We’re into Season 3 of The Crown. Over three seasons we’ve gone from 1947 when a dewy-eyed Princess Elizabeth marries the dashing (and dangerous) Philip Mountbatten to 1977 and Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 25 years on the throne. Over 30 years, Elizabeth has gone from channeling her mother’s (The Queen Mother) rather frumpy style, through to a fresher image in the 1960s, finally ending up with a middle-aged Elizabeth going frumpy on us again. Claire Foy was Elizabeth in the first two seasons and Olivia Colman took over the role in the third season.
Beginning with Elizabeth’s stunning 1947 wedding dress, thorough a more up to date look in the 1960s and ending up with a 40-something Elizabeth, here are 5 looks that are spot on and 5 that, well, the world could do without.
10 Best: That Wedding Dress
When George VI walked his daughter down the aisles of Westminster Abbey, he was probably not a happy man. Why? Well, he had his doubts about Philip Mountbatten. But Elizabeth was determined and marry she did. The dress worn by Claire Foy in the wedding scenes is an exact replica of Elizabeth’s dress. It’s a stunner, made from ivory silk, decorated with crystals and 10,000 Seed Pearls. It reportedly cost $47,000 to make.
And that’s before you add in the cost of eight bridesmaids’ dresses.
9 Worst: The Tudor Outfit With The Helmet Hat
It’s the late 1960’s and time to formally recognize Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales. So, the family travels to Caernarfon Castle in Wales for the ceremony. When they shot the investiture in The Crown, Olivia Colman was wearing an outfit that was almost identical to the one Elizabeth II wore. It’s a mess. Why? Well for some reason Elizabeth went with a Tudor look yellow dress and a hat that looks more like a bizarre helmet than a hat.
We think it’s just almost comically bad. Plus always a little flakey Charles gives a speech in Welsh that supports Welsh nationalism. Was the Queen amused? Not one bit.
8 Best: Kenya Trip Blue Dress
In 1952 Princess Elizabeth and Philip flew off to Kenya for a bit of R&R. It was to be their last taste of real freedom. The Kenya trip outfits in The Crown are a reflection of the early 1950s style. The best of the bunch is a blue polka dot number with a full skirt and a mantle, worn with a wide belt. If you think Claire Foy as Elizabeth doesn’t look particularly happy it’s because her father George VI had died.
And she was to become Queen. This was not thrilling news for either Elizabeth or Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Out with the safari outfits and casual wear and in with simple black dresses. Both Elizabeth and Philip radiate gloom and doom.
7 Worst: Channeling An Old Lady
It’s the 1950s. On the left, we have Elizabeth II’s mother. In the middle, we have Elizabeth II. Prince Charles and Princess Anne are having a great time. Then there’s Princess Margaret. It’s just obvious that Elizabeth is channeling her mother’s frumpy, dated style, while Margaret looks like something out of a 50s edition of Vogue.
We get a bit of a break from frumpy when Elizabeth hits the 1960s. But she never shakes it off entirely. Pity.
6 Best: Happy Dress, Sad Queen
As the 1950s marched on, Elizabeth had to deal with a war in Egypt, a younger sister (Princess Margaret) who kept falling for “unsuitable men”, and increasing tension within her own marriage. The fresh sleeveless scoop neck floral dress worn by Claire Foy gives out one message, a happy vibe. The looks on her and Philip’s faces give out another.
Claire Foy as Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Philip were, even before Charles was born in 1948, having “we need to make this marriage work” conversations. By the 1950s? The look on their faces says it all.
5 Worst: The Kennedy Visit Blue Dress
It’s 1961 and President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie are visiting. On the left, we have a sleek 1960s bang-up-to-the-minute style. On the right? We have an old fashion, fussy blue dress that could have been run-up in the 1950s. Next to Jackie, Elizabeth looks, well, dull and stuffy and out of date
And there’s a bit of tension when rumors of Jackie having criticized the Queen emerged. Claire Foy fumes and glooms a bit and then gets on with it.
4 Best: Aberfan Orange Coat
When the Welsh mining village of Aberfan suffered a coal mining disaster in 1966, the Queen and Philip visited. In the Aberfan episode, a somber Olivia Colman wears a modern orange coat, complete with fur trim and a fur hat. The original worn by Elizabeth almost certainly had real fur. But we suspect Olivia’s trim and hat is faux fur.
With her marriage rocky and politics a minefield, Olivia Colman’s portrayal of Elizabeth is stern, dour even. It gets worse. The woman who becomes Princess Diana pops up in Season 4 and all hell starts breaking loose.
3 Worst: The Priggish Blue Number
Well, troublesome younger (and prettier) Margaret has married one of her unsuitable men, namely photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones. It’s 1965 and they are flying out to America for a tour and Elizabeth rolls up to the airport. The blue dress and hat are stodgy, priggish and offputting. And to make matters worse, she is criticizing them big time.
Just the look on her face tells you where she’s coming from. She is not a happy woman.
2 Best: The Swinging 60s
We enter Season 3, with Olivia Colman as a getting onto middle-aged Queen Elizabeth. Outside the Palace gates, it’s the era of Women’s Lib and free love. And, not surprisingly, the Royals are being criticized as out of touch, maybe even obsolete. Cue the 1960s design style for the Queen. This pink number totally gets the 60s thing, while retaining a regal air.
Matt Smith has exited and we have a more menacing Tobias Menzies as the Duke of Edinburgh. The question on everyone’s lips is did he cheat on the Queen? Well, maybe. Maybe not. He did go to wild parties at a club. And then there was that picture of the “Naked Waiter”. Was that Philip?
1 Worst: The Most Boring Dress In The World
Here we have Elizabeth and Philip stalking the corridors of Buck House. He looks okay, slim and trim in a gray suit. But what is that shapeless, beige number Olivia Colman is wearing? It’s lumpy, nondescript and just plain boring. Ditto for the handbag. It’s got no style. Like the priggish blue number, it could have been made in the 1950s.
Elizabeth’s fist is clenched. Philip has a vacant look on his face. This is apparently not a great day for the two of them. One of many, we suspect.
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