The Crown has been exploring the lives of the royal family for three seasons now with two more to go. The hit drama series has proved to be popular with Netflix subscribers, as the makers are fond of hinting that the show has royal approval from the Queen herself.
As with any show, though, The Crown does have its ups and downs. While some episodes leave the audience on the edge of their seats with anticipation, others fall short. That being said, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best episodes of The Crown for you to enjoy, ranked.
10. Paterfamilias (Season 2, Episode 9)
This episode of The Crown centers upon Philip, who insists that Prince Charles attend his alma mater in Scotland. In doing so, Philip begins to reminisce about all of his life-changing experiences and hardship that he experienced there, making for a nostalgic episode for the prince.
Besides the nostalgia in the episode, “Paterfamilias” is quite devastating, as it shows young Philip walking behind the caskets of his sister and the entire family, past a sea of Nazi salutes. It also shows us a young Charles, who couldn’t handle completing the gueling Annual Challenge. All of the events in the flashbacks to the past of the episode definitely tug on viewers’ heartstrings, so make sure you have a box of tissues nearby.
9. Bubbikins (Season 3, Episode 4)
This next episode of The Crown, titled “Bubbikins”, revolves around Phillip’s mother, Princess Alice of Greece. Alice has been left without a home by a political coup in Athens, but the Queen fortunately comes to her rescue and invites her to stay at Buckingham Palace.
Also taking place in this episode is Philip attempting to sway public opinion after he cries in an interview over the Queen’s lack of a pay raise in more than a decade. In an effort to transform the royal family’s image from boring to lively, he decides to create a reality TV show, called Royal Family.
In this episode, we learn further about Alice’s trauma in her life, as well as get a further glimpse into the crazy schemes that Philip tries to pull off in the show.
8. Scientia Potentia Est (Season 1, Episode 7)
In this episode, Elizabeth is put front-and-center as she hires a tutor out of frustration from her inadequate education. From her experience with the tutor, she begins to take more agency in her life once she becomes aware of her own limitations.
While it’s a little sad to watch Elizabeth realize how little she knows, it’s also satisfying to watch her growth from her experiences. In the episode, we also begin to understand Elizabeth’s true intelligence and watch her develop a new-found confidence.
7. Hyde Park Corner (Season 1, Episode 2)
In the second episode of the first season, things get quite emotional for the royal family, as King George passes away. Although it was inevitable, it was upsetting. But, the show reflected mid-episode on some great moments for the character before the tragic event.
When King George becomes too ill to travel. In his place, Elizabeth and Phillip begin a four-continent Commonwealth tour. Later in the episode, though, party leaders attempt to undermine Churchill.
6. Marionettes (Season 2, Episode 5)
In this next episode, Queen Elizabeth is under fire after making an insensitive speech with an outdated perspective. In an attempt to display where she went wrong, Lord Altrincham, a journalist of the National English Review, publishes an article giving examples of exactly how she’s living in the past.
Not only does Altrincham point out ways in which Elizabeth went wrong in her tone-deaf speech, but he also provides her with ways to modernize her perspective before she becomes irrelevant and the monarchy dies off.
5. Assassins (Season 1, Episode 9)
The ninth episode of the first season centers around Winston Churchill in the months leading up to his 80th birthday. The episode also features his resignation from the post of Prime Minister. But for a majority of the episode, it actually revolves solely around Churchill getting his portrait painted.
The episode doesn’t shed the most positive light on Winston Churchill, as we see him attempt to give painting advice to a professional artist, then throw a tantrum when he doesn’t like how the painting turns out. This is mainly because it actually portrays what he really looks like, rather than his ideal version of himself.
4. Dear Mrs. Kennedy (Season 2, Episode 8)
In this episode of The Crown, the plot focuses on the fictionalized relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Jacequeline Kennedy. Previously, the two met when the royals had the Kennedys over for dinner. Plus, the two hung out one more time before the assassintation of President Kennedy.
The episode is just another example of how we see Elizabeth’s growth throughout the show, as she learns a valuable lesson from Jacequeline Kennedy to help resolve an issue in Ghana.
3. Vergangenheit (Season 2, Episode 6)
Taking place right at the end of World War II, this episode focuses on the Windsor File that was a part of 400 tons of documents and evidence that made up Marburg Files. During this time period, Nazis were making deals with allied forces and trading information for their lives. While the events of World War II weren’t brand new information, what was found in the Windsor file certainly was.
In the contents of the file, it is full of German documents that detail King Edward VIII’s involvement with the Nazis. Now, Elizabeth must decide if she’s able to forgive Edward for his past, or if she can’t put it behind her. Later on, she does consider forgiving him once she hears from him directly how he only worked with Germany as a way to bring about peace. According to him, all he wanted was to avoid bringing about the horror of World War I for a second time.
2. Tywysog Cymru (Season 3, Episode 6)
This episode of the crown centers upon Prince Charles, who is sent to Aberystwyth to learn Welsh. With the help of an ardent nationalist, Charles is expected to learn the new language in preparation for the ceremony for his investiture as Prince of Wales.
On the day of his ceremony, Charles gives a more personalized Welsh version of the speech with the help of his tutor. He adheres to protocol as well as mentions the importance of Welsh transition and culture and continuing to preserve them. Although he was reluctant to learn the new language and wasn’t welcomed with open arms, Charles was able to successfully pull off the speech.
1. Aberfan (Season 3, Episode 3)
Sitting at the top of The Crown’s best episodes is the third episode of season 3. In the events of the episode, the Queen is faced with having to visit the town of Aberfan, after a horrible disaster leaves scores of children dead.
But when she takes a week to decide on whether or not to go and offer solace to its people, she finds herself in hot water as it gives her a bad image. Once the Queen makes her visit, she sheds a tear when faced with the events that took place at Aberfan. Later on, though, we learn that it was all done for effect as she admits it was a dry eye. We also learn that the Queen struggles to express her emotions, or even feel them at all. But, the episode ends with a heartfelt scene, as the Queen genuinely cries at the end of the episode while listening to a hymn sung at the burials in Wales.