Emmy episode analysis: Vanessa Kirby (‘The Crown’) meets her match as Princess Margaret in ‘Beryl’

Vanessa Kirby‘s role as Princess Margaret on Netflix’s “The Crown” earned her a BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actress this past April, and now she is up for Best Drama Supporting Actress at the Emmys for the first time. It will also be Kirby’s last shot at an Emmy win for this role, which will be played by Helena Bonham Carter when the show returns for a third season.

In Kirby’s Emmy submission “Beryl,” a lonely Margaret agrees to a marriage proposal from family friend Billy Wallace. Elizabeth (Emmy nominee Claire Foy) gives her consent to the union and says that the announcement should be made during a dinner to celebrate the monarch’s wedding anniversary. After Billy misses the announcement due to a night of drinking, Margaret ends the engagement and breaks down alone in her room.

Later, Margaret meets photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones (Emmy nominee Matthew Goode) at a party, and she is intrigued by both his honesty and seeming indifference to her. She agrees to pose for him, and though she is stung by his comments about her failed relationship with Peter Townsend, the two are clearly attracted to each other. Margaret returns home with a new energy. The next day, Margaret has one of Antony’s more suggestive photos of her appear in the newspaper.

Will voters crown Kirby with an Emmy win thanks to her performance in “Beryl”? Let’s examine the pros and cons of her submission.


Kirby appears in almost every scene of her submission — it’s essentially a leading performance. That amount of screen time allows voters to see a complete arc for Margaret’s character and gives Kirby repeated opportunities to show both range and impact. Margaret begins the episode disillusioned and broken, followed by scenes of alcohol-driven rage. By the end of the episode Margaret is defiant and joyous as she finds herself taking control of her own image. Voters may be impressed by Kirby’s deft handling of such a complex emotional story.

While Elizabeth is the narrative focus of “The Crown,” it is Margaret who may be its emotional center. It’s almost impossible not to feel empathy for all that Margaret has endured throughout the series, much of which is referenced in this episode. That amount of empathy could certainly work in Kirby’s favor.

Kirby’s profile has skyrocketed recently. She followed her BAFTA win with a high-profile role in this summer’s blockbuster “Mission: Impossible — Fallout.” Both of these factors might keep her more present in the minds of voters.

SEE How to watch Drama Supporting Actress Emmy episodes for Alexis Bledel, Millie Bobby Brown, Ann Dowd, Lena Headey, Vanessa Kirby, Thandie Newton, Yvonne Strahovski


“The Crown” aired way back in December, while many of Kirby’s competitors appeared on shows that all aired this past spring. Will voters remember Kirby’s critically acclaimed performance eight months later?

Even though Kirby gives a dynamic performance, it may prove too subtle for Emmy voters, who often reward more explosive performances.

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