Recently, I started watching The Crown. And by recently… I mean yesterday. As I’ve had happen in the past, what began as “lemme just see if I like it” quickly turned into “wait, how many episodes have I watched?”
Safe to say, I like it. It’s changing how I think about royalty, in the same way that Designated Survivor changed how I think about the office of the President. Let me explain.
When I first saw Designated Survivor, I was fascinated by the premise… I didn’t even know that was a thing (although it totally makes sense). In case you haven’t seen the show, it’s a fictional drama about the designated survivor who becomes the President. A designated survivor is a member in the Presidential line of succession, who’s eligible to become president (natural-born citizen etc.).
In the show, he’s one of the lower ranking members in the line of succession… he’s over HUD I believe. And the worst happens… the White House is bombed, and to his shock (and the nation’s horror) he becomes President. Overnight, this man who was in politics more out of his wife’s ambition than his own, is forced to make incredibly difficult decisions.
Decisions I’ve never thought about. Like… the consequences of ordering a missile strike. He’s up late at night, thinking of the SEAL team who’s putting their lives on the line for the mission. These aren’t things that ever occurred to me. Of course I know they happen, but when it’s spoken about on the news, it somehow feels more nebulous.
Watching it unfold before your eyes is riveting, and stressful. And you’re just watching a fictional character on a fictional show, making a fictional decision, affecting fictional lives. But these things really do happen.
So, back to The Crown. In case you haven’t seen it, it begins with Prince Philip of Greece renouncing his title to become Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten of Her Majesty’s Naval Service. As you may know from history King George VI because sick and died at a fairly young age, meaning that Elizabeth became Queen years before anyone thought she would be.
And overnight, everything changed. Everything. Her husband could no longer escort her through the door, because The Crown must take precedence. There’s a moment, shortly after King George’s death, when the newly crowned Queen is coming down the hall, and her grandmother Queen Mary in full mourning veil, has to curtsey before her.
I’ve never known how awkward a curtsey can be.
I’ve never realized just how much work goes into being a queen. But it makes sense… they’re managing a country. Or in the instance of England.. many countries.
But one of the things that got my attention, was the letter from Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth. In it, she explains that she needs to not only mourn her father’s death, but the death of Elizabeth Mountbatten. For now that she’s queen, that woman doesn’t really exist anymore.
She goes on to say that the two women will be at odds throughout her life, but The Crown must always win. She also adds, that she’s seen 3 monarchies brought to their knees by a failure to separate personal indulgences from duty.
Now our businesses aren’t as serious as managing a country. And there’s something to be said for personal indulgence now and then… but I fully understand the 2 warring women. As a Mom, and an artist, and a business owner… the struggle to balance those worlds is real. Recently I was on a call, and someone said that they wished that they could mother like they didn’t have a business, and run a business like they didn’t have kid-responsibilities.
It’s tough to nail the balance of wanting your kids to see what you do, and be a part of that world… but not wanting to apologize for the argument in the background of your last voice message. To want to be with your kids and soak up every moment of their childhood… but to not want your expensive paints smeared on the wall. To struggle with guilt over whether you’re spending enough time with them, or wonder if you’re failing your business because it’s growing a little slower than some people.It's tough to balance wanting your kids to see what you do, but not wanting to have to apologize for the argument in the background of your last voice message... Click To Tweet
And if you’re a homeschool Mom, or your kiddos are still very young, there’s a whole new layer involved. A twinge of envy, when all the Moms in your group cheer because their kids are going back to school… followed by a flush of shame because you really do love teaching them. Most of the time. There was that one meltdown over division…
But you have to find the balance. And you have to teach your kids… this is Mommy’s work time. But follow through… when it’s play time, don’t be Entrepreneur Emily. Don’t think about your business, or check to see how your Instagram time-lapse video did. Turn off your notifications, and be present. Just be Mom. And when the kids are in bed, and you’re with your hubby… don’t think about the next project the kids have. Don’t go set up a Facebook ad. Be present. Be a wife. Because that’s one thing The Crown nailed…. it’s much easier if you’ve got a great spouse.
King George never wanted to be King in the first place. He was thrust into that role, much like the Designated Survivor was. But he tells Elizabeth, that the only thing that helped him, was her mother. And he asks if she has that in Philip.
My husband is also named Phillip (but with 2 “l’s”… it’s the man version of Anne with an “e”), and I could not do this without him. He believes in me, when I don’t. He urges me to invest in my business, when I insist that it’s not in the budget. He listens to me complain about unproductive days, or website misadventures, or terrible customer service from someone I buy from. He is quick to share my FB posts even though most of his friends don’t care.
I wish that Queen Mary wouldn’t have told Elizabeth that the Crown always takes precedence (although that conversation may not have really happened… but in show it did). I wish she would have told her… that when she’s attending to royal duties… Queen Elizabeth takes the lead. But when she’s home, behind closed doors, she’s just Elizabeth Mountbatten… the love of her husband’s life, and the light of her children’s lives.