Warning: This post contains spoilers about Season 4, Episode 4 of Netflix’s “The Crown.”
“The Crown” is set in the 1980s in its fourth season, but a conversation between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew in Episode 4 will sound eerily familiar to anyone who has read about the Prince’s resignation from his royal duties in the wake of his alleged involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal last year.
The Duke of York came under public scrutiny in 2019 when details of his friendship with deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein — a convicted sex offender who was arrested that year for sex-trafficking involving underage girls — raised questions about the Prince’s possible participation in Epstein’s illicit affairs. One of Epstein’s most outspoken victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has said that he forced her to have sex with several of his friends, including Prince Andrew, who has repeatedly denied the accusations.
In the episode, titled “Favourites,” the Queen (Olivia Colman) decides to set up lunches with each of her four children after Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) suggests that every parent has a favorite child. Though she claims not to have one, it soon appears that Andrew (Tom Byrne) is her favorite — and after she talks with him, she tells Philip that she fears something bad may befall their son “if he doesn’t change.”
During their conversation, Andrew tells the Queen about his girlfriend, an American actress who starred in the British film “The Awakening of Emily.” “The Crown” is known for its efforts to be historically accurate, and this part is true — the girlfriend in question is actress Koo Stark, who really did date Prince Andrew after starring in the 1976 film.
Referring to Stark as “this latest one,” Andrew says she’s “quite something,” to which the Queen responds, “Oh yes, the young, racy, American actress. Not sure which of those words makes my heart sink most.”
“You mustn’t believe what you read,” Andrew says. “You’re not familiar with ‘The Awakening of Emily’? I’m not sure it’s your cup of tea. And not because it’s blue.” (“Blue” is a descriptor for films of pornographic nature.)
Here’s where the conversation takes a turn for the ironic.
“Set in the 1920s, it follows an impressionable, nubile, 17-year-old girl,” Andrew says of the film.
“17? I’m not sure I want to know more,” the Queen says.
“Don’t be such a prude, Mummy,” Andrew continues. “The story is that she returns home from finishing school in Switzerland to her mother’s country house in the English countryside… There she meets several twisted and perverted older predators who seduce the vulnerable, helpless young Emily, as we follow her induction into sensory pleasures.”
Yes, that really is the plot of “The Awakening of Emily,” but if it sounds otherwise familiar, take a look back at the testimonies of some of Epstein’s victims, like Guiffre and Jennifer Araoz.
“Yes, you’re right, doesn’t sound blue at all,” the Queen says with her characteristically dry sense of humor. “Are you sure it was even legal?”
Andrew’s reply: “Who cares?”
Though it’s difficult to know whether that conversation really happened between them in real life, Prince Andrew has addressed his relationship with Epstein at length in his now-infamous BBC interview, which is said to have been the reason the Queen decided to cancel his 60th birthday party last year.
According to the Prince, he met Epstein through his then-girlfriend in 1999. Although the Prince says that he and Epstein weren’t that close, there is evidence to the contrary. The two attended several dinners, parties and fundraisers together, and the Prince even threw a birthday party for Epstein’s close associate Ghislaine Maxwell at Sandringham House, the Queen’s private home, in 2000, according to the Guardian.
Prince Andrew was also seen with Epstein and Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, that same year, and he and Epstein were photographed together in 2001 on a yacht in Phuket, Thailand, along with several young women.
Season 4 of “The Crown” is now streaming on Netflix.