The Crown Season 3, Episode 1, “Olding” is an intriguing start as Olivia Colman’s Queen faces a new challenge — a new Labour government and a potential mole.
This recap of Netflix series The Crown Season 3, Episode 1, “Olding” contains significant spoilers. You can read the season 3 review by clicking these words.
What a fascinating start to The Crown Season 3.
It opens up in 1964, introducing Olivia Colman‘s Queen Elizabeth II. To celebrate her “older” days, new Post Office materials are presented to her in a way to “reflect her age”. The Queen dismisses her old age as something that just happens.
But a new era of The Queen presents new challenges and Philip is worried about Harold Wilson, the leader of the Labour party and his chances of winning the next elections. Philip believes that Harold will want to remove the Royal Family if he is elected — he slyly drops that there are rumours that Harold is a KGB spy.
And another day arrives. The Queen is asked to deliver a speech at a gallery. She asks her Surveyor of Pictures, Sir Anthony Blunt, what constitutes “early-modern”. The Queen seems uneasy about her gallery speech.
Queen Elizabeth visits an old, frail Winston Churchill in Episode 1, “Olding”. Winston spreads further rumours about Harold Wilson and states he will bring “the cold wind of socialism”. It’s hard to tell if he brings that opinion because of his politics, or if he is genuinely concerned about Harold. As he falls asleep, the Queen gives him a peck on the forehead.
And with that, A new Labour government is announced. Harold Wilson is swiftly sent to Buckingham Palace and given the low-down of the rules to meet the Queen. It’s tense, and Harold apologises to the Queen for beating her political preference. He talks about the ruins of the Conservative party and the two muse on how uncanny it must be to see your own face on banknotes. It’s strange — Episode 1, “Olding” confirms that the Labour/Conservative cycle is just history repeating itself.
At a birthday party, the Queen soberly announces that Winston Churchill is dead, spurring forward funeral arrangements and a tinge of sadness amongst the Royal Family. Meanwhile, a former sleeper agent claims there is a KGB mole at the top of the establishment.
The Director of MI5 approaches the Queen about the mole, and the Queen believes he is on about Harold Wilson, but he dismisses that idea. The mole sits within Buckingham Palace. It’s… Sir Anthony Blunt (I couldn’t help slot in the Coleen Rooney reference). Sir Blunt has been transferring documents to the KGB for years. The Queen is visibly devastated by the news.
Interestingly, MI5 advises the queen to keep it secret to save the face of the security service and maintain a relationship with the Americans that is currently fragile. The Queen has to still give a speech about Sir Anthony Blunt at the Gallery — “The Royal Collection”. In the speech, she indirectly references how one person can have two different personalities with stern looks at Anthony. Philip pulls Anthony aside and asks if he could do the “honourable thing” and leave. But Anthony offers a curveball, threatening to release information on a sex scandal that could be directly linked to Philip.
The Crown Season 3, Episode 1, “Olding” ends with the Netflix series revealing that Sir Anthony Blunt was given complete immunity from prosecution.
Her Majesty’s Archives (HMA)
- Princess Margaret is introduced to Violet, a new maid. There is obvious tension between Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones.
- At dinner, The Queen talks about how unremarkable Prime Minister Harold Wilson is. A member of the family declares that is “the best qualities of a spy”.
You can read the recap of the second episode by clicking these words.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.