PREVIOUS: Episode 2, “Hyde Park Corner”
What’s in a name? Well, in the case of the royal family, a lot. And, between “Mountbatten,” “Cookie,” and “Shirley Temple,” such was the hottest topic of The Crown‘s third episode, “Windsor.”
We open with a rather telling flashback to Dec. 10, 1936, the day King Edward abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson and the day he addressed the British people to explain his choice. We hear him say, “This decision has been made less difficult to me by the sure knowledge that my brother has one matchless blessing enjoyed by so many of you and not bestowed on me: a happy home with his wife and children,” as young Elizabeth and Margaret happily join their mom and dad, new King George and his Queen Elizabeth, to listen.
We also got a glimpse at how the rest of the family felt about Edward’s actions — Queen Mary gave him the ultimate dressing down when she reminded him he was just a “private individual” now and said no one wanted to hear from just a “private individual.” “The best thing for everyone would be if you said your goodbyes quietly, privately, and disappeared into the night.” ICE. COLD.
Fast-forward to 1952, and we quickly learn that things haven’t exactly been warm between Edward and the rest of his family. Elizabeth meets with her mother and grandmother to discuss funeral arrangements and the subject quickly turns to where to seat Edward. Queen Mother Elizabeth doesn’t want him anywhere near her: “I’m sorry, I know he’s your son,” she says to her mother-in-law. Mary hastily replies, “A son who gave up the throne and effectively killed my other son.” I am officially feeling more grateful for my own family.
The subject soon changes to Elizabeth’s mother taunting her about Edward and his wife’s “nasty little nicknames” for the other members of the royal family. Our heroine’s is Shirley Temple, which, frankly, is pretty much perfect. Score one for ol’ Eddie.
He and his mother soon meet again, and it’s no less icy. “One can only be thankful for all the years one had him,” she says of George. “So wonderfully thoughtful and caring, an angel to his mother, wife, and children. I honestly believe he never thought of himself at all. He really was the perfect son.” Her comments about Edward’s wife don’t get any warmer.
Later, after Edward has met again with Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and Margaret, he sends his wife pretty much one of the nastiest letters ever sent, calling his family “a bunch of ice-flamed monsters,” “dumpy and plain,” “joyless and loveless,” and admitting his own temptation to punch the Queen Mother. Still, he says, he’s following Wallis’ advice and keeping the clan close to try to see what he can get out of them. That’s not going to work out so great for him, as we’ve already learned that the Queen Mother has begun to make moves to turn that financial faucet off.
Apparently, the letter wasn’t enough for Philip, so he went running to his royal mommy to complain about “Cookie” (the name he’s given the Queen Mother because “she’s fat, common, and looks like a cook”) turning off the tap. “Now we barely make ends meet,” he moans. “Every day is a struggle.” Something tells me the struggle, in this case, is not real.
NEXT: Elizabeth and Churchill discuss the coronation