Discussing feminism in The Crown. [No spoilers]

I really hadn’t intended to post something like this until last night when my husband and I were watching Netflix’s original series The Crown. I really enjoy series like this one, and I’m only three episodes in, but I think the characters are well done, and I’ve heard the budget for the show is astronomical.

I was a bit surprised when my husband wanted to watch it with me. He likes period pieces, but tends to lean more towards darker dramas. Although not a period piece, Breaking Bad was one of his favorite shows, and that’s about as dark as they come.

So, we’re sitting down to watch the third episode, and for those who haven’t watched it, the main issues of this episode are where Queen Elizabeth and her family are going to live (they currently reside outside of Buckingham Palace), what surname will be used (Mountbatten or Windsor), and when Queen Elizabeth’s coronation will take place.

For the sake of the post I’m only looking at the first two issues that I mentioned, although the third does bring up others issues in the show although they focus more on the political aspect rather than the familial.

Long story short, Churchill and Elizabeth’s cabinet want her to keep the name Windsor, and to move into Buckingham Palace. She is initially reluctant because she mentions numerous times not liking the palace, and she doesn’t want to be rude to her husband by demanding that their children keep the name of Windsor.

Anyone who had watched the news knows that Queen Elizabeth does in fact reside in Buckingham Palace, and her male heirs do use the name Windsor, so the suspense of what the ultimate outcome will be is rather short changed, but that is not where the tension of the episode arises.

It is in Prince Philip, her husband’s reaction that we see the conflict. Upon hearing from Elizabeth that they will be moving, and that Windsor will be the family name, Philip is understandably upset.

He says something along the lines that this marriage isn’t what he thought. He blames Elizabeth for moving the family away from their home, for ruining his career, and taking away his name.

At this point I mentioned to my husband that I thought Philip was being a jerk. Elizabeth was always meant to take the throne, he knew that, and he only assumed that the Windsor name would be discontinued. I understand  that neither had expected her to take on the role of Queen until much later in their lives, but he’s acting as if all of this is a shock.

Anyhow, my husband said that it wasn’t fair that all these things be taken away from him, and it dawned on me that he was just seeing it from his perspective. When we got married, I gave up my name, my job, and my home to move across the country to be with him. Yes, I knew what I was signing up for, and there are times when I feel as if didn’t quite understand what that meant for me.

In regard to the show, I was Philip and he was Elizabeth. I understand why Philip was upset because there are numerous other factors at work regarding their family, but at the core the issue was still the same.

My husband thought that Philip giving up his career, his last name, and his home was too great a sacrifice in the marriage, and he felt as though his rude treatment of Elizabeth was warranted. I don’t think he realized fully that I had done the same thing for him until I called him out on it.

To be clear, I wasn’t mad at my husband’s initial response because he has no other experience except his own, but I wanted him to see things from a different one. To understand that what Philip is so mad about is what women were often expected to do without question.

I think we were both a bit surprised by my comment, but we ended up discussing it a little bit more before moving on. He even mentioned that he wished there were a way to make marriage more “even”. We are in a healthy relationship, and we share the responsibilities of it 50/50. I didn’t have to give up the things I did to marry him, but it was my choice, and it is one that I am happy with.

I can certainly say that I gained even more respect for my husband for willing to look at a view other than his own and see where his own perspective was lacking. I’m looking forward to when he can do the same for me because that is how we grow as a couple.

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