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The Disney References You Didn't Notice In The Crown's Fairytale Episode

Like every season that's come before it, season 4 of The Crown has captivated audiences. The series focuses on the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, portrayed to perfection by Olivia Colman. The most recent season examines her life from the late 1970s throughout the 1980s, which sees the Queen go toe-to-toe with the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). It also introduces audiences to Princess Diana (Emma Corrin), who strikes up a relationship with Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) that shakes up the Royal Family. 

Princess Diana remains a beloved figure. She was the People's Princess because where everyone else in the Royal Family came across as snooty, she was warm and inviting. She was set to be the wife of a future king like in a real-life fairytale. That connection clearly wasn't lost on the people behind-the-scenes of The Crown. In episode 3 of season 4, "Fairytale," Diana moves to Buckingham Palace after Charles's proposal to receive "princess training," and director Benjamin Caron recently took to Instagram to make the parallels between Diana's journey and that of a Disney princess abundantly clear.

"Fairytale" contains numerous allusions to Cinderella

The same way Cinderella was a fish-out-of-water at the Prince's celebration, Diana felt very much out of place when she went to Buckingham Palace for the first time. After Prince Charles's proposal, Diana's personality doesn't mesh well with those in the Royal Family, particularly when it comes to Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell). It's easy to draw similarities between the real Diana and fictitious Cinderella, and it appears Benjamin Caron, who directed the "Fairytale" episode, took some visual cues from the Disney film based on the latter. 

When you go to Caron's Instagram feed, which has been conveniently compiled in this helpful Reddit post, you can see a bunch of side-by-side comparisons from the episode alongside the 1950 film. A great deal of subtlety went into the cinematography, but it's abundantly clear seeing the dual shots Caron wanted to make a parallel between Diana's journey and that of Cinderella's. 

The way in which Diana and Cinderella look at their princes in a remarkably similar manner is uncanny. You can also see the influence in the shots where the women look out the window in a moment of melancholy. However, one of the most fun shots comes toward the end of the episode when Queen Elizabeth II watches a fireworks display outside the castle window. It's delightfully reminiscent of the opening title sequence before every Disney movie where fireworks go off outside Cinderella's castle. 

These brief moments are fun Easter eggs in an episode that feels like what would really happen if Cinderella, a scullery maid, actually wanted to marry a prince. You can binge-watch all of The Crown season 4 on Netflix now to watch this royal story. Just go in knowing it may be a while until we see the final season air