The second season of the Netflix show “The Crown,” which depicts the life of Queen Elizabeth II after she takes the throne following the early death of her father, King George, debuted on Dec. 8.
There’s a scene, at the beginning of episode 8, where Queen Elizabeth sits down on a couch at a country castle to share a TV dinner with her mother.
On the plates: macaroni and cheese. On the TV: Jackie Kennedy dazzling Paris.
“She’s so young,” the queen mother says. “I always thought she was the same age as you.”
The queen replies, “She is.”
The moment is striking.
In a few days, Jackie Kennedy will leave France and arrive with her husband at Buckingham Palace for dinner. Already, the queen is slowly boiling over with jealousy. Her mother simply cannot stop talking about Jackie.
In the arc of the show, the Kennedys’ visit to Buckingham Palace comes at the climax of the season, using the visit — and all its tension — to depict a queen coming to accept her personal limitations (dowdy, unsexy, not well read) but also firmly grasping the crown’s power.
Britain did indeed go positively mad for Jackie when she arrived. The queen wasn’t pleased.
The show depicts that displeasure in the on-screen queen’s reaction to the Kennedys’ arrival at Buckingham Palace, when her staff of normally stiff butlers and even Prince Phillip jockey to see the first lady emerging from the motorcade.
There was a real tension to the visit beyond beauty and star power, a behind-the-scenes, passive-aggressive catfight left out of the episode.
Jackie, in reality, insisted on inviting to the dinner her sister and brother-in-law, a Polish prince who had been divorced twice. One divorce back then was too many for the queen and the monarchy. The queen objected. The first lady objected to the objection.
A tense negotiation among diplomats ended favorably for Jackie — until she saw the full guest list. The queen left off her sister, Princess Margaret, and their aunt Princess Marina. She knew the first lady wanted to be photographed with them.
Jackie was clearly not a huge fan of the queen, either.