The richness of revelation that John has received from watching The Crown has been a gift to me. It’s also compelled me to watch certain episodes again with new eyes. In doing so, I was struck by contrast between Elizabeth and Margaret. Both lived lives of enormous privilege, but only one had a purpose. I’ve never seen the dangers of privilege without purpose so starkly represented as in the lives of these royal sisters.
Privilege Without Purpose Given
The Crown is a fictional story about real people, and I keep that in mind when I watch it. What I see in the character and choices of Elizabeth and Margaret is not a judgment of either, since I am not privy to the actual truth of their lives. But the warning that the Holy Spirit revealed to me through The Crown is very, very real.
The privileged life that Elizabeth leads is balanced with purpose. In fact, the trappings of wealth serve the purpose of her life, not the other way around. In embracing her purpose, often at the expense of her own personal desires, Elizabeth is able to see beyond herself. Purpose keeps Elizabeth grounded and gives her life great meaning. The privilege she receives as due to her crown and not her person. As a result, her heart and character is not warped by the great privilege she experiences daily. The same cannot be said for Margaret.
Margaret is given great privilege without purpose, and the result is a steady increase in selfishness and immorality. Without purpose, Margaret’s privilege goes to her head and her heart as her due, and not her blessing. What she wants, she gets. There is no higher calling on her life than her own desires. As a result, her selfish myopia is shocking. She pursues a married man shamelessly. After his wife divorces him, Margaret decides to marry him. Even knowing what’s at stake and what it will cost everyone around her, her own happiness is the only thing that matters to her. Though her demands batter her sister relentlessly and cost her dearly, Margaret sees nothing but her own ‘victimhood.’ She talks endlessly about love and shows daily how little she knows what love actually is. Without purpose to check it, privilege encourages the absolute worst in Margaret.
Privilege Without Purpose Chosen
The Crown presents a frightening picture of privilege without purpose, and quite unintentionally, I imagine. We are all in need of purpose, something greater than ourselves. And sometimes that purpose is given to us, as Elizabeth’s was given to her. But sometimes it’s not. What then?
We choose purpose. If it is given, then we have to choose to receive it. If it isn’t given, then we choose to pursue it…or not.
He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.
Proverbs 12:11 NKJV
We are free to choose a frivolous life, devoid of meaning and purpose. Margaret didn’t have to choose ‘frivolity,’ but she did. Elizabeth didn’t have to receive her purpose (the crown), but she did. We have a choice, and the tenor of our lives reflects that choice. Embracing her purpose kept privilege subservient in Elizabeth’s life. Embracing her privilege without purpose wreaked havoc in Margaret’s.