while the first 9F was built in 1954.
  • King Incognito:
    • Not entirely incognito, but Elizabeth and Philip's time in Malta was when they were at their most blissful because they and everyone around them more or less ignored their royal status and simply enjoyed each other's company.
    • An initially unintentional example. While holidaying in Scotland, the Queen Mother spends time with the owner of a run-down castle she's interested in buying. As she is dressed simply and appropriately for the cold weather, he doesn't recognize her out of context, and she decides not to enlighten him so that their friendship can remain natural (and so she could save a few pounds on the purchase price of the castle).

    L-P 
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Season 3 features a pointed discussion about Elizabeth having a new official profile photo made to reflect her aging, which of course is actually covering the actor change from Claire Foy to Olivia Colman. This is repeated later in the season when Elizabeth is looking back through some old photographs. The photographs of her and Phillip are of Foy and Matt Smith from the first two seasons.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Which is why Louis Mountbatten is quick to boast that with the Queen's succession, "the House of Mountbatten now rules." When this gets back to Queen Mary, whose husband began the House of Windsor, she acts quickly with Tommy Lascelles, and the Queen Mother, to pressure the Queen to officially keep the name of the Royal Family as Windsor. Unfortunately, this is also one of the reasons that Philip and Elizabeth's marriage becomes tense. The irony is that Philip and his uncle aren't playing this trope completely straight either, since the name Mountbatten comes from Philip's mother's side of the family. As Winston Churchill points out, his paternal name is the unwieldy Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. Even if one were to accept "Mountbatten" as Philip's last name, the name "Mountbatten" was fairly recent itself; until anti-German sentiment in WWI forced a change, the family's name was "Battenberg," "Berg" being a German word for "Mountain." To be fair, Louis Mountbatten had legitimate reason to think his last name would become the house's name: the issue of Queen Victoria (the only other queen regnant who had issue) used the name "Saxe-Coburg and Gotha," which was the name of her husband Albert's house, rather than Victoria's house (Hanover). note  Elizabeth keeping her house's name is the exception, not the rule.
  • Locked Out of the Loop:
    • In regards to the extent of the king's cancer. Initially only the doctors and Churchill know. When the king's physician does inform him that it's returned, fatally, George decides to keep it from his family.
    • Churchill tries to keep his strokes a secret, but his Private Secretary lets it slip when he thinks Elizabeth summoned him to discuss it.
    • Tommy Lascelles, on the Queen Mother's instruction, deliberately hides the full details of Royal Marriages Act 1772 from the Queen, in hopes that Princess Margaret will lose interest in Peter before she is 25. When that doesn't happen, he instructs Michael Adeane to bring up the full act as a final roadblock.
    • In "Queen Victoria Syndrome", palace staffers go to great lengths to conceal a scathing headline from Elizabeth regarding a drop in her popularity. Charles points out that considering the main complaint is that Elizabeth seems "out of touch", this effort to insulate her from bad news was a major part of the problem.
  • Love Martyr:
    • Dickie Mountbatten commiserates with Elizabeth about being hopelessly in love with "wild spirits," mentioning his humiliation at his wife's many flagrant affairs.
    • Poor Harold Macmillan not only puts up with his wife's decades-long affair, but overhears her telling her lover that "his love disgusts me."
  • Love Ruins the Realm:
    • The memory of the abdication crisis still hangs over the Windsors, which plays a large part in Elizabeth's ultimate decision to forbid Margaret and Peter's marriage.
    • The shadow of David and Wallis affects the next generation of Windsors as well. It's one reason that Charles is pushed into marriage with Diana—the future king must have a blue-blooded wife with no apparent sexual history as the mother of his heir, and Camilla doesn't fit the bill. Ironically, that marriage ends up being a disaster for all concerned for different reasons, whereas had a bit more flexibility been employed and Charles been allowed to pursue Camilla from the start a lot of unnecessary misery and strife could have been avoided.
  • Malicious Misnaming: David and Wallis have a number of unflattering nicknames for everyone (Elizabeth II's is "Shirley Temple").
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Tony Armstrong-Jones is shown having sex all over his studio, including on a ladder at one point.
  • Married to the Job: Elizabeth being the reigning monarch doesn't sit well with her husband Philip. He objects not just to the disruption in their lives but because he feels emasculated by the fact that she is emphatically his sovereign.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Philip remarks that his and Elizabeth's children, Charles and Anne, are this.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The entire royal family after a picture of Harry dressed as a Nazi at a party ends up in the tabloids.
  • Maternally Challenged:
    • This is explored with Elizabeth as being a distant mother to her two eldest children, she even confesses to Harold Wilson that she didn't even cry at their births or any others. She is more affectionate with her two younger sons.
    • Toyed with in the episode "Moondust" where the astronauts and their wives come to visit Buckingham Palace and the wives are chatting with the Royal Family while Philip meets with the astronauts, cue one wife approaching Margaret and Margaret replying not to ask her about children.
  • Meaningful Rename: Subverted. When asked what she wants her regnal name to be, Elizabeth says that she'll keep her own. Everyone immediately realises the significance.
  • Meet Cute: Charles has his first meeting with a young Diana Spencer, after she "accidentally" runs into him during his visit with her sister Lady Sarah Spencer. Needless to say he is instantly charmed by her, just as the rest of the world would be eventually.
  • Mighty Whitey:
    • The royal speeches delivered in Kenya and Rhodesia celebrate how the English brought civilization to "savage" countries. It's clear that this does not go down well with many of the indigenous auditors.
    • Later subverted (or reversed) by Elizabeth when she dances with Kwame Nkrumah; the Ghanaian press calls her a socialist for that (high praise from them, deeply amusing to her and Philip).
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Winston Churchill seems to have this attitude about the Great Smog: however much he hears about the disaster it's causing, he doesn't do anything until his secretary dies.
  • Mirror Character: After experiencing a bit of jealousy about the glamorous and youthful Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth is surprised to discover that like herself in person she's actually quite shy and would be much happier living a life outside of the spotlight.
  • Mistaken Confession: When Elizabeth invites Churchill's Private Secretary, Jock Colville, to the Palace to discuss who should replace Tommy Lascelles as her Private Secretary, he accidentally lets slip that the Cabinet has been hiding Churchill's strokes from her, mistakenly believing she already found out.
  • Moment of Silence: When it comes time for Philip to tell Elizabeth of her father's death, all the sound cuts out, as Philip just stares at Elizabeth, as a growing expression of dread just falls across her face.
  • Morality Pet: Played straight and inverted with Camilla in regard to Charles. On the one hand he's kinder and more affectionate in scenes with her than with anyone else in season four, but at the same time he's committing adultery to be with her.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • David, the former Edward VIII, explains the significance of each step in the coronation ceremony for his American and French guests — though with quite a bit of sarcasm.
    • There's also the photojournalist who appears in one scene to explain the political situation in Egypt, and is never heard from again.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Matt Smith as Prince Philip, of all people. He goes shirtless for a few scenes and it's not hard to see why the Duke was considered a devastatingly handsome man in his younger years.
  • Mutual Envy: Elizabeth and Margaret admit that they feel this for each other. Margaret would like a chance to "shine," while Elizabeth would love to be out of the spotlight.
  • My Beloved Smother: Hinted at with Diana in Season 5, particularly when William starts attending Eton.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • After dismissing the Great Smog as a fog, Churchill visits the hospital where his secretary has just died and sees the effects of the fog first hand. The expression on his face when he realizes how wrong he was says it all.
    • Jacqueline Kennedy is genuinely mortified and remorseful after blurting out some rather unkind and tactless comments about Elizabeth while under the influence of her husband's pain medication.
  • Never Live It Down: Charles and Camilla's naughty phone call in 1989 (when he was still very much married to Diana), the contents of which were broadcast around the world some years later. To the present day, the "tampon" line is still well-known.
    • In-universe, as of Season 5, Elizabeth still clearly has not entirely gotten over Philip's perceived indiscretions earlier in their marriage, becoming jealous and insecure of his friendship with the much-younger Penny Knatchbull (though Philip doesn't help his case by describing their platonic friendship as him "seeking company outside the marriage" to make up for what he doesn't get from Elizabeth).
  • Never My Fault: The Queen Mother deflects blame for her and her husband not giving Elizabeth a wider education beyond the court and the constitution, by blaming instead their advisors, including Elizabeth's constitutional tutor, the Vice-Provost of Eton College, for not telling them the young Princess might need a more rounded curriculum.
    • The Queen Mother also brushes off responsibility for her disabled relations who were locked away in institutions and declared "dead". Margaret rather justifiably calls her out when she yet again brings up Edward VIII's abdication - by that point fifty years prior! - as a justification for it.
    • Charles outright refuses to take any responsibility for his marital problems with Diana, despite carrying on a long-term affair, verbally abusing her, rarely spending time with her, and generally behaving abominably towards her.
    • Elizabeth herself gets called out about this, by both Charles and Margaret, in "Annus Horribilis", that essentially she felt unable to ever admit to or acknowledge mistakes, as she had been thoroughly inculcated that sovereigns are frankly not supposed to make mistakes.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Both the Duke of Windsor and Mohammed Al-Fayed, despite being portrayed unsympathetically in other ways, both show considerable kindness and affection to Sydney Johnson when he's employed with each of them. The Duke of Windsor trains the inexperienced young Johnson to be his valet, while Al-Fayed nurses the now-elderly Johnson through his final illness and grieves at his gravesite. Also Throw the Dog a Bone for showing kinder sides to two otherwise-unlikeable characters.
  • The Nicknamer: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor all have mean-spirited nicknames for everyone in the Royal Family and British Establishment.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Wilson confesses that, despite his working-class background and appeal, he's never done any manual labour and prefers the finer things (e.g. cigars, chateaubriand, and brandy), making him not very different from his upper-class predecessors.
    • When the miners' union leaders accuse Heath of coming from privilege, he angrily retorts that he comes from a working-class background and that his family struggled mightily when he was growing up.
  • Nouveau Riche:
    • Both the Queen Mother and the Duke of Windsor privately, though transparently, turn their noses up at Philip for being a scion of the Royal Houses of Greece and Denmark, the former a kingdom barely 90 years old to the UK's near 900. The Queen Mother even calls Philip's mother a Hun nun, which is odd, as Philip's mother was born at Windsor Castle in the presence of Queen Victoria, and was a bridesmaid at Queen Mary's wedding to George V.
    • Even Queen Mary disparages the Greek Royal Family by exalting Britain's long traditions when Elizabeth brings up Philip's desire to modernize the British Monarchy:
      Queen Mary: Yes, but he represents a royal family of carpetbaggers and parvenus, that goes back what? Ninety years? What would he know about Alfred the Great, the Rod of Equity and Mercy, Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror or Henry the Eighth? It's the Church of England, dear, not the Church of Denmark or Greece.
  • Odd Friendship: Elizabeth, a blue-blooded monarch, and Labour PM, Harold Wilson, who’s a republican from a working-class background quickly hit it off. He gets her to tear down some of her walls, so much that she cheers when she finds out he’s been re-elected.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Martin Charteris has this reaction when a Reuters reporter turns on the radio in the hotel lounge at Nairobi and hears of George VI's death, he immediately rushes to Sagana before Elizabeth can hear the news from any other source.
    • In the middle of an undignified argument, Elizabeth chases Philip out of their lodge and into the lens of a newsreel camera crew. Both of them stop dead, horrified that it will be broadcast across the world. When Elizabeth apologizes to the cameraman for the display, though, he simply exposes the reel to sunlight and hands her the can.
    • John Kennedy congratulates Jackie on her catty insults about Elizabeth spurring the queen to keep Ghana from joining the Soviet Union. Jackie tears up in horror at learning Elizabeth knows what she said just after putting on a big show of camaraderie, and they have another meeting soon.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • The most influential advice Elizabeth receives on Margaret's marriage comes from David, the former King Edward VIII. David has spent the last 15 years defending his breaking of royal rules for love, but still advises Elizabeth to put the crown before Margaret's marriage.
    • Sir Tommy Lascelles, normally a stickler for tradition and custom, combating any breach of protocol to his last, suggests that Elizabeth consider removing Churchill from power for his mishandling of the Great Smog, a crisis which is killing hundreds but Churchill is denying is even a problem. From Lascelles, who wouldn't even let Philip escort Elizabeth down the flight ramp because it would be improper, it's a shocking sentiment, highlighting just how dire the situation had become. note 
    • When Elizabeth tells Phillip that she is thinking of rehabilitating the Duke of Windsor, Phillip points out that it says something about how much he is against the idea that he wants her to seek the advice of Tommy Lascelles.
  • On the Rebound: Elizabeth is worried about the fact that Margaret jumps into marriage with Tony right after learning that Peter Townsend is getting married.
    • Dr. Khan is suggested to be this for Diana, at least from his perspective - he's baffled as to why the world-famous, fantastically wealthy, gorgeous Princess of Wales is interested in a socially awkward, schlubby, overworked surgeon who barely has time to go to a cinema.
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • Queen Mary did this in Episode 2; it devastates her. By this point, she had outlived three of her children; the aforementioned Bertie, but also her younger sons, the Duke of Kent (d. 1942), and Prince John (d. 1919).
    • Also the case with Churchill, who lost his daughter Marigold. The painter Graham Sutherland leads Churchill to the realization that, at some level, he is still mourning for her.
    • Lady Brabourne (Patricia), the daughter of Lord Mountbatten, survives the IRA bombing but loses one of her twin sons Nicholas Knatchbull along with her father.
  • Parents as People:
    • George and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon are portrayed as being loving and by and large Good Parents, but still possessing human faults. They decide to follow advice that Elizabeth only needs schooling in the areas directly relating to the monarch rather than the broad range of subjects a normal student has (leaving her feeling unequipped after taking the throne) and Margaret ends up feeling as though she's the lesser sister, causing her to act out for attention.
    • Elizabeth and Philip fall under this, especially in Season 2, they love Charles but one either sees a reminder of her mortality in him (Elizabeth) or one feels outranked by Charles (Philip).
    • Lord Mountbatten references this trope in "Paterfamilias" after Philip was disgraced by his father at the funeral of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephews:
      You may hate him now, but one day, God willing, you will be a father yourself. And you will fall short, as all parents do. And be hated. And you will know what it is to pray for the forgiveness of your own son.
      • Said almost word-for-word by Philip himself to William, after the death of Diana when William couldn't quite figure out why to hate Charles for it, but still did.
    • Charles and Diana in Season 5 - both are portrayed as reasonably loving parents to William and Harry, but they have markedly differing parenting styles, and their personal issues interfere with how they relate to their children. Diana comes across as My Beloved Smother at times, Charles comes across as cold and avoidant in comparison (though whether he's avoiding the kids or Diana is a different question), and neither one can conceal their disputes with one another from their children. When Elizabeth asks thirteen-year-old William how his parents are doing, he answers rather unhappily about both of them.
  • Parental Favoritism:
    • George used to say "Elizabeth is my pride, and Margaret is my joy" or "Elizabeth is my pride but Margaret is my joy," depending on which daughter you ask. The Queen Mum denies any such thing (and George did love both daughters deeply), but Elizabeth suspects that he loved Margaret better, and Margaret believes it because it's one of the few things she has over Elizabeth.
    • Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season episode "Favourites" is portrayed as favoring her son, Mark.
    • Also in "Favourites", the Queen spends the episode trying to figure out which of her four children is her favorite, despite Philip knowing already and not letting her in on it. It's Andrew, though in context "least unfavorite" is more appropriate.
    • Philip candidly admits that Anne is his favourite child.
    • Interestingly, while they often have a tense relationship, Elizabeth tends to interact with Charles more than her other children, and seems to at least attempt to support him emotionally when she realizes he's still in love with Camilla and is dreading his marriage to Diana. No one - including Charles or Elizabeth - would consider him her "favourite", but honestly, he seems to be the only child she particularly knows at all.
  • Parental Marriage Veto:
    • The reigning sovereign must consent to the marriage of anyone in their house, until that person is twenty-five, and even then Parliament must give its approval after a year has passed. This throws a wrench in Margaret and Peter Townsend's plans.
    • The Queen Mother is also opposed, but she is more subtle in expressing her disapproval, discreetly instructing Tommy Lascelles to do everything he can to prevent the marriage.
    • Inverted when Elizabeth refuses to allow Charles and Diana separate or divorce.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: In "Mrs Kennedy", after learning that Jackie Kennedy had said some rather snide and cutting things about her behind her back the Queen decides to put her in her place during their next meeting by subjecting her to the full force of the pomp, ceremony and regal power that the British monarchy can command. By the time she's made it through that particular gauntlet, Jackie — who had, to her credit, already been wishing that she'd kept her mouth closed — is clearly left regretting her decision to visit Britain, her decision to marry a man who would one day be President of the United States, and possibly even her own birth.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The Queen Mother tries this on the television at one point, but the problem is resolved by a servant adjusting the antennae.
  • Perpetual Smiler: This is what's expected of royalty in parades. Elizabeth's face actually starts to have muscle spasms from excessive smiling on the Commonwealth tour and she needs an injection to relax it.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Philip is given a fairly ambivalent characterization, frequently shown being self-centered, frivolous or oafish. These are balanced out by other scenes in which he makes a well-timed joke to lighten the mood or shows genuine affection for his children.
    • While he is still the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, David is remarkably understanding when Elizabeth calls on him for advice on the Townsend affair, and is sympathetic to the conflicts between Elizabeth the person, and Elizabeth the Sovereign, but ultimately reminds her that she must be Elizabeth the Sovereign above all else.
  • Plastic Bitch: In her later years, Wallis Simpson has gotten numerous procedures to cope with aging. Lord Mountbatten even states that she goes "flapping around like a demented bat." She's also a Nazi sympathizer.
  • Politically Correct History: "Bubbikins" in Season 3. The positive reactions from a newspaper story — and the publication at all — of Princess Alice's institutionalization and treatment for severe psychiatric illness are far more in line with 2019 than the horror and shame it would have provoked in 1967. Likewise, despite the heartfelt sympathy it now invokes, her 1930s regimen of treatment was considered the best and most up-to-date at the time, and meant as "barbaric" by no one, family or physicians.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Uncle David is an antagonistic figure for the first two seasons. He's done a lot of damage to his family in both a personal and public sense and the Queen mother certainly blames him for driving his brother to an early death. Elizabeth does try to learn to forgive him for everything but decides not to when she finds out he was a Nazi sympathizer.
  • Polyamory:
    • Armstrong-Jones spent quite a few years as the third person in a Throuple with his best friend and best friend's wife.
    • Downplayed with Camilla and Charles, but there is a sense that Camilla sincerely thought that Diana understood that she had been cast as the wife and that Charles would continue to see the woman he really loved. She seems to think they can all be friends, as was the case in some Royal marriages of the past, and she quickly learns otherwise.
  • The Power of Trust: Elizabeth lectures Churchill on this when she learns that he's been hiding his (and Anthony Eden's) poor health from her. She echoes her childhood tutor, who says that the security of the state depends on trust between the monarch and the government.
  • Pretty in Mink: Most of the highborn ladies wear furs at some point.
    • At Elizabeth's wedding, Margaret wears a short white rabbit cape, and Mrs. Churchill wears a fox jacket.
    • Both Elizabeth and Margaret have a scene or two where they attend events wearing ballgowns and a white fur wrap, which the real life queen and princess frequently did in the 50s and 60s.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Prince Charles. Early seasons have shown him in a favorable light, as far as a smart nerdy young man struggling at the restraints of the position as prince and heir, along with an emotionally abusive father who forced him to endure a hellish private school upbringing to "toughen him up", while his cold ice queen mother neglected him and forced him to severe ties with Camilla, his one true love for a more "suitable" wife. Ultimately by season four, Charles is now openly cheating on his bride Diana with Camilla and utterly unrepentent towards his parents disgust with him; especially since Diana is infinitely more popular than Charles with the public and the implications Charles's behavior will have on the monarchy.

    R-T 
  • Race Against the Clock: When George VI died, Elizabeth was still at the Treetops hotel, and with 1950's international communications being what they were, palace and government officials, both in London and Nairobi, scramble to inform her before she learns of it from the press. Churchill even tries to get the BBC to delay its announcement until she has been informed.
  • Real Footage Re-creation: The series regularly recreates newsreel footage documenting moments like Elizabeth's wedding, her coronation and several of her state visits and many funerals.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • In "Lisbon", when Eileen Parker is divorcing Michael, the queen attempts to force her to remain married in order not to cause scandal as a favor to her, Eileen angrily refuses, saying that all her adult life has been about Elizabeth, who couldn't care less that Michael's devotion to the crown has destroyed their marriage. She then proceeds to tell her point blank that she is going to divorce Michael whether Elizabeth likes it or not.
    • Delivered to Macmillan:
      Elizabeth: I've been Queen barely ten years. And in that time, I've had three Prime Ministers. All of them ambitious men. Clever men. Brilliant men. Not one has lasted the course. They've either been too old, too ill, or too weak. A confederacy of elected quitters.
    • Billy Wallace also learns that his smarmy gloating about getting into a duel over cheating on his fiance is a mistake, especially when said fiance happens to be Princess Margaret.
      Margaret: You pathetic, weak, contemptible fool. I never even wanted to marry you. You were only ever an act of charity. Or desperation. And now you insult me? You? People like you don't get to insult people like me. You get to be eternally grateful. [She storms over to him; he flinches back.] You've quite the way with women. Take a look at this face. A picture of disappointment and disgust. This is the look that every woman you ever know will come to share. This is what the next forty years of your life will look like. [Throws his drink in his face]
    • Margaret also has a tendency to deliver rather waspish put-downs towards Elizabeth about her lack of charisma and personality as monarch, often to Elizabeth's face. It's deconstructed in this case, however; when given a chance to fill in for Elizabeth while she's on a royal tour, Margaret ends up causing offence to numerous dignitaries by being a bit too open with her honest (and rather cutting) remarks, requiring a dressing down from Elizabeth. Margaret is consequently forced to admit that the only reason she's so snide towards Elizabeth is out of jealousy and inferiority since, no matter how vicious she gets, at the end of the day she'll always be trapped in Elizabeth's shadow and there's nothing she can do about it.
    • Elizabeth dishes one out to Charles in "Favourites" upon learning that Diana is miserable in their new home while Charles is preoccupied with her shortcomings and his own wants. Elizabeth tells him curtly that he ought to focus less on his own feelings and focus more on the expectant mother of his child and what she needs. Charles appears to take her words to heart and his and Diana's marriage at least temporarily improves after William's birth.
    • Charles receives a few of these through the season, all for the same reason. Late in Season 4, Anne also berates him for his continual affair with Camilla and jeopardizing his marriage, pointing out that Camilla herself had married someone else, seemingly had no intention of leaving her husband, and, from Anne's perspective, wasn't nearly as emotionally invested in Charles as vice versa.
    • Elizabeth gives out another one to Charles in the season 4 finale when he tries to discuss his unhappiness with Diana. Elizabeth tells him that to everyone else, he just looks like an unfaithful Jerkass who has given the lovely mother of his children an eating disorder. And in fact, to the rest of the country, both Charles and Diana look like a couple of overly privileged young people who are making a big to-do about how they're the most miserable people in the world and in actuality they feel much sorrier for themselves than anyone else can.
    • Margaret gives Elizabeth a powerful one in "Annus Horribilis", starting with the well-worn grievance over Elizabeth preventing her from marrying Peter Townsend decades earlier, but from there pointing out that in the intervening decades, Elizabeth had never even acknowledged that she may have been wrong to do so, nor how it impacted Margaret, and went on to point out how her children were miserable for the same reason - that Elizabeth thought that as queen, she had to present herself as infallible, as opposed to a human who makes mistakes.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: The heightened received pronunciations of the Royal Family and their courtiers versus a number of working-class accents in several episodes, notably "Aberfan" (set mostly in South Wales) and "Imbroglio" (featuring Prime Minister Ted Heath in a heated debate with Yorkshire-born mining unionist Arthur Scargill), both in season 3.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The show offers plenty of circumstantial evidence that Philip cheated on Elizabeth in the 1950s, but doesn't show him doing it or even talking about it. It's left to the viewer to guess how much there actually is to the rumors.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The subtext of many debates about the monarchy, crystallizing around Elizabeth's coronation ceremony. Philip is firmly on Team Enlightenment, denying the Divine Right of Kings and striving to make the event more modern and accessible. But the Duke of Windsor, commenting on the ceremony to his friends, makes the case for Team Romanticism:
    David: Who wants transparency when you can have magic? Who wants prose when you can have poetry? Put away the veil, and what are you left with? An ordinary young woman of modest ability and little imagination. Wrap her up like this, anoint her with oil, and hey presto, what do you have? A goddess!
  • Royally Screwed Up:
    • Less so than other British dynasties, but between David being David, Philip chafing in Elizabeth's shadow, and Margaret's affair with Peter Townsend, the Windsors have a lot of difficulties.
    • The younger generation has it even worse. In "Favourites", when Elizabeth makes a point of speaking to each of her four children, she finds them by turns bullied, isolated, uncaring, and generally deeply unhappy, despite all having incredible privilege and opportunities. Three of these four children would go on to have deeply dysfunctional first marriages destined to end in divorce.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Elizabeth takes her duties very seriously, a trait she gets from her father, which he got from his mother and father. (David, or Edward VIII, notably lacks this.)
    • Phillip's mother Alice, though no longer a royal of Greece, has been quite busy - not least as nun and head of a charity hospital. Even normally anti-monarchist newspapers are quite happy with her (a 'love letter' according to Philip), and in-story helps to continue the civil list for the royals.
  • Rule of Drama:
    • Given how the Royal Family is famously zealous in protecting their personal privacy, we can never know how close to reality the series really is.
    • The main reason for the Star-Crossed Lovers subplot for Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend, at least after Churchill's retirement. In Real Life, both the Queen and the Eden government were supportive of their relationship, and it remains a mystery why the marriage did not go ahead. note 
    • Michael Parker was not forced to resign in disgrace the moment the news of his divorce broke. He resigned a month after his and Phillip's return from their big world tour, and this was most likely his own decision, since both Elizabeth and Phillip had expressed their support for him, and made him a Commander of the Royal Victorian order upon his resignation. Parker and Phillip remained in touch until Parker's death in 2001.
    • A large part of Phillip's dudgeon and resentment over his place as subordinate to his wife and being overshadowed is this, as in public at least he has been scrupulous in accepting his place and duties.
  • Same Character, But Different: Series three heralds a recast of the Queen, Princess Margaret and many of the other main cast members (though strangely not Winston Churchill, who is simply aged-up; though as he only appears for one scene on his deathbed, it was presumably decided that it wouldn't be worth recasting just for that). Whilst the new cast have generally been met with praise, some fans have noted that the recast has lent series three the feeling of a brand new show, due to the different acting styles of the new cast members; for instance, Helena Bonham Carter's Margaret is much more flamboyant than Vanessa Kirby's.
  • The Scapegoat: Elizabeth directs Michael Shea, her press secretary, to leak her concerns over Thatcher's refusal to endorse sanctions against South Africa. Though it's done as cautiously as possible it still blows up in the press, and at the end of the episode he's ordered to resign.
  • Scenery Porn: Along with lavish recreations of Windsor, Clarence House and so-on, many location shots love to highlight the stunning natural beauty of Britain's countrysides.
  • Senior Sleep-Cycle: The ageing Churchill is prone to dozing off during quiet moments.
  • Sensitive Artist: When Winston Churchill gets his formal portrait done, a modernist by Graham Sutherland is hired to do the job. The sessions between the two are more like therapy sessions, with Sutherland slowly peeling back the strongman posturing Churchill puts up, much to Churchill's chagrin. Sutherland eventually stuns the older man into silence when he intuits that the empty pond Churchill, a painting hobbyist himself, keeps painting into his landscapes actually represents his grief after losing a child.
  • Series Continuity Error: In the same episode. "The Hereditary Principle" in Season 4 specifically portrays Edward's 21st birthday, establishing it as March, 1985. Charles later tells Margaret that Diana is pregnant again. Harry was born in September 1984.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch:
    • Elizabeth wears Philip's shirt after she wakes up at their Kenyan lodge, while he sleeps naked.
    • Happens again in Season 3 but with Anne as she is seen wearing one of Andrew Parker Bowles' shirt in bed. He is of course shirtless.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Clement Attlee, according to Winston Churchill, although he considered it derogatory since that is the kind of man Churchill was.
  • Shipping Torpedo:
    • By the final episode of the first series, the press, most of the public, Elizabeth and (eventually) Philip are all shipping Peter and Margaret. The Church of England, however, makes the Queen act as the reluctant torpedo.
    • Lord Mountbatten and the Queen Mother break up Charles and Camilla after deeming her unfit as the wife of a future king. Not that their plan was terribly effective in the end...
  • Shout-Out:
    • The habit of officials placing all the really important documents at the bottom of the Sovereign's Red Box is a move straight out of Yes, Minister. Civil servants, it seems, treat Kings in much the same way they do Cabinet Ministers.
    • After learning that Lord Altrincham's critique is gaining momentum and turning into a full-blown crisis for the monarchy, Elizabeth is shown contemplating a dead stag. A dead stag was also used as a symbol of the potential downfall of the monarchy in The Queen.
    • John Major’s wife serves him a large serving of peas for dinner a likely reference to the recurring joke on Spitting Image.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In "Smoke and Mirrors", the Duke of Windsor gets angry when he learns that his wife will not be invited to the Coronation and tries to deliver a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Tommy Lascelles about how it's all because of the personal enmity Tommy feels towards him. Unfortunately, Tommy is unmoved:
    Windsor: You know, Tommy, you're an embarrassment to the institution you serve and to the country that institution serves in turn.
    Tommy: And I will take a lecture on national embarrassment from many people, sir, but not from you.
  • Skewed Priorities: Churchill is more concerned by Philip's flying lessons than the toxic smog. (He finally treats it seriously when the total lack of visibility results in his young secretary being killed by a bus.)
  • Sleeping Single:
    • Justified in that the royal couple's separate (though adjoining) bedrooms in Buckingham Palace are traditional for British gentry. The contrast between that and earlier Sleep Cute scenes does emphasize the distance that grows between them, however.
    • When the Thatchers arrive at Balmoral, they're nonplussed to discover they've been given separate bedrooms. Margaret later insists on Denis sleeping with her regardless.
    • Charles and Diana are given separate bedrooms on their Australian tour; however, after they rekindle their relationship, Charles spends the night in Diana's room.
  • Sleeps in the Nude: Prince Philip prefers sleeping this way, giving audiences a good look at Matt Smith's behind when King George VI wakes him up near the end of the first episode.
  • Sliding Down The Slippery Slope: Tommy Lascelles believes that this is how Edward VIII's abdication crisis came about: he started with small acts of selfishness that snowballed into bigger ones. That's why Tommy is so uptight whenever Elizabeth wants to break protocol.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: King George VI and Group Captain Peter Townsend good-naturedly exchange dirty limericks while getting ready for Elizabeth's wedding to Philip.
  • Spiritual Successor: It's something of a spiritual prequel to The Queen and The Audience, as its main scriptrwriter penned both.
  • Spy Speak: The phrase "Hyde Park Corner" is used to alert senior officials that King George VI has died so the news won't leak to the media before Elizabeth can be informed and an official announcement made. Season 4 notes that every member of the royal family has a codename for their death, the Queen's being "London Bridge".
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend, the most famous of the era, form a major plot thread.
  • Status Quo Is God: Zig-zagging trope. The Royals will never become Universally Beloved Leaders to the public, and if they do, it's only temporary. However, certain things do stick, such as certain royal relationships, but this is because it's a Foregone Conclusion for this show. But certain aspects of the status quo don't stick.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Members of the royal family and household provide a masterclass in British stoicism. Elizabeth herself rarely shows any emotion when receiving visitors or in public.
  • Stylistic Suck: The band that greets Philip and Elizabeth in Kenya clearly hasn't been acquainted with European music for that long. The crowd tries to hide their winces with plastic smiles.
  • Subtext: Camilla (or the writers) pack double-entendre absolutely everywhere it would fit in her lunch date with Diana. Sheltered, lonely, and abstracted Diana seems not to notice at first: not when the doormen bow her into the restaurant ("Welcome to Menage a Trois"), not when Camilla says she's happy to share, nor even after a series of "but of course you know that"s reveal that Camilla knows Charles intimately, and Diana knows him not at all. It's only when Camilla drops that they have pseudonyms for each other (Fred and Gladys), and that they talk on the phone daily, that the anvil finally drops on Diana.
  • Suicide by Pills: In the season 3 finale, Princess Margaret has another blowout argument with her husband Antony over her indiscreetly carrying on an extramarital affair with Roddy. This is despite the fact that he too is cheating on her. Roddy, who is witness to this, backs out of the room and disappears, leaving Margaret abandoned by both her lover and her husband. She ends up overdosing on pills and it is left ambiguous whether or not it was an accident or intentional.
  • Take That!: The episode that covers the extent of Edward VIII's Nazi collaboration ends with a bitter montage of real life photos of him and Wallis happily meeting German soldiers and even Hitler himself, essentially saying: "Just in case you thought we were making any of this up."
  • Tantrum Throwing: After Philip cruelly taunts Elizabeth's need for approval by imitating her father and his stammer, she hurls a tumbler and then a tennis racket at him as she chases him from their room.
  • The Teaser: Cold openings are the norm. "Ipatiev House" has an interesting one, as it consists of a flashback to 1918 when George V ponders whether to save the Romanovs (who are then shown being executed). Since there have been rumours of a potential Prequel series depicting the period between the death of Queen Victoria (1901) and the then-Princess Elizabeth's wedding with which The Crown began (1947), this might also count as a teaser for what such a show could be like. George V, who reigned from 1910 to 1936, would be a major character in such a series and what we see of him shows an interesting juxtaposition between two sides of his character — he has a pet parrot to whom he is clearly attached, but he also loves shooting game birds.
  • Technology Porn: "Gelignite" begins and ends with exhaustive depictions of the Buckingham Palace phone lines, with something as simple as two sisters having a chat having to go through a ton of operators.
  • That Man Is Dead: When Anthony Eden visits George VI, hoping that, as his friend Albert Windsor, he could persuade Churchill to retire because of his health, the King replies that Albert Windsor is dead, and George VI has taken his place.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: David will never be forgiven for the abdication and his marriage to Wallis Simpson, especially since many of those same people hold him indirectly, or directly if you're the Queen Mother, responsible for the early death of George VI. Further explored in season 2, and made a major plot point in "Vergangenheit". Elizabeth attempts to live according to Christ's teachings, which are very clear about forgiveness. When David comes to her, asking for a chance to do good for his country again, she is inclined to forgive his past crimes and grant his request, even after uncovering some post-war German intelligence about his relations with the Nazis. However, after speaking to Tommy Lascelles and learning David's intentions of dethroning her father and his treasonous cooperation with the Nazis, she is unable to forgive her uncle.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • After Charles went on a Protagonist Journey to Villain in Season 4, with the entirety of his arc focused on his mistreatment of Diana, his affair with Camilla, and his generally self-absorbed behaviour, Season 5 allows a little more nuance for his character. He's shown sympathizing with relatives dealing with an ill child, participating and running charitable events meant to help disadvantaged youth, working to restore and maintain the popularity of the monarchy even as he personally was under public fire, and even acknowledging some of his flaws, such as his tendency to "whine" about his own problems at inappropriate times. There's even one or two brief moments early in the season of him and Diana acting kindly or affectionately towards one another before their marriage blows up for good. He's still portrayed as rather self-absorbed and not exactly kind to Diana, but overall it's a far more layered portrayal than the previous season. Potentially Justified in-universe by Elizabeth's comment that separation from Diana had improved his disposition.
    • Valet Sydney Johnson inspires a few of these. First, the much-maligned Duke and Duchess of Windsor take him under their wings and "teach him everything he knows" despite having little to no experience as a valet when they hired him (earning his lifelong loyalty to them). Then later, as the elderly valet to Mohamed Al-Fayed, he takes ill and dies, and the otherwise-sleazy Al-Fayed is shown caring for him through his illness and grieving at his grave afterwards. In both cases, otherwise-unlikeable characters show remarkable caring and kindness towards him.
  • Transparent Closet: Margaret is dumped by her gentleman caller, Derek Jennings, and seems surprised when Elizabeth explains that it's probably because Jennings is gay. The idea that a man with the nickname "Dazzle" might not be entirely heterosexual makes it seem like the princess Failed a Spot Check, though she does admit that explains why he wanted to go to the opera all the time. The queen also points out that just because Dazzle adores Margaret doesn't make it true love; she is, after all, a princess and a fashion icon.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Tony Armstrong-Jones has regular liaisons with a married couple, the Frys.
  • Title Drop: Happens with every episode; for example, the first episode, titled "Wolferton Splash", refers to the duck pond where George VI takes Philip for shooting, as well as explain to him what it means to be married to the future Queen.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Any member of the royal family who doesn't start out petulant, entitled, and narcissistic is sure to get there eventually.
    • Especially noticeable in Charles during season 4. His marriage to Diana turns him from a shy, nervous but essentially kind young man into a mean-spirited jerk, who seems to get into fights with Diana on a daily basis. He feels (without intention on her part) constantly upstaged by her, putting him into a perpetually bad mood.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Elizabeth and Margaret, respectively. Elizabeth is the heir (and later monarch), practical, business-like, authoritative, and a Wrench Wench while Margaret is an idle princess whose wardrobe is full-on couture and hardly expresses much ambitions outside of True Love. It's played with in that the girlier half (Margaret) is the more rebellious one who is pushing against expectations foisted on her while Elizabeth is the more dutiful half.
    • In the younger generation, this turns out to be Anne and Diana for a period of time. While Anne never particularly cared for fashion or the media's attention, she becomes resentful at the media constantly comparing her unfavourably with her more fashionable and public-facing sister-in-law.
  • Tough Leader Façade: Queen Mary writes Elizabeth a letter shortly after her accession, imploring her and reminding her that she must put the duties of the Crown before everything else, even personal happiness. Churchill invokes this trope even more pointedly to both Elizabeth and Margaret in Episode 8, saying that the public should never see their real selves.
  • True Love Is Boring: Though Elizabeth and Philip's real-life marriage was understandably not without some bumps, historians agree that it was nevertheless far less turbulent and dramatic than portrayed in the series and generally devoid of the hardships and serious strain the couple faces by the end of the first series in order to emphasize the heavy weight of the Crown and the difficulties it places on the relationships of those involved.

    U-Y 
  • The Unfavorite:
    • David, which is abundantly clear when he meets his mother before George VI's funeral. It should be noted that King George V thought so little of his heir that he openly hoped that David wouldn't have children so that Bertie and later Elizabeth, his favourite grandchild, would inherit the throne.
    • Antony Armstrong-Jones is also this to his mother compared to his half-brother, due to his being the child of an earlier, unhappy marriage to a man with no title.
    • Philip distinctly gets on very poorly with Charles, who has an extremely different personality and temperament from him. Charles and Elizabeth also have a frosty relationship, as she struggles to see him as a person beyond being heir to the throne, and therefore a reminder of her own mortality.
  • The Un-Hug: In "Terra Nullius" a desperate Diana hugs the Queen when she's about to dismiss her. The Queen does not hug her back and looks exceedingly uncomfortable.
  • Unreliable Voiceover:
    • When Billy Wallace describes his duel with Colin Tennant to Margaret, we hear his self-flattering version of events while watching a much less dignified reality.
    • David's letter to to Wallis about his trip to England describes him being greeted by a "crowd of supporters," but there are only a few people actually there.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Friend of Dorothy", an old-fashioned euphemism for a homosexual, is used in reference to Margaret's hairdresser.
  • Verbal Tic: Elizabeth's "Oh?" can be translated as "I am trying very hard to be diplomatic, but words fail me right now."
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Used in "Fairytale" when Diana makes herself vomit after stress eating.
  • Warts and All: What Churchill dislikes about his 80th birthday portrait by Graham Sutherland, as he wanted the portrait to show him as Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister and Statesmen, not Winston Churchill, a tired, 80-year-old man. After arguing with Sutherland about the portrait, he admits privately to his wife that the portrait is the truth, and he can do nothing about it. As in real life, Lady Churchill later has the portrait burned as the episode ends.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • In the midst of a gruelling Commonwealth tour, Philip accuses Elizabeth of still thinking she's The Unfavorite and trying to posthumously win her father's praise.
    • Antony Armstrong-Jones is so desperate for his mother's approval that it seems to be his main reason for marrying Margaret.
  • Wham Line: When Elizabeth refuses to take a separate regnal name, the response is "Then long live Queen Elizabeth." Everyone promptly pauses as the historical significance of that phrase hits them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Margaret grows angrier and angrier with Elizabeth for standing between her and Peter and isn't shy about expressing it, especially when Elizabeth is forced to break her promise about supporting their match.
    • Elizabeth takes Winston Churchill and Lord Salisbury to task over their hiding Churchill and Eden's poor health, seriously damaging the trust between Crown and Government upon which the entire function of the British Constitution rests.
    • After Philip's previous dissatisfaction builds up into jealousy over Elizabeth's close friendship with Porchey, Elizabeth shames him with a short speech in which she says that plenty of people did want her to marry Porchey, and it probably would have been an easier marriage — but for better or worse, she has only ever loved Philip.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: In season 6, Dodi's fiancée Kelly Fisher describes Diana as this, which is why she's very dismayed to learn that he and Diana have been vacationing together.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: During the flashback to Philip's time at Gordonstoun in "Paterfamilias," one of the other boys sneers at him for being a mongrel European noble whose sisters all married Nazis, whose mother is in an asylum, and whose father left the family to live with his "whore" in Paris. "Monaco," Philip grumbles to the last of these.
  • You Are in Command Now: Elizabeth is forced to take the throne far sooner than she was expecting or prepared for, as a woman still in her twenties, while England is still rebuilding from the war and under rationing.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: David isn't explicitly barred from the country, but he'll lose his allowance if he returns without invitation, so he's effectively exiled.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: "Marionettes" has Elizabeth voice the man who punched Lord Altrincham as "chivalrous" but then is forced to have to concede that she has to consider Altrincham's points after being told that the puncher was a member of a reactionary and racist group in the UK.
  • Your Days Are Numbered:
    • Even after having one cancerous lung removed, George VI begins coughing blood again. It's at this point his doctor defies his colleagues and informs George that he likely has less than a year to live.
    • The Duke of Windsor gets lung cancer in his old age and is told that palliative care is the only thing medicine can provide. He spends his remaining time saying goodbye to his friends, family, and even the Emperor of Japan.
    • Harold Wilson has Alzheimer's during his second term and knows that his time as prime minister is running out. In spite of his condition, however, Wilson did go on to live for almost another 20 years (in reality it's unknown whether he had the condition when he was serving as Prime Minister, though some historians suspect he was in the early stages).
  • Yo Yo Plot Point: Not from the series, but from an earlier, similar-themed work by the same writer; the episode "Marionettes" repeats a metaphor from Peter Morgan's screenplay for The Queen, wherein a hunted stag represents the threat posed to the monarchy by their apparent inability to move with the times.

Alternative Title(s): The Crown

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