“Two women running the show. That’s the last thing this country needs,” sneers Prince Philip in his blasé monotone.

The queen is quick to counter, “Perhaps that’s precisely what this country needs.”

Perhaps it was what the enormously popular Netflix original series The Crown needed too. Because season four is one of, if not the most gripping to date, and — for the first time since the show launched in 2016 — Elizabeth II is very often not the central character. There are two women who upstage her: Diana Spencer and Margaret Thatcher.

The season begins in 1977 and ends in 1990, an emotionally tempestuous period for the ruling House of Windsor. Many of us remember those real-life years, from unrest in Northern Ireland, to the Prince and Princess of Wales’ “fairytale” wedding, to the 10-week Falklands conflict between…

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