WARNING: This article contains a mild spoiler from episode 7 of The Crown season 2
The Crown season two features a lot more sex than season one and it primarily concerns the sexual liaisons of Princess Margaret and her future husband Antony Armstrong-Jones.
Vanessa Kirby returns to the Netflix series as the Queen’s sister, who is still struggling to get over her former lover Peter Townsend (Ben Miles) after Elizabeth (Claire Foy) chose not to give her blessing to their marriage.
Margaret moves onto Antony, played by Matthew Goode, who was known for his sexual dalliances with both men and women. One of the relationships that gets briefly referred to is that between Tony and Jacqui Chan, an Asian model and dancer who he described in his autobiography as his first real love.
However, the only time we see Jacqui – played by Chinese-born British actress Alice Hewkin – for any long period is during a rather graphic sex scene with Tony, where she appears in the nude. The character is given no lines either, but is mentioned later in the episode when one of Tony’s other lovers suggests she’s made him more exotic in the bedroom.
One could argue that show creator Peter Morgan and director Benjamin Caron’s depiction of Jacqui perpetuates not just the male gaze but also an Orientalist perception of Asian women; that by not giving her any lines, describing her as exotic and having her in the most graphic sex scene of the series she’s made into an overtly sexualized male fantasy.
Kirby, who does not appear nude in the new season to be respectful of the late royal, does not agree and thinks viewers should not look at Jacqui’s portrayal in that way.
“I don’t think, for me being inside it, it was never about her nationality or race,” the actress told Yahoo Movies UK. “In a way I don’t think we should even make a judgement on it. I think what it was trying to represent was his sexual life outside of Margaret, which was much wider and more promiscuous than his relationship with Margaret.
“We went through a long process of whether Margaret should be naked or not and what actually we decided, that for their relationship, it’s not about lust and sex,” Kirby continued.
“The relationship with Jacqui Chan was one of his most deepest and meaningful relationships he had outside of Margaret and it was always a person he saw throughout their entire relationship, so I think that just because she happens to be a different nationality I don’t think it should be judged.”
The Crown season two is available to stream on Netflix from December 8, 2017.