Full disclosure: Despite my larger than average interest in the British Royal Family, I’ve had a hard time getting into Netflix’s The Crown. Maybe it’s just that my knowledge of the firm started with the Prince William and Harry generation, but it wasn’t until I saw the new trailer for the dark new season 4 of the royal drama that I felt really and truly hooked. As Emma Corrin’s Princess Diana enters the fray, season 4 of The Crown will show the early days of her romance with Prince Charles, her introduction to the rest of the family, the stir she caused in the public, and, of course, their royal wedding. But this trailer isn’t celebratory, even as it shows flashes of Diana’s jubilance — instead, it’s grey skies and foreboding music as Diana takes the first steps on her royal journey, and it seems the Netflix show can’t help but remind us at every step where her story ends.
Season 4 isn’t just Diana, though that’s the part that got my heart pounding the most. It also introduces Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher, an intimidating foil to Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth II, as well as Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret, and — by the end of season 4 — a toddler Prince William.
“Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made — a prince and princess on their wedding day. But fairy tales usually end at this point, with the simple phrase, ‘They lived happily ever after,'” the trailer’s narrator reads. “As husband and wife live out their vows, loving and cherishing one another — sharing life’s splendors and miseries, achievements and setbacks — they will be transformed in the process. Our faith sees the wedding day not as the place of arrival, but the place where the adventure really begins.”
By depicting Diana’s entrée into the royal family as a fairy tale once again, The Crown would be doing a disservice to Lady Diana Spencer’s real experience of taking on this overwhelming role. I have a feeling this upcoming season will be tough to watch, but well worth it.
Click here to see the 100 best photos of the royal family from the past 20 years.