‘Matrimonium’ shifts our focus back into the heart of the Royal family. Specifically, the heart of Princess Margaret. The episode begins with her receiving a most painful letter from her former lover, Peter. He reveals to her that he has met a woman, only 19 years of age, and he intends to ask her to marry him. Before anything becomes public, he wanted to be sure Margaret would hear it from him first, as he knew this would feel like a deep betrayal.
After reading the letter, tears in her eyes, she pushes everything off of her table, shattering a vase. She’s crushed, but it isn’t just because he’s moved on. It’s also because she hasn’t. There is only one man that has captured her attention since Peter, one man who she could truly see herself marrying. That is, of course, the photographer she met only few episodes ago, Tony. The only problem is that he constantly talks of his disinterest in marriage. She knows he’s unconventional, it’s part of what draws her to him. But she can’t stay with him if he never wants to marry, and she makes that perfectly clear to him.
In this, the seventh episode, we find out quite a bit about Tony, and how his unconventional lifestyle is even more extreme than we originally thought. As it turns out, he has multiple sexual partners, all of whom (excluding Margaret) know about each other. He often engages in sexual activity with clients of his, and not all of his lovers are female. In fact, he often visits his best friend (who is a man, I should point out), and his wife. I don’t think I need to explain what they get up to.
But despite the fact that he’s against marriage and, from observation, monogamy, he is determined to make Margaret happy and marry her. But is that because he loves her? I’m not so sure. As we discover in this episode, Tony has quite a few issues with his mother, who has always been ambitious in climbing the social ladder. Her first husband, Tony’s father, wasn’t titled, but her second husband was. This makes her children by her second marriage also titled, above Tony. He clearly still feels hurt by this, but it seems he’s still desperate to impress her, though nothing he does is ever quite good enough. But a royal marriage? Well, that would certainly turn her head.
So, after picking up Margaret on his motorcycle and taking her back to his studio for a night of passionate and steamy sex, he gives her a box. And after digging through film and opening the multiple boxes inside, she finds the gorgeous ring. He won’t kneel, but he hopes it’s enough. Margaret can hardly believe it, and given his previous misgivings, it’s understandable! But she climbs onto his lap and kisses him. He asks her to promise that she’ll never bore him. She obliges, but only on the condition that he promises never to hurt her.
I honestly don’t know what to think of Tony. When we first met him, I was immediately intrigued and drawn to him, same as Margaret. I wanted to root for him, and thought he might actually be a good guy. Unconventional isn’t a bad thing. But disloyalty? That’s a different situation. And I think Margaret will agree. Tony is not at all what he originally seemed.
The Queen also has her doubts, but she keeps them to herself. After the disastrous scandal between Margaret and Peter, she’s determined to make this marriage go ahead as simply as possible. But unfortunately, as Michael tells her, there is a slight problem with the announcement. As Elizabeth tells Margaret over tea, she’s pregnant with her third child. And protocol dictates that while the Queen is with child, no other announcement in the family can be made until after the child is born. Margaret is happy for her sister, of course, but she feels more than a little slighted. Elizabeth promised she would not interfere with this marriage, and that’s exactly what it feels like she’s doing. But still, Elizabeth is determined to meet Margaret halfway. She’s decided to host a large party where they will show their support for Tony, and where he and Margaret can invite all of their friends. This is actually a very big thing for the Crown to do, considering most of the people attending will not be of noble birth.
The episode proceeds to jump forwards in time, as The Crown often does, to the night of the party. Elizabeth is quite clearly showing, and she seems to be slightly uncomfortable. And of course, the bigger she gets, the less she sees her toes. But as she hates her toes, she tells Philip, she really doesn’t mind. He gets up and smiles, telling her they’re the second best thing about her. She asks what the best thing is, and he smiles cheekily. “Two things, really,” he chuckles.
It’s these small, flirty, intimate scenes that are truly the most beautiful of the entire series. So much of the first season, and the beginning of the second, focused on the difficult, troubling times of Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage. Now, they seem closer than ever. More familiar, both which each other and their roles. And it’s really quite amazing to see what their marriage has become. In a way, they’re almost relationship goals.
The party itself is extremely lively, and though Elizabeth is clearly put off by the guests, she is sure to keep a smile on her face. But when she sees Tony interacting with a woman at the bar, she grows suspicious. As she should. The woman at the bar is none other than Camilla Fry, the wife of Tony’s soon-to-be best man, the same couple that he frequently has sex with. She reveals to Tony that she’s pregnant, and she’s sure it’s his child. Though Elizabeth can’t hear any of this, the look on their faces is enough to worry her. She quietly asks Michael to find out everything he can about Tony. If there are any skeletons in the closet, best they be discovered now. And discovered they are.
With the help of Tommy Lascelles, they find out about Tony’s multiple lovers, both female and male, and bring the delicate information to Elizabeth. She’s quite shaken, unsure of what to do with this knowledge. Margaret may feel it’s sabotage, or worse, she may believe her sister, but be unable to take another heartbreak so soon. The stress of the confrontation she’s facing proves to be a little too much, and appears to induce labor. She’s having the baby now.
The doctors put the Queen under for the delivery, and luckily, there don’t seem to be any complications. Both baby and mother are doing well. Margaret comes to visit shortly after the birth, congratulating her sister and ensuring that now her son is born, the engagement announcement can be made. Elizabeth keeps her promise, but asks her sister if she is sure she’s ready. If this isn’t some revenge on Peter for getting engaged, and that she is sure Tony is the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Margaret is offended at what her sister implies, but assures her she’s ready. She’s certain. And though Elizabeth wants to warn Margaret, she steps aside. It’s her life, it’s her choice.
The wedding rivals that of Elizabeth and Philip’s. People line the streets, cheering at a mere glimpse of Margaret. She rides with Philip, and it seems he will be the one to give her away. Tony, meanwhile, rides in a car with his mother, and lightly prods, hoping she’s finally proud of her eldest son. She looks at him and says bluntly that she dearly hopes he didn’t do all of this for her. But unfortunately, that’s exactly what the look on his face suggests.
The last scene shows the guests arriving at the abbey, with the voices of Margaret and Tony saying their vows ringing faintly overhead. They are married. But whether this marriage is for better or worse has yet to be discovered. One thing is certain, however: things aren’t looking good.
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