The Crown‘s fourth season finally introduces a long-awaited woman. No, not Princess Diana (well, her too)—the Iron Lady herself, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. And introduce herself she does, greeting Queen Elizabeth with a strangely low-flying curtsy.
Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson, repeats the curious move often enough that it becomes something of a minor plot point, and begs the question: did the real Prime Minister curtsy like that?
Indeed, it appears that she did. It’s not only visually documented in several vintage photographs, which show her hitting the deck for both the Queen and the Queen Mother, but well-remembered among the Brits.
In his 2002 biography, Elizabeth: The Woman and the Queen, Graham Turner wrote that Thatcher was so in awe of the Queen that “her curtsey [sic] almost reached Australia.” (He also added that though the monarch had “considerable respect” for the Prime Minister, she also found her to be “a bit of a frost,” and “always joked that she never listened to a word she said.”)
In fact, Thatcher’s deep curtsy was so infamous that decades later, when Theresa May would later make headlines for her “awkward” curtsy, comparisons were quickly drawn to Thatcher’s greeting. As etiquette expert William Hanson told the Evening Standard, “Aside from her political work, Theresa May will always be known for her overly obsequious curtsies to the Queen—something our second female prime minister shares with the first.”
Another curious historical detail, resurfaced thanks to The Crown.
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