From the first episode of its first season, ‘The Crown’ has focused on the sacrifices that one has to make to uphold the honor and the name of the royal family. Going against the set path, intentionally or unintentionally, can lead to dire circumstances for the members of the royal family, and one way or another, some painful decisions have to be endured. Princess Margaret has remained one of the most tragic characters in this story.
She has found failure in both love and marriage; she has not received her due when it comes to becoming the force that she wants to be for the royal family, among other things. All of this makes her compassionate with anyone who has to suffer the brunt of the royal expectations, be it Charles or Diana. In this episode, she comes across another bunch of royalty who have had to pay a dear price for the well-being of the monarchy. If you haven’t caught up with the show yet, head over to Netflix. SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Crown Season 4 Episode 7 Recap
The seventh episode of ‘The Crown’ focuses on Margaret, who hadn’t received any attention in this season, by far. Her marriage to Lord Snowdon has effectively crumbled by now, and her life has been marked with numerous affairs, the most scandalous of which, with Roddy Llewellyn, was featured in the third season. This time around, she is with a man named Derek Jennings, aka Dazzle. The princess finds a match in him, who likes to party and gossip around just as much. But all good things must come to an end, and so does Margaret’s affair with Dazzle.
It turns out that Dazzle has found his faith and would be leaving her to become a priest for the Catholic Church. Her heartbreak is followed by another problem when it turns out that her excessive smoking has harmed her lungs. She has to go through surgery, in the aftermath of which, she decides to focus on the real things in her life. Margaret asks the Queen to give her more work and more responsibility, but once again, she receives an answer that’s not to her liking. Shortly after her request, it is revealed that Prince Edward has come of age, which means he has qualified to become one of the six Counsellors of the State.
With him getting the position, someone has to be let out of the group, which happens to be Princess Margaret. This revelation comes as a sharp hit for the princess, who falls back into the same cycle of partying, drinking, and smoking in the face of aimlessness. Her condition worries Anne Tennant, who asks Prince Charles to counsel the princess into seeing a therapist. After a little resistance, Margaret decides to give it a go, but then another revelation changes everything she thought she knew about her family.
Who Were Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon?
Born in 1926 and 1919, respectively, Katherine and Nerissa were the Queen’s first cousins from her mother’s side. They were the daughters of John Bowes-Lyon and Fenella Trefusis. Katherine and Nerissa suffered from a genetic disorder that, as it was revealed, came from their mother’s side of the family. Their condition made it a tricky situation for the royal family, who couldn’t afford to have this information out and about in the world. Before 1936, the mental health of the two sisters didn’t matter to anyone, but then King Edward VIII abdicated the throne, and his brother, George VI, became king.
Now serving as the Queen, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon couldn’t give any reason to the haters to point the finger at the royal family. Katherine and Nerissa’s close connection to her made it easy for anyone to point fingers at the royal bloodline and question their genetic purity. Considering the problems they could create, Katherine, 15, and Nerissa, 22, were sent to an asylum in 1941. They were committed secretly and were officially listed as dead in the years 1940 and 1961. The truth came to light in 1987, sometime after Nerissa’s death.
It turned into a full-blown scandal when it was revealed that Nerissa had been buried near the hospital in a grave without a headstone, marked only by a plastic name tag and a serial number. Eventually, an anonymous source provided a gravestone, and the royal family survived the storm. Still, Katherine, who lived for around three more decades, never saw a change in her situation. She never received any visitors.
With three more cousins, the sisters spent most of their lives in the Royal Earlswood Asylum for Mental Defectives at Redhill in Surrey. Three out of five sisters died here. Rosemary, aged 58, died in 1972; Nerissa, aged 67, died in 1986; and Etheldreda, aged 74, died in 1996. The asylum was closed down in 1997 and was redeveloped as a residential site. Following this, Katherine and Idonea were moved to a care home in Surrey. Idonea, aged 90, died in 2002; and Katherine, aged 87, died in 2014.
The Crown Season 4 Episode 7 Ending
Knowing now that five of her cousins had been put away in an asylum and were leading a miserable life all this while, makes Margaret repulsive about her family. She confronts her mother about this, who tells her that the revelation of a hereditary problem in the royal gene pool would have led to many problems for the monarchy. This also worries Margaret about herself. She wonders if the same genetic issues will eventually surface in her, and she will have to go down the same path.
To her relief, her therapist assures her that the illness has nothing to do with her genetics. However, this also proves that her cousins didn’t need to live a life of such obscurity; they could have been accepted and taken care of properly. Sadly, there is nothing that Margaret can do about it now, and there is certainly nothing that her mother can do about it either. Katherine and Nerissa are just another couple of people who are paying the price to keep up the good name of the royal family.