The Crown season 4 review: Excruciating viewing for the Royals as Emma Corrin dazzles as Diana

IF the first three series of The Crown were uncomfortable viewing for the royal family, season four will be excruciating.

They are portrayed as cruel, neglectful, unscrupulous hypocrites who are not only disloyal to one another, but also terrifyingly out of touch with the country.

But what makes the latest instalments disturbing is what makes them the most sensational. By comparison, the first three seasons feel like prequels that were just building up this moment.

And the whole whirlwind inevitably revolves around the arrival of the late Princess Diana who is almost brought back to life by brilliant newcomer Emma Corrin.

From the shy smile, to the cocked head and whispered voice, the actress has perfectly captured the mouse that eventually roared.

As for the heartbreaking bulimia scenes, they’re explicit without being gratuitous.

Josh O’Connor plays second fiddle to her as Prince Charles, but he’s still impressive as her selfish, insensitive husband who can’t help but return to his mistress and true love, Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Meanwhile, the Queen desperately tries to keep their crumbling marriage together – not for the sake of love but the sake of the family’s reputation and the future of the Crown.

After an uncertain performance in series three, Olivia Colman really embodies Her Majesty this time round and, at times, is shockingly cold and intimidating.

That leads to some spectacular clashes with her Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which sees Gillian Anderson deliver a passable Maggie, and a more human version of the ex-PM.

In one row the Queen tells the PM that she’s worried her harsh policies may combat inflation and interests but says she’s worried about Britain’s “moral economy”.

But on the basis of her own family’s behaviour – particularly their treatment of Diana – it’s the Windsors who are left looking morally bankrupt.

The Crown season four premieres on Netflix on Sunday, November 15.

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