Vanessa Kirby), who fell in love with her father's equerry (assistant), Peter Townsend (Ben Miles), also divorced (both, 2 pictures below). Margaret was stopped first by the Cabinet and finally by the Queen, her hand forced by church dictates -- divorced parties with living ex-spouses were not welcome at court until 2002.
The depth of the emotion aroused in 'The Crown' surprises, since we know the story. One's satisfaction in this mini-series (and two other good ones: Parade's End and Wolf Hall) is not about 'what happens' but the emotional experience and interior lives we come to share with the protagonists --moments of daily life 'pinned to the page' (a phrase of Hilary Mantel, author of the "Wolf Hall" novels) . Here we know fear, pain, and maturing resolve of the Queen, humiliation and acting-out by Philip, hate and loss in the Duke of Windsor, and the despair of Margaret (whose premature death was also smoking-related). "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" (Shakespeare).
John Lithgow who shrinks height but not moral or physical weight as he comes to life. Churchill mentors his Queen, crafts his moments in the limelight (below he's staged a late arrival to Elizabeth and Philip's wedding), manipulates his subordinates, and confronts aging and illness. Ach, the humiliation! Lithgow was genius casting. Churchill also offers example of a relentless visual through the 10 episodes, an enemy of golden regalia, that is tobacco smoke streaming unnoticed, poisoning the mightiest among them.
Jared Harris (above r), a fine actor, still could not make me suspend disbelief because he looks so unlike King George VI (above, l) no matter how well Harris plays death's door from the opening scene. Greg Wise (Mountbatten) has the Windsor look. The small girls who played young Elizabeth and Margaret were perfect, easy to picture growing up into the adult sisters. At any rate, for anyone into modern royalty, "the Crown" is 5-Star worthy. Below, from l, Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy), Prince Philip (Matt Smith), Queen Mary (Eileen Atkins), Queen ''Mum" Elizabeth (Victoria Hamilton).