The Crown season 4, episode 6 recap – what happened in “Terra Nullius”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 15, 2020 (Last updated: November 29, 2023)
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Netflix series The Crown season 4, episode 6 - Terra Nullius


“Terra Nullius” is an explosive chapter that captures the problems Charles and Diana had. Once again, the series encourages sublime performances, and ironically, Emma Corrin steals the show for her portrayal of young Diana.

This recap of Netflix’s The Crown season 4, episode 6, “Terra Nullius” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

“Terra Nullius” begins in ABC Studios, Canberra, Australia — 26th February 1993. Australian Prime Minister candidate Bob Hawke is interviewed due to an upcoming election — he’s asked about welcoming Prince Charles, but he isn’t entirely enthusiastic about the crown. He wants Australian interests to be prioritized, and he doesn’t consider the Royal Family to be important. Back in the UK, Elizabeth hears that Bob Hawke has won the election.

Rumors of a wretched marriage

And like other tours we have seen previously in The Crown, it’s important for Elizabeth that Prince Charles and Princess Diana have a successful tour in Australia, however, she hears from Princess Margaret that Diana has been depressed and the marriage is wretched; rumors have now spread in the family that she’s been forcing herself to throw up due to her unhappiness. You can slowly feel the Royal Family turn against Diana because she does not bend to their rules.

Wishing the couple luck

Charles is continuing to be in the same circles as Camilla. The pair tell a hunting story to an audience, and the chemistry is there to see. The scene quickly flits to Elizabeth wishing Charles and Diana luck — Elizabeth explains that her tour in Australia made her closer with Philip. It’s a hint by Elizabeth, almost an order. It’s quite uncomfortable to see all this forced.

Bringing the baby to Australia

On the plane, their advisor lists the schedule, but Diana is frustrated with how their baby hasn’t been taken into consideration. She tries to make the adviser understand that the baby requires a mother. The adviser tells her that she married a Prince, and it’s her duty and service to the crown to follow her duties. Diana is furious and stands her ground by saying that the best way she can serve the crown is ensuring that William grows up to be a decent human being. Diana is showing a mother’s love in “Terra Nullius” while battling with her internal struggles with Charles.

A flaky first conference

In their first press conference, Diana struggles with the questions, and Charles helps. There are questions about the costs of the trip, and Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke is happy that there’s a resistance against the Royal Family.

Reuniting with their child

At one point, Diana is walking up a hill, and she is struggling with the heat. Charles tells her to pull it together — the lack of sympathy for his wife does not put him in a good light at all. Later on, Charles rings Camilla and calls Diana pathetic — Camilla tells him to ring her regularly so that she can cheer him up. Diana is still frustrated that her son is not with them and demands that she can see him. The adviser reroutes the schedule so they can reunite with their child. But what was shocking is how the advisor made it feel like it was an inconvenience for the mother to see her child.

A fresh start

Later in the day, Diana raises to Charles how bad it has got for her. Charles explains he knows how bad it has gotten due to the rumors with the staff. Diana asks to be heard and be appreciated and not overlooked. Charles expresses how he is often overlooked, and he also craves recognition.

Diana then raises Camilla, the elephant in the room — they argue about her and how they don’t have the same passion. Diana states that Camilla and Charles are perfect for each other. Charles tells Diana that he loves her and that she is his wife. This lightens the mood, and they start complimenting each other — they both agree that they need to encourage and support each other; to have a fresh start. It’s a scene of couples self-counseling, but there’s a murky undergrowth to it all — we know that this is not the end of their problems.

A happier tour

The rest of the tour appears to be a success now that Charles and Diana have found common ground and reminded each other of their love. One morning, Camilla calls, but Charles does not accept it. Bob Hawke is frustrated that the country is warming to the Royal Couple.

Diana is the show

Diana really laps up the crowds, and Charles looks proud of her for once. Their pivotal conversation seems to have changed everything. Back at home, Anne makes a smart remark to Elizabeth that Charles and Diana have gotten bigger crowds than what she got. Anne raises how this was meant to be Charles’ grand debut, but it’s become all about Diana — the public has attached to her as a dedicated mother; they love that she is seen as a real person.

Feeling left out

And Anne was right, and the repercussions of Diana’s fame has taken a toll on Charles. “Terra Nullius” has another turning point in their marriage.

At one point in the tour, Charles and Diana separate to go to different events. Crowds are disappointed that Diana didn’t show up to an event Charles went to and he is booed. Charles starts to feel that the country is interested in Diana, not him. Eventually, Charles gets angry at Diana that he’s starting to get booed. He blames her for all of this at a tense political time, but Diana reminds him that crowds have turned up because of her. Charles childishly shuts the door on her. What’s bamboozling about this scene is Charles believes Diana can control how people respond to her — he asked her to follow the schedule and to enjoy the trip; she did that, and he’s still not happy. Diana is being blamed for being her.

Even the PM has praise

Charles and Diana meet Prime Minister Bob Hawke. The PM tells Charles that they are their own country now — he praises how the whole country has set back the cause of Republicanism due to Diana’s popularity. With Charles and Diana struggling again, Diana is making herself throw up. When they return to the UK, they both head to different locations.

The ending

“Terra Nullius” ends with Diana desperate to be heard, but she feels the true weight of what it is like to be part of the crown.

Diana arranges a meeting with the Queen. She tells Elizabeth that she’s struggling and her marriage is in tatters; she raises how Charles resents the attention she gets. Elizabeth does not feel it’s right to stick knives into Charles and asks Diana if she enjoys her success a bit too much. Diana feels that the family resents her, and she wants Elizabeth’s love and approval. Elizabeth tries to end the meeting early, but Diana gets up and hugs her with tears in her eyes and asks her not to push her away. The Queen walks off as she’s unable to understand the warmth of a tight hug.

Elizabeth tells the Queen Mother, Anne, and Margaret about Diana’s hug. She wonders if the Royal Family is a bit “too tough” sometimes, and maybe the family needs someone like Diana. The women tell her that Diana will either bend to the family or break — these were cold, cruel words.

The Crown season 4, episode 6 is an explosive chapter that captures the problems Charles and Diana had. Once again, the series encourages sublime performances, and ironically, Emma Corrin steals the show for her portrayal of young Diana.

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