Claire Foy is the stand-out star of The Crown. She brings such humanity and humor to Elizabeth and everything the queen says.
While other characters get profound speeches and grand gestures, Claire Foy’s quiet Queen Elizabeth tells her story in small ways. Her emotions and facial expressions tell much of the queen’s experiences.
During season 2, Elizabeth is characterized by her forgettable nature. The press and even her family criticize her for this at times. Claire Foy’s careful portrayal ensures that Elizabeth is anything but forgettable to viewers.
Between her quiet moments, there are some memorable quotes. In The Crown, Elizabeth quotes have such power because she saves her words for moments that count. In her quotes, we get to see her distinct sense of humor. We also get some striking insights on the human experience and a small look into her own humanity.
Here are 10 of Elizabeth’s best quotes from The Crown season 2 that are part of why we love Claire Foy so much.
Best ‘The Crown’ Queen Elizabeth Quotes
“Would you like to know the principle, perhaps only advantage, of being the Chief Patron of the English Bowling Association? My fellow patrons are frequently too old or too ill to meet.”
This quote shows Elizabeth’s distinct sense of humor. She offers this quote to her sister Margaret over the phone as a precursor to a lunch invitation. As with all of Queen Elizabeth quotes, this line is more than a throw away joke. It also shows the intricacies of Elizabeth’s relationship with Margaret, giving an insight into her personal life and priorities. She knows how silly some of her duties are, but she serves them all with grace and diligence because she loves her family.
“To do nothing is often the best course of action, but I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be. History was not made by those who did nothing.”
This quote is from a scene when Elizabeth is talking to Sir Anthony. He rushed to war and now wants to resign his position as Prime Minister, at least in part because of how poorly that decision turned out. She shares her sympathy with him. He’s had to follow Winston Churchill, who left big shoes to fill. These two sentences provide truths that are at such odds, which represents the Queen’s own position throughout The Crown.
“One always has to accept one’s own part, I believe, in any mess.”
When the political party appoints Mr. Macmillan as Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth meets with him. Her words — shown in this quote — make it evident that she isn’t pleased with the way he handled Sir Anthony’s resignation. Macmillan had his own part in championing the war Sir Anthony took the fall for. Elizabeth quietly lets Macmillan know that she holds him responsible, too, even if she must publicly accept him. It shows how clearly Elizabeth sets the tone for her relationships and the high standards of honesty she abides by.
“The first 10 years of marriage are just an overture. That there’s often a crisis at 10 years, but then you work it out and settle in and it’s only then that it really gets into its stride.”
This Queen Elizabeth quote is really brought to you by the Queen’s mother. Elizabeth quotes her mother’s advice to Philip one night as they get ready for bed. The Crown season 2 focused on marriage, but this is one of a few instances where Elizabeth actually talks to Philip about her hopes instead of about their struggles. As she says this, Elizabeth is trying to convince herself just as much as she’s suggesting it to her husband. She wants her marriage to work.
“They say listening is important in any marriage.”
In The Crown episode 4, Queen Elizabeth watches the Russian satellite launch with a few of her advisors, including Prime Minister Macmillan. She tries to have a discussion, but he keeps interrupting her. He preaches about Britain’s marriage-like relationship with America and how they need to work together in the space race. Elizabeth takes the opportunity to give a pointed look at Philip and make this remark. Claire Foy’s piercing eyes and sharp delivery elevate this simple line.
“In an increasingly complex world, we all need certainty.”
Another theme in The Crown season 2 is adapting to a quickly changing world. Queen Elizabeth must adapt to new press standards and television appearances. At times, she finds herself uncertain. When Reverend Graham visits, she finds comfort in his sermons and her faith. His sermons are a new kind of preaching, which shows that change can be stable and positive. The Queen’s reaction to him shows that having a little certainty in your life can give you the perspective to whether uncertain times.
“Forgiveness is very important to me.”
This is one of the most clear statements of belief we get from a Queen Elizabeth quote. When she’s deciding whether or not to allow her Uncle David to rejoin elements of British society, those around her remind her of his mistakes. Though she has a hard time coming to a decision, she firmly states that forgiveness is important to her, in this situation or any other.
“When is it, do you think, if one’s committed to a life of honesty, that one must start calling oneself ‘middle-aged?’”
Another example of Elizabeth’s humor, this quote is made especially funny by Foy’s delivery. She stares out the window, almost nostalgically as she plainly says these words. It also shows how self-aware Queen Elizabeth is. She knows she values honesty and she knows that she’s a fallible, aging human. Here, she tries to reconcile the two truths in a way that resonates with viewers. We’re all getting older, right? Some of us are just better at admitting it than others.
“That’s the thing about unhappiness. All it takes is for something worse to come along and you realize it was actually happiness after all.”
One of the strengths of Queen’s Elizabeth’s character in The Crown season 2 was her reaction to President Kennedy’s death. The montage of worried looks Claire Foy gives Elizabeth is punctuated by a scene of Elizabeth and her mother watching news coverage on TV. When her mother asks about Jackie Kennedy’s unhappiness, Elizabeth makes this comment. It shows Elizabeth’s deep understanding of the human experience. It also shows, for a brief moment, how she feels about her own state of happiness.
“Look, I’m strong. You know that. And I can cope with the truth. I just demand to know the truth. It’s when people don’t tell me the truth that I can’t bear it.”
This Queen Elizabeth quote comes from the last episode of season 2. Elizabeth and Philip have a fight that is a culmination of the struggles they’ve faced all season. Philip gets a grand romantic speech at the end of the fight, but Elizabeth gets to tell him this. She clearly states her priorities and while she’s fighting for her marriage, she’s also fighting for herself. With her words, Elizabeth stands up for what is right. Even when it’s difficult.