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The Crown recap: Season 1, Episode 7

Elizabeth steps up to be Queen while Churchill flounders

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Robert Viglasky/Netflix

The Crown

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Nancy Bilyeau

PREVIOUS: Episode 6, “Gelignite”

Knowledge is power. That’s this episode’s title when translated from Latin to English and it certainly serves as the overwhelming theme.

We open with little Elizabeth taking private queen lessons at Eton. She learns about the balancing act between the government and the monarchy, a.k.a. “the efficient and dignified.” When Elizabeth asks why she isn’t learning what the other students spend their time on, her tutor tells her it would be, “undignified.”

Jumping to the present, Elizabeth still feels she lacks the necessary education to be Queen and gets into an argument with her mother. “I know almost nothing,” she says. The Queen Mother claims she thought she gave Elizabeth the education she needed.

We see Elizabeth’s lack of knowledge in her session with Churchill when she asks the P.M. to refresh her memory about atomic bombs, Soviet Russia, and U.S. President Eisenhower as Anthony Eden flies to America to speak about what they should do about Russia. Sidenote: We get a corgi sighting! Can we please have more corgi sightings?

In private secretary drama, Tommy is retiring and Elizabeth wants her old secretary Martin to take over. Martin always seemed more warm and friendly when he was Elizabeth’s secretary before her ascension to the throne. It all sounds like a great idea and Martin accepts the post, despite being the Junior Private Secretary at Elizabeth’s urging. During their conversation, she asks Martin to find her a tutor. That’s something I doubt she would have ever asked Tommy for.

Meanwhile both Eden and Churchill are in bad health. Eden will have gallbladder surgery in Boston, which outrages a bedridden Winston. The two have a hilarious exchange over the telephone as Eden makes Churchill praise his abilities and how much he values Eden as all those operators listen on. It’s tickle-ishly funny.

Elizabeth has her first meeting with her new tutor, a flask swigging Professor Tonk. He tries to get an understanding of Elizabeth’s education level, but she had never even take a standardized test much her to chagrin. “I can’t keep up,” she admits and constantly feels like she’s playing catch up with every person she meets.

Immediately Elizabeth goes and gets in another fight with her mother. “How could you let me down like this?” While the Queen Mother fires back that she thought they were past fighting before she goes after Elizabeth’s parenting abilities. “We all have to accept our limitations in life,” she says. Ouch, way harsh.

Churchill refuses to accept his failing health and is hiding his stroke(s) from the Queen at the encouragement of Lord Salisbury. So instead, they tell her he has the flu and can’t make it in for their weekly meeting. Churchill gets the palace to invite Eisenhower, which quickly sends the Buckingham Palace staff into a frenzy. Elizabeth finds herself in a similar state of panic trying to read up with the help for her tutor.

NEXT: Elizabeth rules