The Crown Recap: Vice Queen

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 17, 2019
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Netflix Series The Crown Season 3, Episode 2 - Margaretology


The Crown Season 3, Episode 2, “Margaretology” explores the unspoken rift between Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret in a compelling chapter.

This recap of Netflix series The Crown Season 3, Episode 2, “Margaretology” contains significant spoilers. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.

Episode 2, “Margaretology” throws the audience back to 1943 — a young Elizabeth is briefed about being the heir. Elizabeth is not confident in taking the crown and confides in Margaret about her nervousness. Margaret excitedly blurts how she will take the throne — “Margaret Rose wants to do it”. Elizabeth agrees that they should tell the family their actual intentions.

And in the present day, the reality is now clear, in a chapter that delves into the Royal Family politics. The Queen thanks Princess Margaret and her spouse Antony Armstrong-Jones for helping with the private engagements in the USA. Elizabeth reminds the couple to “be good to one another”, which crawls under Margaret’s skin.

While Princess Margaret jets off to America, the US Ambassador raises how President John is not responding to Prime Minister Harold Wilson regarding a financial bail-out. Due to Wilson refusing to support the USA over Vietnam, Johnson is keeping his pockets tight.

Prime Minister Harold Wilson speaks to the Queen about warming relations with the President. Additionally, Elizabeth receives an update on Princess Margaret’s visit to the USA — it’s been a resounding success so far. Antony, however, is clearly frustrated at being second fiddle to Margaret, but she assures him she will give him all the space he needs for his book opening.

President Johnson receives an invitation to the UK by the Queen, but he swiftly provides a non-response. The White House Chief of Staff recommends inviting Princess Margaret to the White House, almost as a compromise to engage with the Royal Family without approving the financial bailout. Princess Margaret is currently relishing her popularity in Arizona, despite having a cold.

Reluctantly, the Queen asks Margaret to go to the White House, but she declines, insisting she must support her husband as the Queen requested before they went on the plane. The Queen responds to her declination, highlighting the diplomatic situation — the UK needs that financial bail-out.

So Princess Margaret attends the White House and Prime Minister Harold Wilson delivers an update to the Queen; at the dinner, Margaret mentioned to the President that she found Jack Kennedy underwhelming, and surprisingly Johnson agreed with her controversial comments. From here, they had a drinking contest, played limericks, danced and sang — it even ended in a quick, cheeky kiss for good measure. It’s clear when the British need money, we’ll throw ourselves at anyone.

Elizabeth is happy with the outcome but irritated that Princess Margaret managed to get an agreement to the bail-out by doing everything she begged her not to do.

Eventually, nearing the backend of Episode 2, “Margaretology”, the Queen and Princess Margaret catch up. The Queen tries offering her a Royal Award, but Margaret declines. She instead asks Elizabeth if they can share duties — she believes the Queen does too much and at the same time, she does too little, which is soul-destroying. In a private discussion after, Philip respectfully disagrees and talks about the history of lending someone else power. He reckons it would be dangerous.

As the Queen and Philip walk out into the gardens, Margaret can tell by Elizabeth’s face that she will not accept her request and she looks crestfallen. The Crown Season 3, Episode 2, “Margaretology” closes by taking the audience back to 1943 — a young Margaret is told off by her superiors, urged to accept her position in life whereby she supports the monarch and not rewrite the rulebooks.

Episode 2 was another brilliant episode, and reins in a brilliant performance from both Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter.

Her Majesty’s Archives (HMA)

  • The British Government needed £800m for a bailout and requested $1 Billion dollars.

You can read the recap of the third episode by clicking these words.

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