The Crown Recap: The Former King

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 17, 2019
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Netflix series The Crown Season 3, Episode 8 - Dangling Man


The Crown Season 3, Episode 8, “Dangling Man” is a chapter on the ill Duke of Windsor and former King Edward VIII on his last days.

This recap of Netflix series The Crown Season 3, Episode 8, “Dangling Man” contains significant spoilers. You can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.

Episode 5 opens up in Bois De Boulogne, Paris, 1970. An ill Duke of Windsor and former King Edward VIII coughs up blood in the sink. When he is examined, he learns he has incurable cancer and only palliative care will be used. Despite living out his last days, he still wants to carry out his royal schedule. The illness is unbeknown to Charles (Josh O’Connor), who visits him.

Back in England, Captain Andrew Parker Bowles is introduced to Princess Anne. He compliments her while looking embarrassed, stating that she looks developed. He gawps at her like a teenage boy. She admits to gawping at him over the years. They have sex, and after, he admits he has issues with Camilla Shand. They may have broken up.

The next day Prince Charles plays polo, and Parker Bowles is also on the field. Lord Mountbatten praises his game. Charles reports back on the Duke of Windsor, saying that he does not look well. In the same conversation, Charles admits to liking Camilla Shand. She was cheering him during polo. Later in the day, he rings Camilla and persuades her to join him for dinner.

There’s a new government; the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Edward Heath, visits the Queen and she grants him to form his government. After meeting with the Prime Minister, Elizabeth is reminded that the Duke of Windsor has a BBC interview and is advised to meet him. Philip is adamant they shouldn’t visit him — his abdication has clearly caused friction in the Royal Family.

Charles and Camilla finally have their dinner. She asks Charles what it is like living in a palace. He describes how he feels free but imprisoned by the notion of one day becoming king. He quotes a book titled the Dangling Man — “Existing in a timeless and slightly ridiculous abyss”. Shortly after, Charles pranks Camilla with an exploding letter.

The BBC interview with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is aired. He talks of how he wanted to redefine the Prince of Wales and the Duchess says he was ahead of his time. Philip watches the interview, and he calls them ghastly and monstrous.

While The Queen visits France, she is told that the Duke of Windsor is close to the end. She decides to visit him. When Edward hears The Queen is coming, he gets up from his death bed to prepare for the visit.

Edward does his hardest to bow for The Queen. Elizabeth calls him her favorite uncle. When on the subject of Prince Charles, Edward senses that Elizabeth does not believe he is up for being King. The Duke of Windsor discusses Camilla and insists that she should take the letters Charles has sent to him. As he gets sleepier, he asks for forgiveness. The Queen responds that his abdication did not turn into a curse and that becoming The Queen has not been all that bad. He falls asleep as she talks.

The Queen reads Charles’ letter to Edward. He wrote how the Duke of Windsor opened his eyes to kingship, and the nature of love and how they can both intertwine. Charles recognized himself in Edward; his progressiveness and flair. The letter ends with Charles claiming that The Crown is not a static thing and he will wear it on his own terms.

The Crown Season 3, Episode 8, “Dangling Man” ends with the Duke of Windsor dying peacefully.

Chapter 8, if anything, shows how even in modern times, the Royal Family has strict rules with the Duke of Windsor exiled for years.

Her Majesty’s Archives (HMA)

  • Anne asks Charles about his date with Camilla. In response, Charles asks Anne about Andrew. The siblings are caught in a romantic crossfire.

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

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