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The Crown: Part Twenty: “Did you weep?”

By Michael Moriarty
web posted August 17, 2020

Thursday.

Following the previous Friday’s murderous collapse of the coal mine in Aberfan, Wales, the Queen’s husband, Prince Phillip, visits the site of the tragedy.

While seeing Elizabeth’s husband, standing at a memorial service for the victims, we view the small size of so many caskets belonging to children.

An almost annoyingly long memorial sermon, filled with endless excerpts from the Holy Bible, drones over the film’s editing.

As described in this episode’s printed comment, “Elizabeth and Wilson struggle with their responses,” while her almost pointless husband fills in for her, as the Royal Highness’ continuing, heartless refusal to visit Aberfan herself remains painfully obvious.

The Prince’s face, unquestionably, exudes his own disappointment and, yes, mild disgust with his Queen’s decision to stay away from Aberfan.

Later, at home and in the darkened room where the Prince broods and the Queen is seen approaching?

He begins to describe the agony rumbling beneath the civilized behavior within a burial service for the children, previously and already buried under the fallout of an earthly avalanche!

The Queen asks, out of her stone face, “Did you weep?”

Knowing that the Queen was incapable of even appearing at the Memorial Service, let alone the utter impossibility of her shedding tears, perhaps over anything?!

The Prince remains silent.

Friday.

The Queen and her unavoidably scandalous lack of heart and any form of human sympathy are now hitting the headlines.

It is the Conservative Elites, the so-called “Nobility” and especially the Queen who are to blame for the tragedy of Aberfan!

The Prime Minister, of the Labor Party, has NOT been blamed.

The gloves are now off and the class warfare that can, indeed, end in revolution has now begun.

As the Queen with her diary, which for this day, Saturday, only has a one word entry: “Aberfan”…as she sits in silence, the truth of, perhaps, her greatest mistake as a monarch is written within the immovability of her increasingly morose-looking face.

She knows there is no alternative but to visit Aberfan.

Her aid tells her that the entire visit should last about 2½ hours. He adds that “a display of emotion would not just be considered appropriate. It’s expected.”

Can a woman who considers herself a CROWN?!?!

An immovable object that sits upon a head.

In fact, HER head?!

Can anyone sanely expect a CROWN to be able to WEEP?!

We shall see.

With all of our eyes glued to the Queen’s face as she gazes out at the village of Aberfan?!

We await even the slightest glimpse of feeling beneath her clearly stone but increasingly challenged face!

If only the very moving French horn in the film score behind this drama had been audible to the Queen, it might have helped.

I’M tearing up while trying, as an exercise, to play the Queen and avoid such a display.

As she passes all of the wreaths and flowers that adorn the painfully long, mass grave, and stops to lay her own wreath upon it?!

She bows her head in prayer.

That’s it.

Greeting a few families of the dead children with a handshake, she’s introduced to a father who lost seven children in the nightmare.

“Seven?!” she almost whispers and then says nothing else.

As she encounters the line of grieving parents, quietly but still unemotionally saying, “Sorry” to them, she comes to the end of their assembly and is handed a few flowers as a thank you from the “few remaining children of Aberfan.

“Thank you,” says the Queen with a small but clearly heartfelt smile.

Arriving outside the meeting place to meet another small crowd, she lifts a handkerchief to an eye that may or may not be containing a tear.

Her brief head nods to the assembly do contain the face of a woman who has been trained NOT to show emotions but, indeed, clearly does have feelings boiling beneath the surface.

After all, despite being the CROWN, she is, indeed, a human being.

The visit ends in the plane that is flying away from THE NIGHTMARE.

In it, she asks an aide to tell the Prime Minister she wishes to meet with him, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

Of course, she doesn’t say it in the way I’ve printed it, but, as before, that is what is boiling underneath.

She confronts PM Wilson with the evidence that he and/or his cabal deliberately embarrassed the Queen into visiting Aberfan.

“Perhaps they’re right,” she says. “The people of Aberfan, they deserved a display of compassion, of empathy from their Queen.”

“And,” says Wilson, “they got it yesterday!”

“They got nothing,” snaps the Queen. “I dabbed a bone-dry eye and by some miracle no one noticed.”

“After the blitz,” she continues, “When we visited hospitals, I saw what my parents, the King and Queen saw. They wept! I couldn’t!!”

“You were a child,” responds Wilson. “What do you expect?!”

“Not just as a child. When my grandmother, Queen Mary, whom I loved very much, when she died? Nothing.”

“She’d been ill for a long time! It had been expected.”

“When I had my first child,” continues the Queen, “a moment of such significance to every mother, I had known for some time there was something wrong with me!”

“Not wrong,” he replies.

“Conditioned then! How else would you describe it, when something is missing?!”

After a long pause, the PM, of, of all things, Labor, begins, “These meetings are confidential.”

Then he continues, “I have never done a day’s manual labor in my life. Not one! I am an academic. Privileged, Oxford Don! Not a worker. I don’t like beer. I prefer brandy. I prefer wild salmon. Chateau Briand to steak and kidney pie. And I don’t like pipe smoking. I far prefer cigars. But cigars are a symbol of Capitalist Privilege! So, I smoke a pipe. On the campaign trail and not television. Makes me more approachable. Likable. We can’t be everything to everyone and still be true to ourselves. We do what we have to do as leaders. That’s our job. Our job is to calm more crises than we create. That’s our job and you do it very well indeed. In a way, your absence of emotion is a blessing. No one needs hysteria from a head of state. Truth is: we badly need humanity.”

The look on her face at this moment is the same woman, but the head of state trying to hold back her tears from having heard words she has, indeed, so badly needed all of her life!
She rises, holding out her hand, “Prime Minister!”

“Your Majesty!”

And then, after a bow of the head to the Queen, he quietly leaves the room, with only the sound of his footsteps to remind us that anyone had been with the Queen.

Then, a clear and clean sound of the door opening and closing.

The Queen then places a record into the phonograph,

Soon we hear the very chorale that was sung at the memorial service.

We cannot see the Queen’s face yet.

She is sitting, rather motionlessly, at her desk chair.

The camera, ever so slowly, closes in on the back of her chair.

That lonely and quite familiar French horn we have heard earlier, enters the music.

Then we cut to the tearless face of Queen Elizabeth.

However, we can, indeed, discern a small, developing tear drop in her left eye.

WOW!

It grows and finally?!

Drops onto her cheek.

That is film acting, directing and screen-writing?!

At its finest! ESR

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in the landmark television series Law and Order from 1990 to 1994. His recent film and TV credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, 12 Hours to Live, Santa Baby and Deadly Skies. Contact Michael at rainbowfamily2008@shaw.ca. He can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/@MGMoriarty

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