The Crown season 4, episode 4 recap – what happened in “Favourites”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 15, 2020 (Last updated: November 29, 2023)
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Netflix series The Crown season 4, episode 4 - Favourites


The thought-provoking, performative series continues. “Favourites” gets personal, highlighting two powerful women and their motherly love for their children.

This recap of Netflix’s The Crown season 4, episode 4, “Favourites” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

“Favourites” opens in Paris, 1982. There’s a rally going on. It then flits back to Buckingham Palace, and Prime Minister Thatcher is visiting. Elizabeth criticises her for inflation, unemployment and civil unrest. Thatcher responds that there is no magic button and that she would love to fix the inflation faster, but she has Parliament to contend with. Thatcher breaks down in tears and apologises. Elizabeth explains that she isn’t the first Prime Minister to break down in this palace and offers her a whiskey.

The Crown appears to be choosing a more sympathetic route for Thatcher, especially in “Favourites”.

Her favourite child

Thatcher brings up that her favourite child Mark has gone missing. She states he has been competing in the Paris-Dakar car rally which leads to the Sahara desert. He hasn’t been sighted since a checkpoint in Algeria. Later on, Elizabeth is intrigued about Thatcher’s claims to having a “favourite child”. Philip says his favourite child is Anne and that everyone knows who hers is. However, Elizabeth is not convinced she knows who her favourite child is.

Argentinian takeover

“Favourites” then flits to South Georgia, Falkland Islands Territory, South Atlantic. A group of British scientists are hiking on an expedition. In their survey centre, a group of Argentinian men have taken over. The scientists tell the men to take their flag away and leave immediately as it is not their land. They need to report it to the governor of the Falkland Islands as the Argentinians refuse to leave. “Favourites” is showing the start of the trigger for the Falklands War.

Thatcher is still worried about her son

Elizabeth wants to see her children, in private, one at a time. Meanwhile, Margaret Thatcher learns that there has been a sighting of her son; however, he’s not been found. Thatcher is then asked permission to grant an ice-breaking vessel, HMS Endurance, to be sent from Port Stanley to the Island of South Georgia to evict a group of Argentine scrap metalworkers. Thatcher is despondent as her son is clearly on her mind. The series is suggesting that her response to the Falklands was influenced at the time by her worry of Mark.

Sitting with Prince Edward

Elizabeth sits with her son Prince Edward. He explains that because he’s third in line to the throne, he is bullied. He describes how students make fun of his braces, and he suffers many pranks from the other students.

“Do nothing!”

While receiving an update on her son, the foreign secretary tells Thatcher that the Argentine junta has responded by sending its own ice patrol ship and two missile-carrying corvettes to protect its citizens. They want to reroute the HMS Endurance to avoid unnecessary conflict and solve it diplomatically, but Thatcher does not want to “do nothing”. Her outburst is soon after receiving little updates on her son — she seems to be struggling to be Prime Minister and a mother at the same time in an insightful chapter into her character.

A picnic with Anne

Elizabeth has a picnic with Princess Anne. Her daughter talks about her lack of privacy wherever she goes. Anne doesn’t want praise or attention. She then diverts her attention to Diane; how she’s always compared to her in the media.

Elizabeth raises how there are rumours between Anne and Sergeant Cross — that they have been intimate, so Scotland Yard has transferred him. Anne claims that Cross is the only thing that makes her happy. Elizabeth tells Anne to be patient. Anne talks about not being in control, and it makes her scared and have a sense of recklessness.

The more Elizabeth spends time with her children, the more she realises how lost they all are.


Thatcher’s son has been found, and the Prime Minister is elated. In the news, Thatcher reminds journalists that she’s also a mother. Elizabeth watches it all unfold on television. Philip asks Elizabeth if she’s figured out her favourite child yet, but she doesn’t respond.

Thatcher enjoys a family meal. Her son Mark claims he was not lost in the rally but his sister Carol does not believe him. His father Denis feels Mark should have shown more gratitude to the rescue team, but Thatcher disagrees, stating that they were doing their job. After dinner, Thatcher is updated that the Falkland Islands could be attacked.

Sweating Andrew

The next scenes show Prince Andrew, and you can tell the Netflix series has compiled this narrative with recent controversies and accusations in mind.

Elizabeth meets her son Prince Andrew who arrives in a helicopter as he’s part of the Royal Navy. Noticeably, as he arrives in Buckingham Palace, he looks like he is sweating — he hasn’t had his adrenaline overdose yet from the Falklands War, it seems. Anyway, Andrew wants to talk about his title in case he gets married. They talk about his latest romance with an American actress; Elizabeth doubts she has seen anything she is in.

Andrew talks about the film his latest romance is in, The Awakening of Emily — “It’s set in the 1920s, and follows an impressionable nubile 17-year-old girl, Koo”. When Elizabeth hears the age 17, she expresses she doesn’t want to know more. Still, Andrew carries on and explains how the character meets several twisted and perverted older predators who seduce the vulnerable, helpless young Emily “as we follow her induction into sensual pleasures.” When Elizabeth asks if this was legal, Andrew replies, “Who cares?”.

Andrew raises how the Falklands situation isn’t going to go away, and if it does escalate, he will be going. Elizabeth states the crown will not get in the way.

This scene will undoubtedly produce plenty of discourse and will be one of the pivotal scenes in the series.

From war talk to talk to Carol about her favourite child

Prime Minister Thatcher wants the Falkland Islands to be defended and to avoid diplomatic channels — she doesn’t seem to want to hear public opinion. One of her Cabinet members explains that this government is unloved and unpopular. Afterwards, Carol asks Margaret why Mark is her favourite child — she seems upset by it. Carol believes that because Margaret had a difficult relationship with her mother, she struggles with other women. Margaret claims it’s because Mark is stronger and that her mother was weak and easily accepted being a housewife.

Meeting Charles

“Favourites” shows how there are troubled waters in a relatively new marriage. Charles is angry at Diana for not leaving her room to see his mother Elizabeth. He pounds on the door as she lays in bed, heavily pregnant, watching TV.

Elizabeth meets with her son Prince Charles. He talks about how Diana is starting to withdraw herself and that she’s intellectually incurious. Elizabeth talks about how moving to Gloucestershire was a strange move, especially with Camilla living 15 minutes away. Charles admits he hunts with Camilla sometimes and rings her when he needs cheering up. Elizabeth is a little angry and asks Charles to pay attention to the mother of his future child. You have to respect half of what Elizabeth is saying here; Charles is selfish, however, this is all a product of the Queen’s doing.

The ending

Elizabeth meets Margaret and the Queen Mother for an emergency meeting and a drink. Later on, she speaks to Philip; she tells him that her children are lost in their own deserts. Elizabeth admits that Andrew is his favourite. She feels guilty about it and confesses she had more children to prove she could do it.

Philip tells Elizabeth that she’s a good mother and that the children are adults who will sort themselves out. The entire Andrew narrative will be discussed based on the fact that Elizabeth suggests he is her favourite — many political commentators feel that in real life, the Royals have been soft on Andrew with the Epstein links and this will further the discourse.

As the chapter ends, news footage is shown as the Falklands War begins.

The thought-provoking, performative series continues. The Crown season 4, episode 4 gets personal, highlighting two powerful women and their motherly love for their children.

Netflix, TV Recaps
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