The fourth episode of ‘The Crown’ poses the question that no parent wants to answer. “Who is your favorite child?” is asked of the Queen and the search for the answer leads to some startling revelations about her children. The episode creates a parallel between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher’s lives, where we get to see both of them tackling their children in entirely different ways. Here’s what it leads to. If you haven’t caught up with the show yet, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD
The Crown Season 4 Episode 4 Recap
In 1982, as the situation seems to be getting worse for the country, the Queen summons Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to find out what her government is doing about it. In the middle of the meeting, Thatcher breaks down, and it is revealed that she is going through a personal crisis. Five days ago, her son, Mark, had been in a car rally in Paris and went missing while passing through Algeria. What intrigues the Queen is the fact that Thatcher unapologetically states that Mark is her favorite of her children, who are twins.
Thatcher’s confession makes the Queen wonder how someone could possibly be so forward about loving their one child over another. Phillip tells her that his favorite is Anne, and though the Queen might not accept it, everyone knows who her favorite is. When Phillip refuses to tell her who it is, the Queen decides to have a meeting with her children and come to a conclusion on her own. Meanwhile, trouble ensues in the Falklands, where Argentina trespasses over the British territory. With Thatcher focused on searching for her son, the situation gets worse in the background until war comes knocking on the door.
The Crown Season 4 Episode 4 Ending
After a massive search operation, Mark Thatcher is finally found in Algeria and returns home, sending a wave of relief over his mother. Troubled as his family had been at his missing status, Mark doesn’t think that he had been missing at all. He continues to press that he knew where he was going all along, and his mother doesn’t seem to be in any mood to tell him wrong. His father and sister, on the other hand, can’t have any more of his intolerable behavior. Eventually, Carol confronts her mother about her favoritism and how she has always felt sidelined by her because of Mark getting special treatment all the time.
Margaret justifies it by telling her that Mark is stronger than her and compares Carol to her own mother, whose surrender to the confines of the house is what irked Margaret. The end of the conversation leaves Carol helpless and hopeless about their relationship, knowing that Margaret will never bother to change her mind about it. The Queen’s quest to find her favorite comes to an end with a rather bleak conclusion to things. While she doesn’t pick any favorites (though Phillip tells her that it is clearly Andrew), she wonders if all of her children are doomed to be lost in their respective lives.
Anne’s marriage is disintegrating as she struggles with the claustrophobia of her country-life. Things get worse for her when her mother tells her that Sergeant Cross, with whom Anne had been having an affair, has been forced to take a desk job elsewhere. The only thing that makes her happy is gone, and Anne can’t cope with the distress of her situation. Meanwhile, Charles and Diana continue to grow further apart. Diana is pregnant with their first child, and life in Highgrove has become too morose for her.
In the previous episode, when Camilla had asked her if she is a country girl, Diana confessed that she likes the city. Missing the life she left behind for the royal life, Diana also feels painfully stuck in a loveless marriage. It also turns out that Charles did not keep the promise he had made to her before their wedding. He assured his wife-to-be that he had broken off all connection with Camilla, but now he is living in a place that is only a fifteen-minute drive from Camilla’s place.
Charles confesses that they go hunting sometimes and talk on the phone, “as regularly as necessary,” while the mother of his child spends her days locked up in her room, consuming endless hours of television. The Queen advises him to pay attention to Diana rather than tending to his relationship with Camilla. With two of her children caught in marriages that seem to be on the verge of a breakdown, the Queen discovers that the others are not faring excellently either. Prince Edward, who is still in school, has a rather disheartening approach towards his position.
Edward also reveals that his status as the Queen’s son leads to bullying, but he also tries to use this position to his advantage as much as he can. A conversation with Prince Andrew reveals a scandalous affair with an American actress, whose oeuvre the Queen disapproves of. Andrew asks about his title, and the Queen offers York, which makes him excited about the fact that his previous successors had found their way to the throne.
The mention of murder and abdication in previous cases is joked about, but it disconcerts the Queen. While her family seems to be falling apart, her country doesn’t seem to be in great condition either. The situation at the Falklands escalates to the point of war, and Margaret Thatcher isn’t in any mood to wait for diplomatic solutions. At the end of the episode, naval ships depart to defend their territory against the Argentine forces.