The Crown: Understanding the Dynamics of the Royal Family

By Kendra Williams

On Sunday, March 7, 2021, Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey’s tell all interview about their time in the royal family premiered on television. When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as working members of the royal family in March 2020, they were cut off financially and had no security. They were given security by filmmaker and producer Tyler Perry, and he provided a house for the young family to stay in.

For a long time now, there has been controversy concerning Meghan and Harry’s union. However, not much was known about their life after marriage. When she and Harry sat down with Oprah, she revealed a lot about their time as working members. She revealed a lot about the family dynamics, struggles with the institution, and feeling trapped. She even ended up having to speak to one of Princess Diana’s old friends, feeling a lot like her in the final days.

After I watched the interview, I was a bit shocked. I was angry at some of the revelations revealed, like concern over how “dark” their child Archie would be. However, what struck me just as hard was Meghan’s revelation of having suicidal thoughts. Then I scrolled through Netflix and saw the trailer for The Crown. I had watched it many times before, but now I was intrigued. I decided to go ahead and start the first season.

The first season starts out introducing the members of the royal family, starting with King George, Queen Elizabeth II’s father. The show went into detail about the dynamics of the family and the separation of the institution and the royal family. What I noticed was, the institution and the family does not seem to like anyone who marries in. No one is quite good enough, not even Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edenborough.

Queen Elizabeth had to convince everyone to agree to the marriage, and even once the marriage was approved, they still had peering eyes everywhere, the Prince not having much respect from the institution or even the staff. The same happened when Princess Margaret wanted to marry Peter Townsend, head of the household staff. No one just ever seems good enough.

In fact, a lot of the problems Meghan points out about entering in the royal family have been happening for decades. Prince Phillip seemed to also suffer from depression, and feeling disrespected. After having his job taken away, Phillip needs to pick up a new hobby, so he starts taking flying lessons. After the firm (the institution) hears about this, they plan to put a stop to it. Claiming the father of the future Crown (Prince Charles) cannot be jeopardized.

The institution can also be quite demeaning. Megan revealed that she was not given proper royal protocol before meeting the queen, and when lies about her came out in the tabloids, they made no effort to correct the story. In the Crown, the institution is heavily related to the press, and makes extreme measures to have a say in what is published about the royal family and what is not. On top of that, the institution often makes plans and oversteps the royal family, making decisions for them, in order to protect the Crown.

The monarchy is not something that is a constant. The country has the right to overthrow them at any moment. That is why they are so protective over who gets near the monarchy. Does this make the prejudices experienced right? Absolutely not. However, the show gave a thorough look inside how and why things are done. There is a protocol to almost everything because of failed experiences in the past. The monarchy is so fragile that they cannot afford to make a mistake.

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