Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

The Crown: Windsor

“You’ve taken my career from me. You’ve taken my home. You’ve taken my name. I thought we were in this together.”


My apologies for spoilers, but this is a depiction of events in the past century, showing some period in 1952. In this episode we cover the return of the king who abdicated, the Duke of Windsor, for his brother’s funeral. We see the frustration of Philip, who wants to keep his last name and who doesn’t want to live at Buckingham Palace. We hear plenty of complaints about the Duke of Windsor’s wife, the American divorcĂ©e, but we also see that Princess Margaret also has an illicit involvement. Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill have their first official meetings.


This episode, which cannot be spanning too much time chronologically, was too internal for my taste. I would have preferred to learn more about what was going on in the world instead of watching Princess Margaret hide behind a curtain so as not to be discovered with her dear Peter Townsend. Even if Philip really didn’t want to live at Buckingham Palace, I have trouble feeling any sympathy. Boo hoo! You have to live in a different palace now! I mean, it’s not as if he didn’t know his wife was direct in line for the throne and that the monarch always lives at Buckingham Palace!

I also didn’t like the bickering and sniping about the Duke of Windsor. His family seemed annoyed about his coming to his brother’s funeral, but they probably would have complained just as much if he stayed away. I understand that the widow of King George VI blamed the Duke of Windsor for her husband’s early death, but I believe it was caused mostly by cigarettes.

There were a few hints about the situation of the outside world, with a mention of rationing and the fact that Churchill is postponing the coronation in order to remain PM as long as possible. But not much. I did like the scenes between Elizabeth and Churchill – especially when he talks about how wonderful past Queens of England have been, and how delighted he is that, at the end of his career, he can watch a new queen starting her reign.

Bits and pieces

The title works in two obvious ways: the episode is about the Duke of Windsor and about Elizabeth’s decision to keep that last name.

Alex Jennings, who plays the Duke of Windsor, played Prince Charles in the 2006 movie, The Queen. I guess a British actor who resembles the royal family – the long face – has an easier time finding work.


Queen Mary: No one wants to hear from a private individual.

Duke of Windsor: What a sunless, frozen hell we both escaped in England. What a bunch of ice-veined monsters my family are. How cold and thin-lipped – how dumpy and plain – how joyless and loveless.

Overall rating

I expect the shenanigans of Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend were real, and I expect that Prince Philip really didn’t want to live in Buckingham Palace. I don’t have much sympathy for either, but I can’t knock The Crown down too much for showing what really happened. I did like how Elizabeth and her uncle the Duke of Windsor seemed to get along; even if he gave up the throne, he’s probably the only person she knows now who can truly understand the burden. Two and a half dukes out of four.

Victoria Grossack loves birds, math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. Victoria, you have a point about Philip grousing and complaining about being forced to move from one luxurious palace to another. :) I sort of feel a bit for him, though. In the fifties, it had to be a lot harder for a man who was a prince in his own right to essentially take his wife's name and walk a few steps behind her while she made all of the big decisions. Except here, she really didn't. It was Churchill and the cabinet.

    I thought they did an interesting job here comparing David, who escaped the job, and Elizabeth, who is now stuck in it. David seemed to be an all round unpleasant human being, giving everyone in his life denigrating nicknames and saying nasty things about them behind their backs, all the while pretending to bury the hatchet and share their grief as he begged for more support money and favors. I did like that lunch scene where Elizabeth pretty much put her uncle in his place, letting him know that he wasn't fooling her.

  2. The Duke of Windsor, bless his heart, never stood a chance. Probably a weak personality to begin with, he was bullied mercilessly by both his parents. He spent his adult life looking for approval and love in all the wrong places and Wallis Simpson was certainly the wrong person for him to meet. She was able to manipulate him from the moment they met -- and she did so.

    While Elizabeth the Queen Mother may seem harsh, she hated David with the passion of a thousand suns. It began well before the whole abdication thing as David was often cruel to Bertie in public. It just got worse when Simpson came on the scene and the abdication was the final straw for her. There was no forgiveness in that breast.

    I loved the look on Churchill's face when Elizabeth calls him on why he is delaying her coronation. Between that and the scene with her uncle, it is clear we are dealing with a very clever woman.


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.