If you needed any indication we were going to catch back up to the events of the premiere this episode, the title was your first clue. By the end of “Lisbon,” we’re back on the royal yacht in Portugal, watching Elizabeth and Philip try to work out how to keep their marriage together — because, as we’ve heard numerous times now, divorce is not an option.
PREVIOUSLY: The Crown recap: ‘A Company of Men’
Before that, however, they’re still separated by oceans and all the issues between them, but Elizabeth needs to soldier on at home. So she points out on a globe for Charles and Anne all the places that Philip is traveling to and sits everyone down to watch the film reels he’s sent back of the journey, reading the commentary he sent to accompany them, and looking/sounding like the perfect family man. She seems to be enjoying it, but — and perhaps it’s just me — I thought I saw her face falter once or twice, which could be reconciling this man with the one who had the portrait of a ballerina in his briefcase. But she writes him a sweet letter in return, filled with things he can’t read to his fellow bros on board.
The other bit of on-shore/off-shore marital drama continuing to roil the palace (and the newspapers) is Mike and Eileen Parker. Armed with the Thursday Club letter as evidence, Eileen does intend to go through with suing Mike for a divorce, and when her attorney gives the palace a heads up they are none to happy about it. For this, Michael Adeane goes for the big guns — bringing longtime royal private secretary Tommy Lascelles out of retirement to assist with the damage control. But his attempt to “run into” Eileen Parker in a local park (casual, dude) doesn’t deter her from wanting to move forward.
There’s also the issue of Prime Minister Eden … or, should we say, former Prince Minister Eden. His return from those three weeks he spent in Jamaica for his health (I’d love to try that, please) is met with a cold reception from his cabinet and party, who want him out for damaging the country’s international reputation and cutting out in the middle of an economic and diplomatic crisis. Soon enough, he’s informing the queen of his resignation, and while she admits to thinking he made some missteps (that’s putting it lightly) she’s also sympathetic to him spending so long in Winston Churchill’s shadow and wanting to do something big to step out of it. Next up? His successor, a man named Harold Macmillan, who tries to pass off any blame for the Suez Crisis and is promptly shut down by the queen, who reminds him he was a loud voice in favor of the way. “One always has to accept one’s own part, I believe, in any mess,” she observes. Well said, your majesty.
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