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Top 10 Shocking 'The Crown' Moments (Season 1)

VO: Emily Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake There have been some shocking moments on The Crown since its release last year. Let’s take a look at some of the most shocking! We’ve included moments such as when Queen Mary bows, when Edward advises Elizabeth to protect the kingdom, when Elizabeth got on her knees at Philip’s request, when Elizabeth is finally crowned, when Margaret and Peter are pulled apart, and when Elizabeth requests that Philip kneel despite being her husband.
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Top 10 Shocking The Crown Moments


It’s good to be the queen… except when it’s not. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking The Crown Moments.
For this list, we’re taking a look at the juiciest scenes from this Netflix Original Series.

#10: Queen Mary Bows
“Hyde Park Corner”

Following the death of King George VI, Elizabeth suddenly feels the weight of the world on her shoulders, knowing that she’ll soon be crowned Queen. In spite of these overwhelming emotions, Elizabeth remains calm and composed, as always. She has a hard time keeping it together at her father’s funeral, however, as she recognizes the true gravitas that comes with her new position of power. It’s especially daunting when Elizabeth encounters George’s mother, Queen Mary, who bows before her granddaughter and new sovereign. While no words are spoken, the look on Elizabeth’s face says it all. In just a couple seconds, actress Claire Foy conveys shock, grief, anxiety, uncertainty, and strength with one subtle expression.

#9: Protect the Kingdom
“Gloriana”

The crown was practically served to Edward VIII on a silver platter, but he decided to give up his kingship to wed Wallis Simpson. Princess Margaret finds herself in a similar situation, as she’s on the verge of giving up everything to be with Peter Townsend. Torn between supporting her sister and following her responsibilities as Queen, Elizabeth seeks out Edward for guidance. Since Edward walked away from power in the name of love, you’d think he would tell Elizabeth to stand by her sibling. While Edward does sympathize with Margaret, he surprisingly advises Elizabeth to protect the kingdom. It’s a genuinely devastating moment, as Elizabeth realizes she must put the crown before all else.

#8: Churchill’s Portrait
“Assassins”

Although age has seemingly taken its toll on Winston Churchill, he remains confident in his ability to serve the Queen. Upon turning 80, however, Churchill is forced to confront reality. As a birthday present from Parliament, Graham Sutherland paints Churchill exactly as he sees him. The Prime Minister isn’t at all pleased with this notorious gift, arguing that it portrays him as old and frail. Above all else, he’s infuriated that the portrait is actually pretty spot-on, as much as he doesn’t want to admit it. He can burn the painting, but Churchill is unable to escape the fact that he’s getting older and that his time in office must come to an end.

#7: Down on Your Knees
“Scientia Potentia Est”

In a golden age of television, “The Crown” is about as classy as it gets. So you can imagine our surprise when this upscale period piece dropped an oral sex reference. After a banquet is cancelled, the Duke of Edinburgh is permitted some time to kill. Although Elizabeth has an appointment, Philip asks his wife to take the day off and get down on her knees. To our shock, the Queen appears to be on-board with this request, responding with a scandalous smile. Audiences probably weren’t expecting this show to explore Elizabeth and Philip’s sexual relationship. Yet, this short, humorous scene goes there, reminding us that even members of the Royal Family have certain urges.

#6: The Great Smog of London
“Act of God”

The Great Smog of 1952 marks one of Winston Churchill’s most infamous hours in office. The result of air-pollution and windless weather, the Big Smoke doesn’t strike Churchill as a top priority at first. He’s certain that it will pass in time, but this Act of God ultimately claims thousands of lives, including Churchill’s adoring secretary. Seeing her dead body, a broken Churchill recognizes the error of his ways and does everything in his power to prevent further chaos. Following an invigorating speech from Churchill and a sudden change in weather, the Queen decides against sacking her Prime Minster. Of course this wouldn’t be the last time Elizabeth and Churchill’s relationship hit turbulence.

#5: Churchill Deceives the Queen
“Scientia Potentia Est”

Although Churchill is dedicated to the crown, he’s also determined to preserve his place in government. After suffering a stroke, he hides his health from Elizabeth at the risk of being replaced. Carrying out his duties from bed, Churchill keeps her in the dark for a while, but the cat inevitably comes out of the bag. This builds to a powerful meeting where the young Queen gives her aging Prime Minister a stern lecture regarding loyalty, betrayal, and the wedge that’s been driven between them. The most poignant moment of all occurs as Churchill confesses that his days in office are likely numbered. That’s okay, however, as Elizabeth has come so far since her coronation.

#4: The Only Person I Have Ever Loved Is You
“Assassins”

Throughout the first season, it’s occasionally implied that Prince Philip wasn’t entirely faithful to Elizabeth during her early reign. Regardless, Philip grows increasingly jealous when his wife starts spending more time with Lord Porchester, aka Porchie. As the tension reaches its boiling point, Elizabeth lays all of her cards on the table with the camera zooming in on her face. In a moment that finds the Queen simultaneously at her most domineering and her most vulnerable, she admits that a life with Porchie might’ve been easier. There’s just one problem: Philip is the only person she has ever loved. While they eventually reconcile, the distance between Elizabeth and Philip has never been more apparent.

#3: God Save the Queen
“Smoke and Mirrors”

Season 1’s midpoint begins with a flashback to May 1937, a mere day before King George’s coronation. A little Elizabeth sees the pressure her father is under as she helps him prepare for the big day. Then in one of the show’s most effective edits, we jump ahead almost fifteen years to a grownup Elizabeth trying on the crown. This opening perfectly complements the episode’s conclusion, as the Queen is finally crowned at Westminster Abbey. Draped in royal attire, Elizabeth has the appearance of a goddess. Underneath it all, though, is an ordinary young woman. Something similar could be said about Elizabeth’s father, who was a modest man behind all the smoke and mirrors.

#2: Margaret & Peter Pulled Apart
“Gelignite”

Elizabeth and Margaret are kind of like Frozen’s Elsa and Anna… minus the ice powers. One’s very restrained and even cold at times. The other is an outgoing princess eager to get married. Since Peter Townsend is a divorcee, his union with Margaret would go against the Church of England, putting the Queen in a difficult position. Elizabeth initially promises to support the marriage after Margaret turns 25, but she’s unable to keep her word. Watching Elizabeth deliver the news is nothing short of heartbreaking, as Margaret not only loses the man she loves, but her sister as well. Shattered over Elizabeth’s decision, Margaret is unable to let it go… okay, enough of the “Frozen” references.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Collar Freak-out
“Wolferton Splash”

The Duke of Windsor’s Letters to Wallis Simpson
“Smoke and Mirrors”

The Margaret-Townsend Affair
“Gelignite”

#1: I Beg You Make an Exception
“Smoke and Mirrors”

Though there’s no denying who wears the crown, Elizabeth and Philip frequently butt heads over who wears the pants in the family. Their power struggle hits an all-time high with Elizabeth’s coronation on the horizon. Philip feels that he shouldn’t have to kneel before his wife at the ceremony, leading to a confrontation that’s as intense as it is understated. The Duke of Edinburgh insists that Elizabeth make an exception for him, to which she responds with one word: “No.” Putting her roles into perspective, Elizabeth makes it clear that she might be Philip’s wife, but she’s also the bloody Queen. In short, Philip’s position in life will always be a step below hers.
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