Tag Archives: Crowns

Longtime royal photographer puts some of The Crown’s contentious moments in context

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The last time Arthur Edwards took a photo of Prince Charles with Lord Louis Mountbatten, the heir to the throne had his arm around his great uncle. Similarly, Mountbatten had his arm around his great-nephew. 

They both seemed to be in fine form that day, not too long before Mountbatten lost his life to an IRA bomb in the summer of 1979 off the coast of Ireland.

“They were laughing together,” Edwards, the longtime royal photographer for the Sun newspaper, recalled over the phone from the U.K. this week. 

The recollection came to mind as controversy swirls over the newly released Season 4 of the Netflix drama The Crown.

The show takes viewers into the reign of Queen Elizabeth, with the latest season moving the action into the 1980s. In the first episode, Mountbatten is seen just before his assassination writing a letter to Charles saying he could bring “ruin and disappointment” on the Royal Family with his pursuit of Camilla Parker Bowles, who in real life is now Charles’s wife but at that time was married to someone else.

There’s no evidence — again, in real life — that such a letter was ever written or that Charles and Mountbatten quarrelled before he was killed. 

WATCH | Why latest season of The Crown has sparked controversy: 

Season 4 of The Crown has proven popular with viewers, but because it is based on relatively recent history it’s facing more criticism for distorting real-life events. 2:16

It’s just one of many moments in the latest season that have set off debate over how fact meets fiction in the award-winning drama created by Peter Morgan.

“Many people will think it’s the truth … but it’s not,” said Edwards, who snapped his first photo of Charles feeding sugar to his polo ponies in the mid-1970s, just after he’d left the Royal Navy. 

“Much of it … comes out of a scriptwriter’s brain, which I can understand because … it’s drama.” 

What bothers Edwards, he said, is the portrayal of Charles.

“I’ve worked with him now for over 40 years, and I don’t recognize that man in it.”

And therein lies a challenge of turning history into drama. 

Emerald Fennell, as Camilla Parker Bowles, meets with Diana, as played by Corrin, during Season 4 of The Crown. (Des Willie/Netflix)

“Certainly, in every season [of The Crown], there’s a blend of fact and fiction, but it stands out in Season 4 because we are getting closer to the present day,” said Toronto-based royal historian and author Carolyn Harris.

Because so many in the audience will have their own memories of how what is portrayed in Season 4 turned out in real life — how Charles’s marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, collapsed in spectacular fashion, for example — there is perhaps further potential for the controversy now swirling.

“It’s always a challenge with historical fiction that the people who are being portrayed do not know what’s going to happen next, but the audience … does,” said Harris.

In some instances, the episodes present events that played out in the public eye and reflect the historical record.

“An example is that engagement interview where Prince Charles famously said, ‘whatever in love means,'”said Harris.

But there are many other examples of events being fictionalized or put together to create a narrative. 

WATCH | Josh O’Connor talks about becoming Prince Charles for The Crown:

British actor Josh O’Connor, who portrays the Prince of Wales in season four of Netflix’s The Crown, explains what it was like to examine the “human” side of the royal. 1:03

Take Michael Fagan’s break-in at Buckingham Palace, a focus of Episode 5. That actually happened, in 1982. He breached security and made it to the Queen’s bedroom, where he spoke to her.

“But Michael Fagan describes it as a very brief conversation before he was arrested, whereas for the purposes of the series, he has a more extended dialogue about [Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher’s politics in order to tie this event to the series’s critique of political developments while [she] was prime minister,” said Harris.

Edwards worries, however, that people will believe The Crown’s version of what happened when Fagan broke into the palace that night, which isn’t true, with its portrayal of a longer chat with the Queen.

“That’s what really irritates me,” he said.

And he remains troubled by the thought that the portrayal of Charles, pilloried for a bad marriage, doesn’t reflect the driven and hard-working man he has seen up close, whether he is visiting and offering support to schoolgirls in northern Nigeria or the Jewish community in Krakow, Poland. 

“You won’t see that on Netflix.”

Diana chats with Charles in an early scene from Season 4 of The Crown. (Des Willie/Netflix via AP)

Edwards went with Charles when he returned in 2015 to the site of Mountbatten’s assassination.

“I watched him … and he was remembering it.”

As aware as Edwards is of The Crown, he has stopped watching it.  

“You’ve got to remember it’s drama; it’s not necessarily the whole truth.”

Just let loose and dance

In Corrin’s research to prepare for playing Diana, she was surprised to learn the significance of dance for the Princess of Wales. (Des Willie/Netflix)

Peter Morgan may be the creative mind behind The Crown, but in the current season, at least one moment playing out on the small screen came straight from the actor.

At one point, Diana — played by Emma Corrin — dances by herself with wild abandon inside a very well-appointed room at Buckingham Palace — or in this case, a stately home filling the role of the palace where Diana went to live after her engagement to Prince Charles was announced in 1981.

“It was one of my favourite scenes to film,” Corrin said in a recent interview with the Royal Fascinator. 

“I loved it because they wanted to choreograph it, and I said, ‘Do you mind if we don’t … I don’t think we can choreograph a moment like that. I’d love to just let loose and dance.'”

So she did, and she chose the song that was blasting over the speakers during filming, a bit of musical time travel to 1998, and Cher’s Believe.

Corrin’s love for the song dates back a few years. 

“There’s a theatre company in Britain called DV8, and they do this show called The Cost of Living, and there’s an amazing dance scene,” she said. “A guy does this dance to Cher’s  … Believe…. It’s like the truest form of expression I’ve seen.”

In Corrin’s research for the role, she was surprised to learn how important dance was for Diana.

“It was quite a private thing,” said Corrin. “You see her dancing and what that does, how that is such a mode of expression and release, and I thought that was really interesting.”

Looking ahead — and looking back

Plans are underway to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, recognizing 70 years on the throne. (Toby Melville/The Associated Press)

Every so often over the past few years, there have been rumblings about whether Queen Elizabeth, now 94, might step aside from her role as she gets older.

And as soon as those rumblings emerge, other royal observers are quick to note how that is unlikely for a variety of reasons, including the dark shadow cast by her uncle’s abdication as King Edward VIII in 1936, her deep devotion to duty and how she has always considered her role as one for life.

So it wasn’t too surprising to see that scenario play out again in recent days when one royal biographer suggested Elizabeth might “step down” when she turns 95 next April. 

But soon after, there was also a very strong signal from Buckingham Palace about looking ahead in her reign.

The first plans were announced for celebrations in 2022 to mark her Platinum Jubilee, or 70 years on the throne. It would be an unprecedented milestone — no British monarch has reigned as long as she has. In the United Kingdom, it will culminate in a four-day bank holiday weekend in early June.

Oliver Dowden, the British culture secretary, said it would be a “truly historic moment” worthy of a “celebration to remember,”  the BBC reported.

Royals in Canada

Diana waves to spectators as she leaves the hotel en route to Commonwealth Stadium and the opening of the World University Games in Edmonton on July 1, 1983, her 22nd birthday. (Ron Poling/The Canadian Press)

While members of the Royal Family have made numerous trips to Canada over the years, The Crown hasn’t turned its dramatic attention to them yet, even though the show has featured several foreign visits.

“It’s a shame,” said royal historian Harris, because during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, “there have been some very interesting Canadian tours.”

Sure, there’s been a brief glimpse of a Canadian flag at a table during a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting portrayed in The Crown.

“But we don’t see Canada assuming a prominent role, whereas the series has had at least three tours of Australia,” Harris said.

One episode in the current Season 4 focuses on Charles and Diana’s 1983 trip Down Under. Shortly after that visit, Charles and Diana came to Canada. Had that been portrayed in The Crown, it would have backed up a developing theme, Harris said.

During the visit, Diana celebrated her 22nd birthday on Canada Day.

“There’s press footage of Canadians giving Charles birthday cards to give to Diana, and a scene like that would have supported the theme of that episode of Charles feeling overshadowed by Diana,” said Harris.

Edwards, the Sun photographer, was along for that trip, and has been to Canada about 15 times with members of the Royal Family.

WATCH | Charles and Diana’s 1983 Canadian visit takes them west:

Charles and Diana reach the last stop on their 1983 tour of Canada. 1:52

The 1983 trip lasted 17 days and was “fantastic,” he said. “It was just brilliant. I can recall it like it was yesterday. We criss-crossed the country.”

During the opening of the World University Games in Edmonton on July 1, the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Diana.

“The whole crowd. It was phenomenal,” said Edwards.

Harris sees potential plotting for future seasons of The Crown possibly playing into how the series has portrayed foreign visits so far.

“We see a stronger Australia focus, and it’s certainly possible that the 1999 Australian referendum [on the monarchy] may come up in a subsequent season so some of this may be building towards that.

“But definitely in terms of the Commonwealth, certain nations are emphasized more than others in the series.”

Royally quotable

“Let us reflect on all that we have been through together and all that we have learned. Let us remember all victims of war, tyranny and persecution; those who laid down their lives for the freedoms we cherish; and those who struggle for these freedoms to this day.”    

— Prince Charles, during a visit to Germany to attend events commemorating its national day of mourning, which focused on British-German relations this year.

Royal reads

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, look at a homemade wedding anniversary card from their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, ahead of their 73rd wedding anniversary in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle on Nov. 17, 2020. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images Europe/Reuters)

  1. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on Friday, and a photo was released of them reading a card from their great-grandchildren. [CBC]

  2. In a rare statement, Prince William has said he welcomes an investigation by the BBC into circumstances around the controversial Panorama interview his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, gave to Martin Bashir in 1995. [CBC]

  3. Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, did authorize a friend to talk to the authors of Finding Freedom, a biography of her and Prince Harry that was published this summer, court papers say. [ITV]

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Trump prematurely crowns himself winner in chaotic U.S. election aftermath

The ingredients have now been assembled for a combustible post-election aftermath in the United States. And Donald Trump has begun flinging matches.

Uncertainty had been predicted for months and early returns confirmed that voting day would indeed pass without a clear winner.

As in 2016, Trump defied the polls, forcing a state-by-state duel with Democratic challenger Joe Biden that could conceivably culminate in Trump winning a second term.

The result could become clearer within hours, or perhaps days.

States are still counting mail-in ballots, which tend to skew Democrat, and that will reveal whether Trump’s current leads will hold.

It’s an illustration of the country’s bitter polarization that the parties are now arguing about which ballots are legitimate.

The president has eagerly fanned that polarization. Early Wednesday morning, he falsely claimed that he had already won. Trump did so in an unusual rally from the White House, a seat of government not typically used for election events. 

“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment,” Trump said from the executive residence. “We did win this election.”

WATCH | Trump claims win despite uncounted votes:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said as far as he’s concerned he and the Republican Party have won the U.S. election. He said he will go to the U.S. Supreme Court and wants voting to stop. However, several states are still counting votes that have already been cast. 1:12

Trump promised to head to court to try cutting off the counting of votes. 

In Pennsylvania, for example, Republicans have been trying to cancel the counting of ballots that are postmarked before election day but arrive after. It’s one of more than 350 such cases this year over pandemic-related voting measures.

This is different from 2000

This year has already been far more litigious than the 2000 election, which became notorious for its Florida recount battle. Political-risk analysts fear this year’s battles might not only play out in courtrooms but also in clashes on the street.

Trump himself has used language unlike anything George W. Bush or Al Gore would have employed in 2000 — on Monday, Twitter censored a Trump tweet for appearing to warn of post-election violence.

Ben Ginsberg, a longtime Republican election lawyer who just retired, said he’d never heard this kind of language from a president. “No. Not even close,” he told CNN early on Wednesday morning.

In the past few days, windows were boarded up, here in Philadelphia and elsewhere, as fears of election-related unrest grew. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Some of Trump’s usual defenders sounded aghast at his election-night rhetoric.

“He went a step too far,” said Fox News’s Dana Perino, who read out a tweet calling the president’s statement deeply irresponsible.

Trump ally Chris Christie also criticized the president, and former senator Rick Santorum told CNN, “I was very distressed by what I just heard the president say.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the rare Republican lawmaker who occasionally rebukes Trump, said, “Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that.”

The Trump chapter in U.S. history

One reason we’re entering these choppy waters is the pandemic, and the polemic it has triggered between blue America and red America on mail voting. But it goes far beyond that.

Biden supporters argue with a Trump supporter outside of a polling site in Houston, Tex., on Nov. 3. (Go Nakamura/Reuters)

What’s pushed this election to the vote-by-vote brawl at the finish line is a strong showing from Trump that has preserved for all of history some lessons about American politics.

It has illustrated that a large share of voters have an unflappable loyalty to Trump, despite behaviour his critics decry as unpresidential and anti-democratic.

It now appears official, after two elections, that Trump will never receive the widespread voter repudiation his many detractors have yearned to see.

  • What do you want to know about the U.S. election? Email us at Ask@cbc.ca

Trump might even enter that most hallowed pantheon in what is sometimes described as the world’s oldest democracy: the club of two-term U.S. presidents.

He not only registered high turnout from his white working-class base, he also ate into Democrats’ support among Black and Latino voters.

Trump’s victory is by no means assured; as of this writing, Biden could win and is arguably still slightly favoured.

Democrats got a huge relief by apparently winning Arizona. (Ironically, Trump made clear he wants the vote count to continue there, where it might help him.)

“We’re feeling good about where we are,” Biden said, cautioning that results might take a while but adding that he expected a boost from mail ballots.

WATCH | Biden says election result not yet settled:

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke to a crowd at a drive-in rally in Wilmington, Del., where he said he believes he and his party are on track to win the election. 0:59

“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won this election — that’s the decision of the American people. But I’m optimistic about this outcome.”

Democrats’ Senate dreams start to dim

Even if Biden wins the presidency, it might prove a tarnished chalice. His party appears more likely than not to fall short of winning the Senate.

A hostile Senate would be likelier to thwart Biden’s legislative agenda of expanded public health care, political reforms and a massive green-infrastructure program.

Republicans with control of that chamber would also be far likelier to spend the coming years investigating Biden. Investigations have already been launched by Republicans into the Biden’s family’s business dealings.

Whatever the ultimate result of this presidential election, the odds have just grown longer against the American republic sailing into a less-turbulent era.

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CBC | World News

Nathan Chen, Mariah Bell capture Skate America crowns

Nathan Chen found himself in a familiar place Saturday on the top step of the podium.

The podium at Skate America, to be precise.

The American superstar landed five quadruple jumps over two programs in his first competition in nine months, easily out-distancing Vincent Zhou and the rest of the field to win his record-tying fourth straight Skate America. It also kept intact a streak of victories for Chen that dates to his fifth-place finish at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

“I made quite a few big mistakes in that program, things that I shouldn’t have made mistakes on,” said Chen, whose soaring personal standards left him shrugging at his latest performance. “It is what it is. I’ll learn from it and move forward.”

The two-time world champion built a big lead in his short program Friday night before a shaky free skate, where he had to double a planned quad Salchow and missed a triple axel. But it was still enough for Chen to win the free skate with 187.98 points and give him 299.15 total, while Zhou’s two second-place programs gave him 275.10 and the silver medal.

WATCH | Nathan Chen wins Skate America title:

American Nathan Chen wins gold at Skate America with a total score of 299.15. 6:41

The high-flying Chen, who has taken leave from his studies at Yale to focus on the 2022 Beijing Games, is on a run of titles that includes a victory over two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu. His latest title at Skate America, one of the only Grand Prix events still going on amid the COVID-19 pandemic, matches the record shared by Michelle Kwan, Todd Eldredge and former Olympic champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Bell edges Tennell in women’s event

In the women’s event, Mariah Bell edged 2018 national champion Bradie Tennell to win arguably the biggest title of her career. The 24-year-old fell on a triple lutz to finish her program Saturday, and her score of 136.25 was only the fourth-best of the free skates. But her sterling short program gave her 212.73 points total — just 1.66 points ahead of Tennell, who won the free skate with a solid program that began with a triple axel-triple toe combination.

WATCH | Mariah Bell wins 1st Grand Prix title:

24-year-old Mariah Bell won her first-ever top-level competition, scoring 212.73 overall points at Skate America in Las Vegas. 7:06

“I try not to look at outcomes, more how I feel,” Bell said. “I’m walking away from this performance a little disappointed, and I look back at nationals and that’s a program I was really proud of. I want to feel really great about what I did.”

Messing earns bronze

Keegan Messing of Canada and 16-year-old American skater Audrey Shin won the bronze medals, while the pairs and ice dance competitions conclude later Saturday night in the mostly empty Orleans Arena.

WATCH | Keegan Messing of Canada claims bronze medal:

Sherwood Park, Alta., native Keegan Messing finishes in 3rd place at Skate America. 7:35

“This is everyone’s first major competition this season and we all had time off the ice,” said Shin, who was making her Grand Prix debut, “but I felt like during those time I really focused on what I really love to do, and that’s skating. And coming back and training, I felt more motivated to improve. This was my time to perform and that was my goal here.”

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‘American Idol’ Crowns New Champion — Find Out Who Won!

‘American Idol’ Crowns New Champion — Find Out Who Won! | Entertainment Tonight

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'The Masked Singer' Crowns a Champion! Find Out Who Won and Who Was Under the Masks

'The Masked Singer' Crowns a Champion! Find Out Who Won and Who Was Under the Masks | Entertainment Tonight

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Anthony Joshua KO's Povetkin to retain heavyweight crowns

Anthony Joshua retained his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles with a seventh-round stoppage of Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.

Joshua, who fought with a suspected broken nose from the second round, sent the Russian to the canvas with a big right midway through the seventh and was unloading a flurry of punches before the referee stepped in to end the fight.

Joshua's record moved to 22-0, with 21 wins coming inside the distance. This was another big test passed by the Briton in front of an estimated 80,000 fans at Wembley — just like 17 months ago when he recovered from getting knocked down against Wladimir Klitschko to win an epic fight.

Joshua, whose phenomenal pulling power sees him pack out stadiums, is booked to return to Wembley on April 13 for his next bout, and the plan is for the opponent to be either WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder or former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. They confirmed earlier Saturday they will be fighting on Dec. 1, likely in Las Vegas.

Joshua overcomes early struggles

Selling the Povetkin fight was harder than usual for Joshua and his promoters, with the Russian boxer aged 39 and conceding around 11 kilograms on the champion. Joshua was 1-10 to win with some British bookmakers.

On a rainy night that forced spectators at ground level to wear plastic ponchos as protection from the wet conditions, Joshua struggled in the early rounds and was rocked by a three-punch combination from Povetkin in the first.

Blood poured from Joshua's right nostril and he might have lost rounds two and three, too, with Povetkin dangerous close in and with his fierce left hook.

"A few years ago," Joshua said, "maybe I wouldn't have won that fight."

Joshua takes advantage of reach

Joshua started to pick off Povetkin thereafter by using his longer reach. The challenger was looking for the big punch and it kept Joshua mostly on the back foot.

But Povetkin, who sustained a bad cut over his left eye in round four, began noticeably slowing, and in the seventh round Joshua unleashed a powerful right and then a left hook. With Povetkin open, Joshua followed through with a straight right that took Povetkin down and left him hanging through the ropes.

He beat the count but was being overwhelmed by Joshua when the fight was stopped.

Povetkin, who was the WBA "regular" champion from 2011-13, was getting a shot at a world title for the first time since testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs twice in a seven-month period in 2016.

Coming in the same week as his native Russia was welcomed back into global sporting competition by WADA after a notorious doping scandal, the timing of the fight seemed apt.

And he put up a game fight, one which proved to be Joshua's toughest test since Klitschko. It was the first time Povetkin was stopped inside the distance.

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CBC | Sports News

'Survivor' Crowns Season 35 Winner — Find Out Who Won the $1 Million Prize!

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Warning: Spoilers ahead from Wednesday’s Survivor finale. It was Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers this season on Survivor — and a hero came out on top! After 39 days, a tribe swap and several crazy idol plays the show crowned their latest champion on Wednesday night. Congrats to Ben Driebergen! CBS The new champ gave his wife a huge kiss after he was announced the winner, then hugged the rest of his family members who were at the live Survivor finale. The 34-year-old Marine…

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