The Netflix series The Crown is a very popular title for the streaming service. Set against the backdrop of some of the most significant events of the latter half of the 20th century, the drama series centres on Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy), and Prince Philip, the Duke Of Edinburgh (Matt Smith) – and all the romance and political machinations that swirl around them.
In such heady narratives, we might expect a number of glamorous love scenes – particularly given the level of chemistry between the leads, and the scandals that have played out around the monarch. But, the show has apparently taken a very particular stance on the issue.
Now that a second season is upon us, actress Vanessa Kirby (playing Princess Margaret – sister of Queen Elizabeth II) has been explaining the lack of sex scenes in The Crown, saying that there was originally one in there, but it was ultimately cut.
“We had a big debate on whether to show royal boob or not. We decided they don’t want to see royal boob, thank God… There was originally a sex scene between Margaret and Antony [Armstrong-Jones, played by Matthew Goode] that was supposed to be really important for her to finally meet her man, come together with him. It wasn’t raunchy at all in the end, it was respectful.”
Evidently, not respectful enough – as the sex scene in question never made it to the screen. The reason this is an interesting approach is that it’s unusual for a high profile television show about powerful and influential people to avoid such scenes. Even in terms of the British Monarchy, the 2007 TV dramatization of the reign of Henry VIII – The Tudors – was filled with various levels of nudity and depictions of sex, which was something that helped make the show very popular overseas. Netflix, in particular, is a streaming platform that does not need to adhere to the regular conventions of network television, and so it’s notable that The Crown would purposefully choose to avoid the inclusion of sex scenes.
Of course, it’s important to note that Henry VIII is no longer in a position to object to his onscreen portrayal, while Queen Elizabeth II is still very much a part of the daily fabric of the nation. The sex scene discussed here may not have involved her, but it’s not difficult to imagine that the Monarch would wish to see her late sister’s character depicted with sensitivity and respect.
The Crown – both season 1 and 2 – is available on Netflix now.