As Season 3 of the Netflix series ‘The Crown” releases, I can’t help but recall my favorite episode from the previous two seasons - the fifth episode of Season 2 called “Marionettes”.
Lord Altrincham, brilliantly played by John Heffernan, boldly criticizes the Monarchy as becoming increasingly irrelevant, even going to the extent of calling the Queen a priggish school girl, who staidly reads out text prepared by her courtiers who were out of touch with the changing modern times.
Lord Altrincham was then given an opportunity to present his views in a televised show, which he did in the utmost respectable and convincing fashion pointing out that he was a firm believer in the monarchy as being a unifier of British society, but he was afraid the Monarchy was not doing its job very well post war and their approach needed a rethink.
Lord Altrincham was further invited to meet with the assistant private secretary of the Queen to discuss the matter, and in an astonishing turn, the Queen was the one who met him in person to listen to his recommendations.
When someone pours cold water on all your best efforts, it hurts. It is natural to become emotional and treat the criticizer as your enemy. In Lord Altrincham’s case, he was widely booed as a traitor and the royalty were privately pleased when a chap landed a punch on his face. But to the credit of the Queen, she recognized that Lord Altrincham had the best interest of the monarchy and swallowed her pride. In the end, almost all of Lord Altrincham’s recommendations were implemented by the palace which included televising her Christmas speech for the first time giving the public a peek into the humane side of the Queen.
We all have a few Lord Altrincham’s in our lives - the question is, do you recognize them?
Arshad is Managing Partner of Karma & Co, a boutique consulting firm based out of Goa that creates programs for workforce transformation and organization effectiveness. You can read more of his work and thoughts on Karma-and.co