Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Explores The Queen’s Faith
By Fin Sheridan
Warning, there’s a few spoilers here. Nothing too serious though. Don’t be cross.
Like millions of others, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of season 2 of Netflix’s original drama ‘The Crown’. Eye-wateringly expensive (rumoured to have cost over $130million!), stunningly shot and with riveting performances from Claire Foy and Matt Smith, season 1 was absolutely marvellous. Season 2 is now available on Netflix and here’s my first spoiler: It’s brilliant.
During episode 6, we see the Queen Mother and the Queen watching a man speak on television. To many Christians, that man is instantly recognisable. It is Billy Graham. The Queen Mother is unimpressed “Are those people crying? What’s happening to this country?” but the young evangelist makes an impression on the Queen.
She invites Graham to preach at Windsor Chapel and then hosts him for lunch. In the episode, Graham asks some questions from Colossians 1:27 about what it means to be a Christian. Cleverly, this is central to the other main thread of the episode, as the Queen is exploring how to forgive her uncle for his Nazi sympathies. After the sermon, Billy Graham and the Queen sit down for a conversation.
“The episode explores Elizabeth’s desire to be a simple Christian and to live rooted in Christian values.“
The Queen expresses her appreciation for how he “provides certainty in an increasingly complex world” and Graham points back to how it is the Scriptures that do that. The world we’re in now is even more complex (and I’m sure it will be another 50 years from now) yet still Billy Graham’s response is the right and true one: the Bible is the firm foundation to help us navigate the times we are in. She then goes on to say that “The great joy I felt today was that of a simple congregant, being taught, being led.” The scene explores Elizabeth’s desire to be a simple Christian and to live rooted in Christian values. Whilst some of the details are artistic license, the Queen and Billy Graham have enjoyed a friendship and have met many times, both privately and at public events.
It was refreshing to see faith portrayed in a way that resonated with my own life. Elizabeth was moved by Billy Graham’s certainty and seemed to want that for herself. Her questions were authentic, her desire genuine. Paul Sparks’ Billy Graham is very well acted; a man of conviction and passion, yet personable and attentive in way that seems genuinely Christlike.
‘The Crown’ is a masterpiece in many ways but especially because of how personal it makes such a public figure. As it explores marriage, power, politics in big and significant ways, its thoughtful and real exploration of how faith should inform and guide our choices was well worth a watch.