The Crown: The Official Podcast

Episode 7: The Hereditary Principle

Episode Summary

Host Edith Bowman discusses the seventh episode of the fourth season of The Netflix series The Crown, with three very special guests.

Episode Notes

It's 1985 and Princess Margaret is at an all-time low. She's lonely, her health is failing, and she loses her status as Councillor of State when Prince Edward turns 21. At her lowest point, Margaret discovers a terrible family secret that two of her first cousins who she believed dead have been institutionalised for decades. In search of answers, she comes to believe that it is not just the cousins who have been cast aside by the family, but all those who don't fit in.

In this episode, Edith Bowman talks with director Jessica Hobbs, Head of Research Annie Sulzberger and the actor who plays Princess Margaret, Helena Bonham Carter.

The Crown: The Official Podcast is produced by Netflix and Somethin’ Else, in association with Left Bank Pictures.

Episode Transcription


Clip – Elizabeth and Margaret discuss her life


Love is a tender kiss for most people….

….as many jobs as much work, but your sister needs to stay afloat is a sense of meaning.




Series intro



Welcome to the crown, the official podcast. I'm Edith Bowman and this show will feature the fourth season of the Netflix original series The Crown episode by episode, taking you behind the scenes, speaking with many of the talented people involved and diving deep into the stories.



Episode intro


Today, we're talking about episode seven, titled the hereditary principle. It's 1985 and princess Margaret is at an all time low. She's lonely, her health is failing and she loses her status as councilor of state when Prince Edward turns 21. While seeking help from a therapist, Margaret discovers a terrible family secret. She has two cousins who have been hidden from the world for decades. In search of answers, she realizes it is not just the cousins who have been treated ruthlessly by the family, but all those who don't fit in. 


Now we will cover specific events and scenes that feature in this episode. So if you haven't watched episode seven yet, I suggest you do it now, or very soon . 



Edith v/o


Coming up later, we'll hear from a head of research on the crown Annie Sulzberger. 
2:26Teaser clip- Annie Salzberger 

He's a great example of all right, we read about him. He's half of a page of a book. And then we have to go out and try to actually make this man a real human being.



Edith v/o


We’ll also hear Helena Bonham Carter who plays princess Margaret. 

Teaser Clip – Helena Bonham Carter


‘I have much privacy as a goldfish in a bowl’ she obderved ‘I have no intention of telling people what I have for breakfast’ say funny, you know, she's a real gift to me as a person too. She's left her imprint on me. 



Edith v/o


First. I spoke with director Jessica Hobbs. I asked Jessica how she would describe this episode. 





Jessica Hobbs 

JH: I would describe it as a portrait of someone recognizing the fragility of their mental health, and then understanding that through the shock of their own family history. That's how I, that's how we approached it, really. Not so much that, I mean, there are secrets hidden in every family, but it was very much Margaret understanding that there might be more to who she is and that there was a darkness involved in that.



EB: As we've watched her through these four seasons now, really, she's just constantly had all these kinds of events and situations and circumstances kind of thrown at her or ripped away from her and all the times that she's gone and asked for something she's never been given it. And you really feel the weight of that I think.



JH: She was a big person in life and she was…Her given circumstances while seemingly um, at well being very enormously privileged were also extremely restrictive. There was a limit to what she could do, and that is very hard to live in to know that that's your life. But I was so impressed with her, both her level of acceptance, but her constant push against it made me really love her.


EB: Oh, just, yeah. And her honesty as well.


JH:  Her honesty, not just about everybody else, because she could be searing and vicious and funny, but her honesty towards herself. And I really admired that. And Helena has the same quality. She's really bright and really funny. She doesn't possess the cruelty because I think she's potentially more at peace with herself, but she understands that ah…vulnerability and exposure and has prepared and is very brave. And, and yeah, showing that on screen, I think

05:00Clip – Margaret at therapy

Well I'm shamed to say, I've been feeling a little low for a while now…






























































































EB: What were the conversations that you had with Helena about this particular episode and, and, you know, cause it's very much focused on her and what she discovers both in terms of where she is in her role within this family and what's been taken away from her again, and then this discovery about secrets that have gone on.


JH: Yeah. And the cost of the cost of your allegiance to the crown. If you stay committed within that, the sacrifices required. And I think for her and this one, the ultimate sacrifice of…Keeping that secret, you know, even though they discovered perhaps they discovered perhaps they knew, but we'll never really know, but nothing was ever done about that. I mean, um, Katherine Bowes Lyon died in 2014. 


EB: This episode explores both mental health and disability, and through the character of Princess Margaret really highlights how much was hidden away and not understood really. So when we discover the existence of Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, who we understand to have developmental disabilities, it’s clear that although their challenges in life are very different to Margaret’s, Margaret worries that like the Bowes-Lyon sisters, she too will be, I guess, alienated from the family. We’ve come a long way as a society, but there’s still a way to go when it comes to breaking down that barrier even now. And I’ve heard from quite a few people on set that it was very very important to you to represent Nerissa and Katherine and the other residents at the Royal Earlswood, by casting actors who have similar conditions?




JH: There were lots of good and very important meetings about that, but I was adamant about it. I've worked with. People with various levels of, you know, physical or mental challenges in other productions. And it's always been very important to me to maintain that truthfulness as much as possible. And so if I can find actors or even if they're non-actors, but they are wanting to perform and wanting to be part of it, then that was always my go to place. And then you configure the production needs around that and their needs around that. I just didn't want that to be represented by someone who had to apply that in a performative sense. I wanted it to come from the inside. And so we set ourselves this challenge. I just said, look, as long as we go all the way down the tunnel, if we don't find people, then we can have another discussion about maybe with the way we approach the roles. But I don't want to do this without uncovering every rock. And particularly Kate Bone, the casting director for that section, I have to pay tribute to she visited so many people. She went to homes, she went to personal homes. She went to institutions and hospitals and any anywhere where people showed an interest and there are lots of theater groups and places around and just continued to follow leads. It was great. And then the theater groups who got involved, because I said, I'm not just having this as a top layer. This has to be everyone in there. And when you're setting that up, it's also going through with the groups going, okay, bring everyone in the day before. So they can go into the set and familiarize themselves with it and understand it is a set, but there are people that we were working with who were institutionalized and had come out of that at different stages or were still living in homes. We just wanted to make sure that there weren't going to be triggers of distress or might be uncomfortable for them or frightening. So that was, you know, it was just a whole process of how we worked towards it. It was one of the two best days I've had onset in my life because at the end of it, you could just, the crew were in awe basically. These people were amazing and they loved it. And that was for me, the big thing.

And it was so… it was really cool. 


EB: I really hope that people almost use that when they see this, this wonderful section of this, this episode and take that as an example of how important it is to, to represent and the truth that can come from you know, these individuals.



JH: I didn't want to make a moralistic judgment. I didn't want to say ‘it’s a Dickensian institution, it was appalling’. It was all, you know, my mother worked in mental health before I was born, but she was a nurse and an institution. So I’d heard the most wonderful stories about the way people were and what they did and who they thought they were on different days and how you could communicate. And I just wanted to make sure that there was also love and the way that people were portrayed on set and that there were, there was connection between carers. There are extraordinary carers that have worked over the years. It was just finding that balance. The story for me was that that the family shut them away because they were ashamed and worried about being tainted. And I think that that's just historically, what we've continued to do as a community. But I also think we haven't provided help and support for those families who need extra help. So these situations have come about because of the way we've approached it as a community. Not. Just the Royal family. I mean, that's an easy, they're an easy target for us, but… 



EB: Yeah, but I think that that's something that the, the crown does as a series as a whole is that within the dramatization, the narrative really draws a spotlight on issues that are relevant now and then conversations that need to be had now. And even though it's part of the story of The Crown, it's very much part of the story of society.


JH: I think we always, you know, we're always talking about modernization, how much progress we've made and it’s like but how much progress have we made in our, in our humanity? 


EB: Yeah. 


JH: That's how we judge ourselves as society. And I think that's where I always find the modern take in The Crown, is our humanity has shifted less than we would hope. And it's good to constantly hold a mirror up to that. 


EB: I wanted to ask as well about, you know, her going into therapy and obviously what that then, within the narrative of the show, what that then unveils, but looking back historically with Margaret, if that was something that she actually did.


JH: We understand that she did some of it. Um, my take was that she probably wouldn't be the easiest patient to treat!


EB: Which Helena definitely shows brilliantly!


JH: So great about it. Just the whole defensiveness, keeping a coat on all those choices, she had a sunglasses on for half the scene.


As we all know that therapy is only as good as you're prepared to be, you know? 




JH: It's not an oh I’ll go in and someone will fix me. The horrible confronting thing about it as, Oh, I have to fix myself. Damn. 


EB: Yeah yeah yeah


JH: Um, but I think there's a gentleness with her being able to, you know, what she's trying to say to Margaret is: But you do understand this isn't the same as you. I was pointing you in a direction about your family history, not about a specific, lineage of, of difference. I love that, for me that's actually the thing that unravels her. Because it just makes her feel more exposed about her own mental health. Part of the journey is to, what do you think about your family? Because this is something I've heard about. So maybe this is something worth for you exploring to find out about, and she can see how triggering and shocking it's been for Margaret, that her family would go that far as to keep anyone difficult, that's viewed as difficult or different out of the public eye, because it might affect the crown, the status of the crown and the hereditary principle.



13:26Princess Margaret is angry about the sisters 

Darwin had nothing on you lot… Shame on all of you… Margaret!






















JH: I think that scene on the beach going I'm so sick of it all being about this. I'm so sick of having to be a good girl. I mean, Margaret's mistake is not to conflate what happened to her first cousins with what's going on for her. She understands that. But what it does is it shines a light on her own fear of her own internal madness. And that's what she finds so frightening about the discovery is that a generation ago, that would have been me. Because it wasn't people weren't particular then. It was a huge, it was a wide sweep and community as to who got swept away, you know? Schools weren't designed to, to help people who had different learning abilities, it was all like you either fitted into that middle group or you, there had to be somewhere else for you to go and preferably shut away. We can't deal with it. We can't deal with it. It's too hard. We can't deal with it in terms of, we're just trying to get society going, you know, and, and also it's nicer and neater if we do this, and that's more complicated. And how do we possibly manage. And luckily now through a huge amount of advocacy and just sheer drive and willpower of people, who've had family members or other people, and people themselves going actually, sorry, I don't, I'm not, I'm not going to be invisible anymore. And I'm perfectly functional. I'm just a bit different to you. 


EB: It also feels it's almost like her crescendo as well of her frustration of love, or lack of love, and also her work and her role and her position, you know, that all these. You know, some would say failings almost. 


JH: Yeah. Which we all have too. I think if you're able to be that cruel and pinpoint others' failures, it's because you are equally able to do that for yourself and she has to live with that discomfort. And I think even the kind of, I mean, I think it's funny, the scene with the Queen, where she sits, you know, he's a friend of Dorothy, didn’t you know? And Margaret, of course she knows, but she doesn't want to know because her loneliness is quite profound at that point. 


EB: She’s desperate for Dazzle to love her. 


JH: She’s desparate for…well I would be, Dazzle’s pretty great. I get it. 


EB: Yeah. It's just not willing, She's just not willing to kind of, you know, change her. That was one step too far of asking her to kind of change her religious, but…


JH: That's what I love as soon as she can deal with the fact he’s her gay best friend. She can pretend, but then yeah, the religious thing is too much.



Edith v/o


As you know, the crown is a drama, but it's based around true events. So I sat down with The Crown’s head of research, Annie Salzberger, to ask why and how the narrative in this episode came to feature the little known truth about the Queens’ cousins Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon.




AS: I think part of it was just the shock of finding out when we were digging into what happened to the Royals and in the 1980s and doing our press passes at the British library, we came across this article about Katherine Bowes-Lyon who was still living in the Royal Earlswood hospital. And it was outed that these Royal cousins have been kept in this institution for their entire adult lives. Nerissa was 22 when she was committed and Katherine's 15 and we thought: Wow, that must have been shocking. And who knew - our first question was who knew. And then from that we found out that there were three other of their cousins. So Katherine and Nerissa were two of five children by the queen mothers’ brother and his wife, Fenella. And then Fenella had nieces who has also been sent to Royal Earlswood. So we know that they’re, I mean, very close in age to Margaret and Elizabeth, which was another interesting thing. It made you think instantly there must've been some understanding of each other that they existed in the world. They, you know, they're raised at Glamis castle, which is where the queen mother, that was the sort of the queen mother state. And she was raised in part. And one of the daughters who didn't have a disorder was actually the bridesmaid along with Margaret at Elizabeth's wedding. So there, there must have been some understanding of each other, but essentially Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon were sent to a special school in Hemel Hempstead in the 30s, and we know that the queen mother visited there. And then in ‘41, their father has died. It's the middle of the war. Fenella their mother feels like she can't handle this on her own anymore. And she, she sends them to the Royal Earl's wood. Which was very common at the time. People felt: I don't know what to do here.I don't know how to help these people might know how to help. 


EB: Yeah. 


AS: And like most of these institutions, they were very out of the way and they would even tell Fenella or others not to come because you're just gonna disrupt things. 


We don't have Katherine's files, but we have Nerissa’s, and Nerissa is diagnosed ‘imbecile’. That's the official term. Now that doesn't kind of equate to anything today. So then we had to try to read through records to understand how they described any symptoms of this illness or physical aspects to it, or it was just mental. So, so her record state that she quote ‘makes unintelligible noises all the time is very affectionate and can say a few babyish words’. And then staff also described Katherine as ‘alert’. ‘She understands what she's being told, but she only communicates pointing noises and smiles. She is severely mentally handicapped, but has no physical disabilities’ that, um, their family relative describes them as ‘lovely children’, ‘like frightened does’ and that we know that they recognize each other, but they don't recognize other family members, which really interested the doctors. So it was noted down. So that's sort of all we had to work from. And the only other description of their conditions I suppose, or really even just their lives was any time there was anything Royal on television, they would stand and salute. And so it was clear that they recognize their connection to this family. So that's what we had to go on. We spoke to a historian of the system of, of sort of asylums and mental disabilities and, uh, and she helped guide us also on language to use and how the, she put us in touch with people who knew how these institutions were run in 1980. There had been a big shift in how they treat patients over these, like every few years, or kind of be an awakening. So we had to get it really right. But she helped us try it to understand what this looked like I suppose. And from what we understand, you know, they were relatively loved there and what's I think the most surprising is Nerissa dies in 1986. That sort of is one of the things that maybe spurs the article to be written in ‘87, this investigation into it. But Katherine only died six years ago. 


EB: I noticed that at the end of the episode.


AS: 2014, Yeah. So in the nineties they decided actually what these people deserve is to have sort of lives in the community. Let's no longer separate them out. So she'd actually moved into a sort of community home, but we couldn't really track it down. I tried reaching out to a couple of the nurses who were on their ward, but understandably, I think that they were just a little reticent to speak. So we, we did the best sort of, we could with the information that we had. And I think ultimately I'm very happy with the level of care we took in this, in this episode. 


EB: Yeah.


This is a terrible year on kind of all fronts for Margaret. Um, she is incredibly lonely. She lives a life now of walkers, like guys who sort of escort her to events, but there isn't really romance in her life anymore. Roddy has gone off, he's got a couple kids now he's married. She's actually godmother to his, I think one of his children and they actually have a friendship that continues on and on, but it's not romantic, you know? And there's a real loss there. So when her health fails her in the same way, did her father, there's a terrifying moment. And actually in that scene, we worked with the guy operating her on her is a surgeon. 


EB: Wow. 


AS: …That we consulted with…


EB: …with a body that was made with a removable lung? 


AS:Yes, exactly. 


EB: It's extraordinary, yeah.


AS: Yeah. Um, we, we didn't have her medical records. We had some descriptive accounts, so he helped us understand what they would've known in that moment and what technology would have been used for her to get the scans, to find out that it's, it's there and so on and so forth. So it's a year where the press really goes at her for looking Haggard and it's just an all around crappy crappy year for Margaret. 


And then we felt this was. These two stories though, though, we're compressing the timelines, I suppose the shunning of these two girls, which was what was done, unfortunately at that time is just a more shocking example of what has to be hidden to, to remain an active part of this family, or sort of accepted part of this family. And it felt like a very strong way to explore Margaret's feelings of being Ostracized unused, unwelcome…


EB: Demoted. 


AS: Yeah so she’s demoted as the councillor of state and counsillors of state are senior royals that the queen can deligate a sort of higher level work to. Which may be because she is out of the country on tour, which is absence, or she’s sick, which is incapacity. These councillors of state are the monarch, her spouse and the first four people in the line of succession. And that means that when Edward turns twenty one in this episode, he then knocks her off the list because he is higher in the line of succession than she is. This doesn’t mean her life as a working royal has stopped, she’s still patron of dousens of charities and organisations, she’s still doing all that kind of ribbon cutting that we know, but it does mean that she’s no longer in that elite tier. It’s worth noting that while this seems stringent, the number of these counsillors of state, when the Queen assended to the throne when King George died, the Queen Mother refused to give up her position. So Elizabeth made an exception for her. So all of a sudden the number shot up. And she could have technically done the same for Margaret. But it seems to have not have been on the table at the time. So, I mean, in our minds, who knows, she could have been miffed that the same consideration wasn’t given to her. But what we do know is 85 was a really terrible year for her, health wise, in terms of her status within the royal family and jut an overall sense of loneliness.


24:05Clip- Margaret and Dazzle flirting

I’m, I’m all ears, and eyes, and lips… 



AS: Dazzle who very much deserved his nickname… which I shall explain. He became the Reverend Derrick Jennings. He was - and we don't quite know how they met, but essentially he used to be a civil servant. He worked in what is now English heritage. So he became  best buddies with the aristocrats of the country cause he would help pay for their repairs to their very costly homes in order to preserve them for, kind of, cultural history. So, most of these aristocrats are quite cash poor. All of their money was in their property. And he would come in and, and get them a new roof, but they didn't have to pay for. And so he entered these social circles that way, that we imagined that sort of how, how they met. So we know that by the early eighties, she's spending a lot of time with him. He has a flat in Chelsea, they hangout, they drink. They talk about Catholicism. He's really keen on the Catholic church. She doesn't know yet that he's going to actually go into the Catholic church. She's always been flirting with Catholicism since the 1950s. There's something about the drama of Catholic ceremonial life that she, as you can imagine, finds fascinating. Whereas the mundanity of the Anglican church, I think, and the kind of stripped back nature of, of the church is something she just doesn't necessarily connect with in the same way. So, but she knows that she can't go over to the Catholic church because her, her sister’s the head of the Anglican church, there's, there's nothing she can really do. Um, but she enjoys speaking to him about it. And he is closeted, but it's an open secret, I suppose, but she falls in love with him. Like genuinely falls for him. And he had earned his nickname. I mean, just because people found him dazzling it's it's no joke. I mean, they say called him ‘a sparkler’. One quote was ‘he was very volatile’. ‘He would tremble with nervous energy and be very naughty’. 


EB: Love him.


AS: Oh, ‘he could be charming and rude’ and one called ‘a spiky old queen’. So, um, So he was a rather than dazzling and he did ride his bike everywhere. He didn't know how to drive, which is what we show. So he forms his friendship and then he goes off to Rome to officially become part of the Catholic church. He returns in ‘87 and starts work in London. And we know that they have a falling out. We don't know why they have a falling out, but it's a very serious one. And he dies in the nineties, and I don't think she ever reconciled with him. He's a great example of all right, we read about him. He's half of a page of a book and then we have to go out and try to actually make this man a real human being. And so we spoke to someone who knew him well, and he provided us with some personal photographs. We actually knew what Dazzle looked like


EB: Oh wow.


AS: And he just gave us great commentary about his sort of cheekiness. I mean, he was like, really shocking temper at times. And she would have loved, loved. There's a phrase, in our show where she says he doesn't have a good or a kind word for a kind word for anybody. That's exactly the kind of thing she'd want. 


27:51Clip- Margaret and Dazzle

… I am in the very centre. I am the queen’s sister. Daughter to a King Emporer. And I will always be in the centre.






Helena Bonham Carter 
29: 02Edith v/o

And now it's time to hear from our very own princess Margaret. I went over to Helen the bottom Carter's house for a cup of tea shortly after she finished filming season four in early 2020.


























HB: Sorry about the dog.


EB: And we should just mentioned that your gorgeous dog who adores you so much he can't be farther than a meter from you. 


HB: He has to have a snack. 


EB: He's having a snack. He's not been to etiquette school. He's got really quite loud eating habits, but we love him.


HB: He’s got terrible habits. Every time I took him to the set he managed to do a poo. 


EB: Have you managed to get him on screen yet?


HB: Not screen, but he went into production office and did a poo there. He went in the transport office, did a poo there. And then he went to makeup as last time where we thought he's actually old enough, Oh, he's trained now. Makeup. Instant poo… he’s like this is my world.


EB: He’s too excited!


HB: So Episode seven is really Margaret's and I have – we - We have a dalliance with somebody called Dazzle 


EB: I love Dazzle.


HB: I love Dazzle. And he's played by Tom Burke and heading towards an affair. And then he announces he has to become or, he's going to become a Catholic priest. They are a sort of odd couple too, and she makes a play for him. And he rejects her. Lots happens in episode seven, episode seven as with most of Margaret's, is about her losing more things. It's always a series of losses, with Margaret.


EB: I mean, I think that as well, the relationships that Margaret has with all these other characters and these stories that weave through, you know we left season three, with that just hugely emotional scene with Margaret and Elizabeth after, you know, Margaret’s suicide attempt. That's the thing where you kind of stripped back to the story, being about sisters and it been an incredibly intimate and emotional experience about the idea of losing one, another one of you losing the other. 


HB: When I first read that the season, this season, I said, it's great how you've got the queen coming to Margaret as a sister and asking for her help, because it also carries a whole new, different relationship, which has sort of set up in that end scene. She says, well, I am here and you can ask for my help. And you've just said that I'm the most important person. So suddenly the rivalries vanished, not vanished, but it's like less less controlling of their relationship. And it's more of about that. They're real. Real supports to each other. They often have the same conversation, those two sisters. 


EB: I’m coming to you…


HB: Can you give me some more work? Give me a role, give me something to do because I've nothing to anchor me. She has to have some kind of purpose. Give me work. You know, particularly now she's had to get, at this point, she's had to give up her fags, give up her alcohol, give up men and her gay priest, everything. And she just says, Oh, but I know. I'm available now to do work, you know, give me, and immediately after that is actually, we're going to take, take it away.





Clip- Margaret and Elizabeth argue, Margaret wants work

I don't want more time… princess of Wales… No, I will have to live with it. Not you. I will. 



EB: See I can't understand why the queen didn't give her stuff to do. Cause she was brilliant at it. 


HB: I don't know what happened in the real version, but in our version where we're talking about a time when rules were rules and that's what defines the monarchy, and that's… Margaret herself, you know, was somebody who was a protocol, you know, obsessive. Like, ‘no, this is the way it’s done’. And it's almost like that without those rules, the hierarchy will just crumble. The monarchy will crumble. So if you take away those rules or you start making allowances and they start becoming wobbly and then suddenly everything you're just left with nothing, the castle falls.


EB: I've got to keep reminding myself that Peter's version is different, is a dramatized version.


HB: It is dramatized. I do feel very strongly because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, hang on guys, this is not, this isn't, we're not telling it. It's not drama doc, we're making a drama. So they are two different, different entities. 


EB: From reading, I was you know, really lucky to be privy to the research document for the season, which is... It's amazing to read through that stuff, you know, kind of do that first flick through and look at the pictures. And then go back…


HB: That's amazing. It's a proper document. That is amazing. And then, and then Peter switches things up and juggles. The story about Katherine and Nerrissa, absolutely true. Whether Margaret had that sense of empathy with them and whether she didn't know absolutely no idea, but Katherine and Nerissa and three others were locked up and declared dead when they were very much alive. Having said that there was a genetic, it wasn't depression or anxiety, there's a difference between depression and emotional ill health and physical.


EB:  Yeah. But I found that, you know, in terms of just fascinating from the journey that the story takes and I mean, do you find that side of it useful having you know, Annie's team and the research that they do, and the depth that they go to for things.


HB: Yeah, oh now, absolutely. And Jess is also, cause Jess is my director on that, and she's fantastically thorough. And so part of the rehearsal is working out the background and working out actually…the whole of the family tree and the different members and certain things that people behaved oddly and then no one really ever talked about them, these days would easily have a label slapped on them. But then people didn't really know. So then, and you know, in the olden times, people, everybody was put in a mental asylum, whether you had a breakdown or whether you were…had brain damage…


EB: Look at Prince Phillips’, mum, Princess Alice, she went through and then that generation prior to it. 


HB: Yeah. And then further trauma. Anybody who was just not normal.


EB: And how they almost tried to hide all as well, you know, or kind of not address it or kind of just, almost just close one eye to it, you know, it's over there. I can't see it, I don’t have to deal with it. 


HB:Well there was an inability to cope with it because people didn't know enough and they didn't know it was almost contagious. And it's quite interesting when the queen mother, when Marion who’s brilliant, and gives her sides of the story, Margaret goes to her and says how could you do this? And she said, you don't understand the context. It's not just the lack of humanity or compassion. There's so many extenuating circumstances. And you can also understand that as a widow, the mother Fenella was highly…She was probably exhausted. It was the world war.


EB: She’d lost her husband. 


HB: She'd lost her husband. And she was with two children who she had no control of. 




36:36Clip Margaret and queen mother

The hereditary principal already hangs by such a precarious thread… If you add the Bowes Lyon illness to that the danger is it becomes untenable.




EB: Are you going to miss Margaret.


HB: Yes. I am.


EB: And we talk books off air when we’re not recording, but the room is full of books… 


HB: It’s getting worse! 


EB: But the book that's on the top of your pile. 


HB: It’s still the princess… 


EB: It’s still Magaret. 


HB: It's been a great marriage, me and her. It's been two years …


EB: The wicked wit of princess, Margaret, which you absolutely just exude.


HB: ‘I have as much privacy as a goldfish in a bowl, She observed, and have no intention of telling people what I have for breakfast.’ That’s so funny, you know, she's a real gift to me as a person too she's left her imprint on me. And that's often what happens with people that you play


EB: In what way?


HB: You carry bits around, beyond the actual performance in life. She's given me some boundaries too, which I'm not very good on meaning that I'm very available to anybody and everybody. And sometimes people should really fuck off. And then, um, yeah, she's definitely with me. I have felt very, very much that she's having great fun and her ability to have fun and sense of humor and keep things in proportion. It's meant that I can feel her enjoying it. I don't think she honestly, I think she's just like, yeah, this is funny and fun. 


EB: Oh, Thank you for letting us come around again and chat.


HB: Anytime. You can do it next season, even though I'm not in it. 


EB: Can we just pretend? 


HB: Yeah, no, I still think she's going to hang around Margaret and me. I've not finished. We'll do something. 


EB: Will you?


HB: Yeah I don’t know what else…


EB: What a one woman show?


HB: Well, yeah, I didn't think one woman...but somebody did actually say that they had written the real Margaret a show because what really Margaret would have loved to have done was play the piano. Tell stories. Play the piano, definitely at Ronnie Scotts and have a fag. That's what Prince Charles said the real Margaret loves. Like, my aunt was the best and the happiest at the Ivories, with Fag, Whiskey. And just playing. 


EB: The cabaret tour. 


HB: Yes, it'd be hilarious. But she'll pop up in my daily life because I know she's just so embedded in me. She won't go away that easily.


40:18Edith v/o

I'm Edith Bowman and my special thanks to our guests on this episode, Jessica Hobbs, Annie Sulzburger and Helena Bonham Carter. 


The crown, the official podcast is produced by Netflix and something else in association with left bank pictures. 


Join us next time. When we go behind the scenes episode, eight of season four called ‘The African Queen’. Queen Elizabeth struggles to remain impartial as she finds herself at also Thatcher who refuses to back sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime. And support the will of the Commonwealth. When the conflict is leaked to the press by a source of the palace, has the queen gained the upper hand or caused a constitutional crisis? 



Throw to ep 408 queen and thatcher 


It is my fervent hope… But it is a Sovereign's duty when they are part of the Commonwealth. Yes. The commonwealth. 
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