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Actress from "The Crown" Describes Britain's "Sadomasochistic" Relationship with the Upper Classes

Actress from "The Crown" Describes Britain's "Sadomasochistic" Relationship with the Upper Classes
Monday, 13 November 2023 09:11

Emerald Fennell believes that years of prime ministership at Eton have undermined Britain's respect for the ruling class.

Britain has a "sadomasochistic" relationship with the upper class, says one of the actresses who portrayed Camilla in "The Crown."

38-year-old Emerald Fennell stated that the country's relationship with aristocracy and the upper class has become less respectful, but it seems like a scab that people can't stop picking.

"We have sadomasochistic relationships with those who not only don't care about us but don't even see us," she told The Sunday Times Culture Magazine.

The actress and Oscar-winning director played Camilla Shand, later Parker Bowles, in the third and fourth seasons of the popular Netflix series about the royal family.

Discussing the theme of class division in the UK ahead of the release of her latest film, "Soltburn," a satirical introduction to the world of aristocracy, she said, "The British class system is so divided."

Explaining that the film serves as a commentary on how people can fall in love with those who are richer, Fennell said, "It's voyeurism with a touch of condescension.

"It's such a cycle: 'I look at this person and want to f*** them, but because of that, I feel bad, so I hate them.'"

"We can't help ourselves, and we've never been such voyeurs."

Educated at Oxford, the director who received an Oscar for her 2020 thriller "Promising Young Woman" also reflected on how this constant tension "between desire and revulsion" manifests in the country's relationship with "big houses."

A mother of two, who also starred in "Call the Midwife," also pondered how Britain's relationship with the "elite" has changed, "fairly" blaming our government for it, suggesting that respect has been undermined by various Eton-educated prime ministers.

"Our relationships with [the elites] have changed significantly, and it's fairly linked to our government. But we'll still watch. It's more sadomasochistic when you know better," she said.

"As a country, we can't stop picking at this scab."

Her father, renowned jeweler Theo Fennell, educated at Eton, led her to acknowledge that there are "always conversations" about her familiarity with the world of Britain's upper class.

"The thing is, because of my job as an actress and writer, I've had to give all of that up," she said, but added, "I mean, I have to introduce myself to people with an impassive face as 'Emerald.' I had to delve into how absurd I am."

Fennell jokingly remarked that her portrayal of the young "chain-smoking glamorous Camilla" in the third and fourth seasons of "The Crown" was not a "stretch" for her.

The chronology of the series she participated in covered the period from 1964 to 1990, including the blossoming and then the breakdown of Charles's relationship with Camilla, her marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles, as well as the courtship and wedding of the then Prince of Wales to Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

The first part of the sixth and final season of the popular Netflix show will be released on November 16.

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