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The Crown: Alma Mater

Carole Middleton: “Then I realized that maybe it was the other way around. That he'd been lucky to have me. Never underestimate yourself.”

The Middleton meddler. Also, the published episode description: “Now at university, William sets his eyes on Kate Middleton. With meddling parents and other prospects in the mix, how will their connection bloom?”

I never really followed the Kate – William romance, at least not beyond the headlines that one cannot completely avoid when shopping, and so, except for a few things that I researched for this review, I don’t know how much of this episode is literally true, or even figuratively true, representing their initial relationship in spirit if not in fact. Those with details to add, please feel free to put them in the comments.

Nevertheless, this episode was less boring than the last featuring William. Some parts were awkward – I find watching the problems of young love embarrassing – but they were good.

If Carole Middleton is as clever and successful as is made out in the episode – and I did check out an article in Vanity Fair on the subject, which stated that she did arrange for Prince William and Kate Middleton to be thrown together. The article compares her to Dodi Fayed’s meddling father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, who was also portrayed as working to get Dodi and Diana together. The article says that Mou Mou failed, but I think that's too harsh, as Diana and Dodi died in that car crash before they could determine what they would do or not do together.

Still, the episode takes an interesting approach. Dating is often awkward, and it has to be extra tough when you are in the direct line for the throne. The episode shows a connection between William and Kate – the connection is noticed by Prince William’s buddies and by Lola, Prince William’s girlfriend – but Kate is reluctant to throw herself at him. William is interested, but each move of his is monitored. He falls for her but he doesn’t think he can do anything about it. Still, because they are in the same course, they have some interaction because Kate has cornered all the library books. Also, more importantly, because they are in the same course, they are given each other’s phone numbers. This is key because William is blue about St. Andrews near the end of the episode but Kate hears about it through her meddling mom and texts him, asking him not to leave uni.

I liked how Prince Harry complains (although he does seem to do a lot of drinking and smoking). I had noticed earlier that the Crown tends to trash one of each generation, making that person’s life exceptionally difficult, especially in marital choices – King Edward VIII was made to abdicate, then Princess Margaret, then Prince Charles, and now Prince Harry.

Title musings. “Alma Mater” usually refers to the school you went to, and we do see William at school – although he’s actually at it rather than thinking about it in the past. However, the phrase in Latin actually means nourishing mother. Prince William’s mother is dead, so it doesn’t seem to refer to Princess Diana, even though they bring back Debicki for a scene. However, Kate Middleton’s mother is alive and is throwing these two together. I think the title choice is interesting.

Bits and pieces

Did a little research and it appears that William and Kate did not meet earlier and that scene with Princess Diana is completely fictional.

Also. it seems as if William and Kate were “in the friendzone” until later.

I am a great fan of Pride and Prejudice, including that meddling mother, Mrs. Bennet. She may get a lot of flak, but she is quite successful at throwing her daughters at rich and successful men.


Prince William: No, I don't think you understand. I get that all the time. You have no idea what it's like to live with that day-in, day-out.
Kate: Don't we? What, being ogled? Looked at and judged constantly? Try being a girl.

Prince William: I – I just wanted to apologize for, um, how I was.
Kate Middleton: In the library?
Prince William: It was an awkward situation. Even more awkward than this.
(The situation is especially awkward because Kate is with her boyfriend.)

Prince Harry: 'Cause there's no need for a number two in this family. Except as entertainment. I can't be normal or a success, can I? And eclipse you in any way. That would make a mockery of the whole show. So it's Willy Gold Star, Harry Black Sheep. Willy Saint, Harry Sinner. Willy Solid, Harry Lost.

Overall rating

Enjoyed this more than the other recent episodes, even though young love is full of such awkward moments. I think I liked it more because it was not replete with such terrible pandering, and it even signaled that Prince Harry was going to have a tough time of it with Prince/King Charles and the royals. A sure symptom of pleasure is that I watched it again, and not just to make sure I was assigning quotes correctly. Three out of four library books.

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


  1. This is making me feel bad for Harry.

    We're nearing the end of six seasons and I keep wanting to do a countdown. Only three to go, Victoria! Backstretch!

  2. In an earlier age, Harry would probably have worked off some steam by heading off and invading France or Jerusalem or — if he's not just annoyed but ambitious — figuring out a clever way to knock off William in a hunting 'accident'. But here we are, and Harry has to make do with trying (unsuccessfully) to start up a podcast. How the mighty have fallen.

  3. There were lots of rumors around this time that it was Harry who actually wanted to be King while William would have been perfectly content to live a quieter life. True or not, Harry's speech to his brother was moving especially in light of what we know now.

    While I have been watching this show today, Kate has (finally!) come forward and revealed that she is battling cancer. As she is a young woman with a young family, this is heartbreaking news and made watching the beginning of her romance rather poignant.

    1. Yes, the cancer news is really sad, as it would be for anyone in the prime of her life. I am actually not that interested in the royal family anymore, but it has not been possible to avoid the conspiracies about her retreat from public life. Now we know, and her absence is completely logical. I sincerely wish her a full recovery.


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