By recreating the royals outfits and ramping up the glamour, the pop Tv drama perpetually blurs the line between happening and story. That is what realise the demonstrate so compelling

All publicity is good publicity, “theyre saying”, but the royal family is the exception that proves that principle. And recent television coverage of the imperials has been- to place it mildly- a mixed bag. The brand-new succession of The Crown launched on Netflix within hours of that Prince Andrew interview. One was dependably glorious, which is precisely what royalty is supposed to be. The other was, well, a vehicle clang seems to be the go-to analogy, although I can’t help feeling vehicle clangs are somewhat bad-taste imagery when it comes to describing royal PR disasters.

The upshot of all this is that the third series of The Crown will be required to do more heavy lifting than the previous two, in obliging us fall in love with it- a burden that descents in big persona upon the wardrobe district. Robes, jewellery, whisker and makeup are an essential part of The Crown. From the beginning, the line has acquired the imperials most beautiful and more glamorous than their real-life equivalents, and invited us to fall under their spell. The Crown has given the elderly royals a freshly shimmering backstory: here, we examine the Queen a high-spirited young grace; Prince Philip golden-haired and square-jawed.

But fashion in The Crown does a lot more than sprinkle stardust. Clothes are strategically employed to blur the line between reality and fiction. The third escapade of the brand-new succession covers the Aberfan tragedy of 1966, which killed 144 people, 116 of them children. Serious and careful, the chapter feels almost like a standalone patch. It reclines heavily into the Queen’s delay in visiting the hamlet, her absence from the funeral, and subsequent change of heart. The fib is imbued with hindsight – you can’t watch it and not be reminded of the Queen’s reluctance to return to London after Diana’s death 31 years later, and how that slow reverberated through British culture and varied so much better. But the kit worn by Olivia Colman is an exact replica of what the Queen wore in 1966: the side-buttoning red coat with a skin trimming to pick out the competitor hat; the darker brown leather gloves; the handbag. This is more than robes being used to bring a character to life. This is clothes being used as primary exhibit, to realize the particular version of the story being told look like the truth.

The Queen visiting Aberfan in 1966( left ); and Olivia Colman wearing a replica of her outfit in The Crown. Composite: Getty/ Shutterstock

The problems around how much of The Crown ” actually happened ” are a key part of what realizes it obligating. In the occurrence Margaretology, Princess Margaret hurtles to the White House and singlehandedly saves the British fiscal system from collapse by weaponising her booze forbearance and endowment for insulting limericks. I precis a little, but you get the gist. Contemporary details of the reason prove the night being a success- the New York Times reported that the after-dinner dancing went on until 2am, during which” there was laughter and chatting; Margaret smoked a cigarette on a long holder and everyone seemed wholly at ease “. But The Crown, indulging the 21 st-century fascination with soft influence and diplomatic clothing, has amplified the importance of this event to will be incorporated into its Princess Margaret myth-making.

The zeitgeist works in mysterious spaces, and Princess Margaret the style icon are not only a creation of Peter Morgan and The Crown. Her 21 st-birthday gown, designed by Christian Dior, had a starring role in the V& A’s blockbusting Dior exhibition this year. Her official portrait wearing the gown, taken by Cecil Beaton, is available on the spread of a special edition of Harpers Bazaar in February. The sect fashion designer Alessandra Rich, a favourite of everyone from Kate Moss to the Duchess of Cambridge, cites Princess Margaret as one of her muses. But by riffing not only on her glamour but also on her political acumen, The Crown produces echoes of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell into her on-screen character. There is a mightiness to her party enterings, cleaning into a room like a galleon in full sail, which would do as well for Wolf Hall as Buck House.

The real imperials arrive for the investiture of Prince Charles in 1969( left ); and the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in The Crown. Composite: Getty/ Des Willie/ Netflix

But most of all, Helena Bonham Carter’s version of Margaret is the royal family’s Elizabeth Taylor- a cite that portends the marital dramas to play out later in this time period. The line’ very first shot of her depicts a sizable diamond bracelet as a naked forearm elongates out of tangled expanses to answer a ringing telephone. The second understands her in a floaty, kaftan-style robe, marching across cobbled streets to pick a fight with her beloved. Diamonds, kaftans and suitors’ tiffs: this is as Taylor as it gets. Where Vanessa Kirby’s younger Margaret was sensitive and injury, Bonham Carter returns a Burton-esque exaggeration. She is always either roaring with laughter, the bones at her throat catching the light-footed as she throws back her intelligence, or she is face-down in a two-day hangover. Her wardobe, like the Queen’s, is in many instances a carbon copy of real life- for example, her pink dres at Prince Charles’s investiture is reproduced, together with the match outsize pink “hairs-breadth” fore which, as it happens, is very on veer for this season. But elsewhere, her appears- sunglasses, cigarette owners, winged eyeliner, a startling pair of floral-printed stilettos, off-the-shoulder garments that recall Taylor in Giant– are every inch the movie-star princess.

The Queen with Prince Philip in The Crown. Photograph: Des Willie/ Courtesy of Des Willie/ Netflix

The contrast with her older sister the Queen is overdone for comic visual accomplish: after Margaret has begun her period in diamonds and a kaftan, with a fag and a sequence, we meet the Queen at her breakfast counter in a hem dres, taking her bottled-up excitements out on the butter bayonet as it rasps a tiny shred of marmalade across crustless toast. She forwarded to her pearls not when she sheds her chief back in laugh, but when she clutches her sides to them uneasily, rolling them across her clavicles like worry beads.

There are echoes in this show with the other programme everyone watched on tv recently, Succession. The Rolls-Royce Phantom has swapped in for the boat, the Bakelite phone in a white-hot gloved mitt for the constantly pinging email, but there are the same dysfunctionalities and similarly ludicrous real estate properties. The Crown workouts artistic licence to induce the characters more glamorous, more often than it does to build them more likable, because- as in Succession- it is the character flaws that drive the storey. The clothes are there to prevail our polls, even when the characters don’t deserve them. As Harold Wilson says to the Queen, early in this series:” Everything is political .” And some things actually don’t change.


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