For six years, people have been telling me to watch The Crown.
If you don’t know, it’s the ongoing Netflix series chronicling the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who recently celebrated her Platinum Jubilee.
Actually, people don’t start out telling me to watch The Crown—they assume I already do.
I’ve always been obsessed with the British royals. For a middle school assignment to write about someone you admired, I chose Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. (In my defense, this was before her divorce, her stint as a Weight Watchers spokesperson, and her strange co-dependent relationship with ex-husband Andrew. And as for Andrew, the less said the better.)
When William and Kate married in 2011, I took the morning off work to watch the ceremony while eating biscuits and drinking coffee. (I can’t do hot tea, even for Kate.)
While my coworkers were always streaming March Madness basketball, in 2013 I had a browser window dedicated to the live stream camera waiting for William and Kate to come out and show the newly born Prince George off to the world.
In 2020, I revived this very blog after an extended hiatus to write about Megxit.
I devoured Sally Bedell Smith’s wonderful biography of the Queen, the royal I love most of all.
And yet I resisted watching The Crown. I like movies better than television shows, which seem to go on long after the thrill is gone (I’m looking at you, Mrs. Maisel.) And quite frankly, the more people tell me to watch a show, the less I want to watch it. The irony of the fact that I write a weekly blog with the express purpose of convincing people to watch classic films is not lost on me. My only defense is that I’m much more open to movie recommendations. I’ll take a flyer on a two-hour film. A TV show is a huge time commitment just because someone at the water cooler said it was must-see. No Game of Thrones. No Stranger Things. Dodged the bullet that was Tiger King.
If I don’t stumble upon it myself, it feels like homework.
Years after everyone’s forgotten about a show is when I start watching. That way, even if I’ve been spoiled I’ve forgotten about it.
But this past weekend, I did it. I started season one of The Crown.
So what changed?
The Palace Papers.
I all but kicked in the door of my local bookstore (okay, not true—I was there with my bookworm protégé and trying to set a good example) to get a copy of Tina Brown’s latest chronicle of the royal gossip. It picks up where she left off in 2008’s The Diana Chronicles. In Brown’s inimitable style, she dishes on the longevity of Camilla, the steadfastness of Kate, and the inevitable and possibly unavoidable clash between Harry, Meghan, and the royal family.
I gobbled it up like a plate of Twinkies.
I read in every spare moment. Brushing my teeth, drying my hair, waiting for coffee to brew. My life was on hold until I reached the last page.
And when I looked up, I still wasn’t finished. I needed more royals.
But I’ve read everything there was to read.
Which is how I find myself up at 3 in the morning binging season one of The Crown.
Time to clear my calendar and prepare for season two.