How a Netflix series about the Swedish monarchy became an international sensation
The Netflix series The Crown, following Queen Elizabeth II’s daily life in residence at Buckingham Palace with Prince Philip, is a royal soap opera in all but name. Every episode opens up the court, but it’s the palace in-the-round that’s the center of attention.
Buckingham Palace, for example, is the focus of the ninth episode, which deals with the Queen’s decision last year to cut her public engagements, as reported by the British press. The Palace was forced to issue an apology; Philip was forced to explain why he hadn’t done so himself, and the Queen, who had not been told of the decision until after it was made, has had to answer awkward questions for the next three months about why she chose to do something on the spur of the moment.
The series debuted on Netflix last December, and it will continue to be available worldwide on the streaming service. However, it was not easy to get the series noticed abroad. In April, after a screening in a small country theater in Denmark, The Telegraph found more than 200 people in the audience, at least half of whom were from other parts of Europe and America. There were also more than 200 people in the lobby, who, from the description, seemed to be members of the royal family.
“It’s a show on the life of a queen,” said Alexander Pevsner of The Telegraph. “It’s kind of like a soap opera, with a small twist, in the first place.”
It’s a series about a royal family in a soap opera setting, with all the trappings of a great drama — the power struggles, the high and low points, the occasional betrayal, the intrigue and back-stabbing, the politics and personalities — but told with a fresh, irreverent tone in a way that seems entirely