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After a teaser trailer that focused primarily on the “fairy tale” romance between Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin), the official trailer for the upcoming fourth season of Netflix’s The Crown begins by highlighting the friction between Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman).
Soundtracked by a slower version of The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now?,” the preview begins with the queen and Thatcher, the U.K.’s first female prime minister, meeting as Thatcher suggests that they “ask ourselves some of the bigger questions, woman to woman,” before revealing that she and Elizabeth are roughly the same age, with Thatcher six months older.
While the queen seems open to having two women running the country, their strong personalities soon appear to be at odds.
When Thatcher proclaims that her “goal is to change this country from being dependent to self-reliant and in that I think I am succeeding,” the queen highlights “joblessness, recession, crises” and advises, “It’s a dangerous game to make enemies left, right and center.”
But, Thatcher says, she’s “comfortable with having enemies.”
Creator Peter Morgan says of Thatcher and the queen, in a quote released with the trailer, “It could be said that they are two very similar women, born only months apart. They are very much defined by the Second World War, by a sense of a sense of frugality, hard work, commitment, Christianity and so much more. It was a commonly held piece of wisdom that the queen and Thatcher didn’t get on. I think there was probably a lot of respect. But they also had many differences, it was really fun exploring their differences and their similarities. I also get a chance to explore them both as mothers. Writing Thatcher and the queen as mothers was probably an angle that no one has explored before. It yielded one of my favorite episodes in the season.”
The second half of the nearly two-and-a-half-minute preview focuses on Charles meeting Diana and her getting acquainted with the royal family.
As she’s shown dancing and being greeted by the paparazzi and fans abroad, Diana tells the queen, “All I want is to be loved. That’s all any of us want from you.”
Separately, the Queen Mother (Marion Bailey) advises that “in time she will give up her fight and bend, as they all do.”
If she doesn’t bend, though, Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) says, “she will break.”
Indeed, Margaret is acutely aware of the pain that can be caused by royal interference in romantic relationships.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to be encouraging an interference with a marriage when I was Vanessa Kirby back in season one, my whole life was destroyed originally by my sister interfering with the marriage,” Bonham Carter said at a socially-distanced, live-streamed press conference in August. “I think that happened in real life — there was a sympathy for Diana. She saw Diana being picked up by the press as she was, and that she was taken as a fashion template. But she also knew that this was going to be a honeymoon, and that being heralded by the press then could quickly turn. But it’s a complicated thing, marriage into the royal family, it isn’t just for just an emotional [union] — there’s a job and there’s a duty. And I think she’s can see that Diana is too young.”
The fourth season of The Crown picks up in the late 1970s, with the majority of the action taking place in the 1980s, amid Thatcher’s reign and the Falklands War as Charles and Diana have what appears from the outside to be a fairy tale romance that isn’t necessarily happily ever after behind closed doors.
While filming on season four wrapped at the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the fifth season, which will feature the series’ third and final cast change, will be filmed next year and not air until 2022, a similar pause to the one taken between the second and third seasons of the series, with seasons five and six set to take the story into the 2000s.
Morgan recently revealed that he’d returned to his original plan to have the series run for six seasons instead of an abbreviated five-season run, which he had said at the time was the “perfect time and place to stop.” But, Morgan clarified, “season six will not bring us any closer to present day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
Season four of The Crown starts streaming on Netflix on Nov. 15.
Watch the full trailer below.
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