The Crown’s fourth season is finally streaming on Netflix, and fans are already sinking their teeth into the latest depiction of the Royal Family as it heads into the 1980s. And while viewers are shown just how horrible the Royal Family was to Princess Diana, it also gives a very complicated view of Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with a most controversial figure.
The biggest casting announcement for The Crown’s fourth season was easily Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, the U.K.’s first female prime minister. Even if you didn’t know the frosty history between Elizabeth and Thatcher, the possibility of watching Olivia Colman and Anderson go toe-to-toe in a scene was thrilling.
Thatcher’s reign as prime minister and her more austere policies were controversial. She was particularly reviled in Northern Ireland and Scotland during her time as prime minister, and when Thatcher died in 2013, people took to the streets to dance and celebrate. (If you want to see how much people hate Thatcher to this day, look no further than the viral clip of a Scottish woman who said she wished she could “put a stake through her heart and garlic around her neck to make sure she never came back” in an interview that took place at the same time as Thatcher’s funeral.)
The biggest fear among Thatcher’s biggest critics was that Anderson’s portrayal of Thatcher would humanize a woman whose policies were incredibly inhumane for so many of the people they affected. Another? That some fans would start stanning Thatcher simply because Anderson (who already has a sizable fanbase) played her. It’s a similar question that Mrs. America faced as it centered around the anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly.
A video highlighting some of Thatcher’s anti-LGBTQ+ thoughts sought to turn people away from potentially becoming Thatcher fans simply from Anderson’s portrayal of her.
While you’re all stanning ‘sexy Maggie’ here’s a reminder how how toxic she was. pic.twitter.com/4YTiwkgapb
— Scott Cuthbertson (@ScotCuthbertson) November 15, 2020
I don't know what The Crown is but it seems to be making people horny for Margaret Thatcher so I'm assuming it's bad
— roqayah (@roqchams) November 15, 2020
— Flaminia (@mariaflaminia98) November 16, 2020
Does The Crown garner some sympathy for Thatcher? Sure, and there is even a bit of Schadenfreude as Thatcher tries to verbally take the Royal Family (who aren’t exactly great people, either) down a notch.
The wild skill of a show that can actually make me feel sympathy for Margaret Thatcher for not succeeding at a parlour game with the Royal Family. Damn you, #TheCrown!
— @realSarahPolley (@realsarahpolley) November 16, 2020
— вероника (@theverokost) November 15, 2020
For the most part, they’re enjoying how much The Crown and Anderson both seem to enjoy antagonizing or humiliating Thatcher.
— Laura (@tennishive) November 16, 2020
At first I thought Gillian Anderson was terrible in The Crown because her performance is grating but it turns out Margaret Thatcher was really that goddamn annoying
— alexis nedd (@alexisthenedd) November 16, 2020
Watching Gillian Anderson play Margaret Thatcher I thought, "Wow, Gillian Anderson hates Margaret Thatcher as much as the rest of us."
— Christopher Moore (@TheAuthorGuy) November 16, 2020
But many fans are simply in awe of Anderson, who absolutely disappears into the role and almost makes you forget that someone as beloved as Anderson is playing someone as hated as Thatcher.
— Elliot Gonzalez (@elliot_gonzalez) November 15, 2020
— shay (@scllygibson) November 15, 2020
The entirely of The Crown’s fourth season is streaming on Netflix.
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