If you’re anything like us, you’ve already binged most (if not all) of the fourth season of Netflix’s The Crown. The new episodes, which dropped Nov. 15, have already drummed up plenty of excitement online for both royal watchers and the uninitiated. In many ways, it’s the season we’ve all been waiting for – after all, it features the early days of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage, and what TV addict could possibly tear themselves away from that level of royal scandal?
But there are plenty of smaller iconic moments that deserve recognition as well. From Diana’s choice of engagement ring and Queen Elizabeth’s indoor purse to Margaret Thatcher’s blue wool suit, we’ve got the scoop on some of the backstories from these under-the-radar moments.
Related: New Princess Diana documentary set for 2022 theatrical release.
Princess Diana’s engagement ring
There’s an early scene in The Crown where Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) mulls over three possible engagement rings while her fiance Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and his mum, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman), look on. Although Diana briefly lifts the one featuring a red diamond out its case for closer inspection, royal watchers already know which one the future People’s Princess will select – the 12-karat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold. Nowadays, you can see the hefty ring on the hand of Diana’s daughter-in-law Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (above). Crafted by former crown jeweller Garrard, the iconic engagement ring featured 14 diamonds and was modelled after a brooch worn by Queen Victoria on her wedding day as her “something blue.”
Yet, many were surprised by Diana’s choice back in 1981. After all, the ring, which cost $37,000 (USD), was already available for purchase to the general public through Garrard’s jewellery collection. Why would a future queen not opt for something that was one-of-a-kind? Although we don’t know for certain, many have speculated that it reminded the young soon-to-be-royal of her own mother’s engagement ring. Regardless of her reasons, it’s been a constant source of fascination for the public ever since. When Diana’s eldest son, Prince William, proposed to Kate Middleton with the ring, he told reporters that it was a “way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement.”
Related: 1o times Meghan Markle and Princess Diana inspired our street style.
Queen Elizabeth’s ever-present purse
If we took a random survey of 100 people, we’re fairly confidence most would agree that purses are an outdoor accessory. But as The Crown has made apparent in the latest season, that’s not the case for Her Majesty. Eagle-eyed observers have noticed that multiple scenes feature the queen toting around her iconic black Launer handbag on the crook of her left elbow – even when she’s simply wandering the halls of Buckingham Palace. So, what gives?
According to sources, the monarch sees her beloved purse as an essential part of her outfit. Imagine forgetting your phone in one wing of your lavish palace and having to trudge all the way back to collect your things. Simply put, it’s the easiest way for Her Majesty to keep all her essentials (phone? journal? tiara?) on hand as she walks from room-to-room. Phil Dampier, author of What’s In The Queen’s Handbag: And Other Royal Secrets, revealed to HELLO! that she carries everything from reading glasses to treats for her beloved corgis. If that’s not the most wholesome tidbit you’ve read today, we don’t know what is.
Related: 15 bizarre royal family holiday rules they’re not allowed to break.
Margaret Thatcher’s bold blue suit
If you’ve already relished every minute of Gillian Anderson’s scene-stealing performance as former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher (seriously, just give her the Emmy already), then you’ve probably also noticed that the Iron Lady loved her blue – “conservative” blue, to be exact. In the first handful of episodes alone, it was Maggie’s go-to shade of choice. Most iconic, however, was when she wore a bold blue wool suit for her official Downing Street portrait. Surrounded by a sea of black suited men, Thatcher stood out – which was, no doubt, exactly her intention.
The suit, made by London-based couture house, Aquascutum, appeared in their 1980 catalogue. Thatcher favoured it for its quintessentially conservative blue colour. As the first, and only, female British prime minister, Thatcher opted for crisp business suits that sent a clear political message regarding her political affiliations and her sex. Message received.
The fourth season of The Crown is now available to stream on Netflix Canada.