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Smoke and Mirrors   Episode Summary   Cast and Characters    

On the contrary. It's perfectly sane. Who wants transparency when you can have magic? Who wants prose when you can have poetry? Pull away the veil and what are you left with? An ordinary young woman of modest ability and little imagination. But wrap her up like this, anoint her with oil, and hey, presto, what do you have? A goddess.

The Duke of Windsor, mocking his niece while watching the televised coronation

Smoke and Mirrors is the fifth episode of Season 1 of Netflix television series The Crown.


Elizabeth rejects protocol by appointing Phillip to coordinate her coronation, but his ideas create conflict. The Duke of Windsor returns to London.

Episode Notes[]

Historical Events[]

  • March 24, 1953 - Death and funeral of Queen Mary
  • The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953, 16 months after the death of her father. It is not uncommon that the coronation takes place a year or more after the new monarch ascends the throne, to allow the country a period of mourning.

    A coronation block party in London's East End

    Coronation day was a national holiday, and included both formal events and community parties nationwide. The coronation was the first to be televised, resulting in a sizable uptick in sales of television sets in the UK. The anniversary of the Queen's coronation coincides closely with her state birthday, which occurs the Saturday closest to June 10.

Historical Notes[]

  • The role of organizing the Coronation traditionally falls to the Duke of Norfolk as the ranking non-royal peer and Earl Marshal. The Earl Marshal is one of the Great Officers of State, a group of nine (in England and Wales) Crown ministers responsible for specific state activities. The role of the Earl Marshal is to organize state ceremonial occasions, such as the King's funeral and the coronation.
  • Except in shots where the people would be identifiable or where the footage was of insufficient quality, restored black and white TV footage of the actual coronation was used. This restored footage was also used as the model for replacement shots, to ensure they did not look faked.


  • During the funeral of Queen Mary, the royal standard was used, as opposed to her royal standard in real life.


  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (used during the ballet scene)
  • Zadok the Priest - Georg Frederic Handel (used during Elizabeth's coronation)



Season 1
Wolferton SplashHyde Park CornerWindsorAct of GodSmoke and MirrorsGeligniteScientia Potentia EstPride & JoyAssassinsGloriana