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Philip wakes up and, this seems perfectly in line with his personality, goes outside to put himself through a series of timed, vigorous exercises. (You can take the boy out of Gordonstoun, etc. etc.) But he’s pulled a muscle in his neck and it bothers him enough that he’s taken to see an osteopath named Stephen Ward. Ward apparently comes highly recommended by the likes of Winston Churchill and Duncan Sandys (what a pair!), and he quietly manipulates Philip’s neck while speaking in soothing tones about tension and emotional strain. The men figure out they know some people in common, and Ward talks about the house parties he throws. Philip’s eye is caught by a beautiful brunette in a picture frame on the mantle; her name is Christine, and Ward tells him that she’ll certainly be at the parties too. “I enjoy putting people together,” says Ward, and oh brother is that the truth.
PREVIOUSLY: The Crown recap: ‘Paterfamilias’
(We’ve hit the point in the episode when I first looked up the details of the Profumo affair — the scandal that propels the plot of this whole episode. I’ve been led to believe I’d know it all cold if I had grown up in England, but instead I am American and I have Wikipedia and let me tell you, it’s fascinating stuff and will help fill in any gaps of what exactly happened. You can read all about it here. )
There’s an investigation with the beautiful Christine — turns out she’s also been having relations with a soviet spy. Oh, and maybe John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War. Where did they meet? Stephen Ward’s house, naturally. There’s a photograph of a lanky, big-eared fellow with his back turned who sure looks familiar. Christine doesn’t say who he is. He’s labeled Mystery Man.
Prime Minister Macmillan has a man-to-man talk with Profumo. Profumo denies everything and Macmillan tells his wife later that he believes him. He tells her confidently he knows a face of a liar — remember he’s telling this to a woman who had another lover for decades. She nails it when she calls him an incredulous, trusting fool.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth has to do one of the more unpleasant parts of her job — dealing with the rest of the family complaining about Margaret. Turns out Mags is redoing her house and the banging and hammering is unbearable to Aunt Marina. Elizabeth assures her she’ll have a word with Margaret, and then, excitedly, meets with a doctor who tells her she is pregnant. Claire Foy is such a tremendous actress that you can see her flush prettily. But the joy is a little tempered by the fact that she has low iron levels and must take it easy during this pregnancy.
She goes off to tell her husband the good news but he’s nowhere. She’s informed by a rather snooty staff member that His Royal Highness is away for a house party for the weekend. “It’s Wednesday,” says the queen. Sigh.
Meanwhile things are closing in on Stephen Ward. We get a nifty piece of exposition as a reporter explains that Ward sang like an osteopathic canary — about the call girls and the Russian spy and Profumo. Profumo will be no doubt resigning any moment! Guess who he’s talking to? Hotter-than-hot Matthew Goode, a.k.a. Tony Snowdon, who is talking about going on assignment to Paris. We hear he’s just been in New York and Tokyo and shouldn’t he be spending more time at home? Nah, he says, his home is a construction site. Margaret is apparently pregnant again and Tony says it’s good to know what bonds a couple. For them, it’s absence. Oh, boy.
Elizabeth goes to see Margaret and it turns out that Tony is not wrong: There’s an awful lot of construction going on. Margaret, as usual, looks fabulous and not a second pregnant. There’s some chatter about how modern it is to have a dining room table near the kitchen and then the two sisters are sort of sweet with each other, discussing their respective pregnancies. Of course that sweetness does not last when Elizabeth tells Margaret to chill out on the noise. In fact, Margaret’s irritation may lead her to spitefully tell Elizabeth about a rumor they’ve heard: She shows Elizabeth the Mystery Man photo and is all — look like anyone we know? Elizabeth tries to keep her face neutral but it is a struggle.
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This woman needs to rest, but there’s no time for that. Macmillan has come to see her and tell her he’s ready to resign. She’s like, Uh, no way, bro. She needs him to pull it together and lead the country. She needs to go Scotland (her safe place) to rest for the baby and he needs to step it up. She tells him it would mean a great deal to her personally. Then she rings her goodbye bell. God, I love her goodbye bell.
Macmillan is taking a drubbing from the public. His wife gleefully tells him all about how this satire group makes fun of him and how she laughed and laughed and laughed. I kind of hate her. I don’t love him either, but she seems just straight up mean. She tells him to go see for himself.
Philip packs more than anyone I’ve ever seen. Elizabeth goes to see him and for a hot second thinks the luggage means he’s coming with her to Scotland. Not a chance: He’s going to St. Moritz. “How mysterious,” she bites out. “You enjoy the mountains, dear.” Yeow.
We get a cross-cut between Elizabeth on the beautiful scenic train ride up to Scotland, pensively looking out the window. Macmillan has taken the masochistic path of seeing the show for himself and it’s just as bad as you might imagine. We also see a bit of Ward’s trial and of him sketching in a notebook. Things do not look great for him as we hear things like: “Men like Ward don’t deserve our pity, only our contempt…he is a thoroughly filthy fellow.” Before he can hear his verdict, he kills himself. While going through his things, they flip through his sketchpad and find a drawing of Philip. The plot thickens, does it not? (Next: Elizabeth and Philip finally have it out)