The Queen in 'The Crown' Refers to Gay Man as 'Friend of Dorothy'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday November 16, 2020

Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman  (Source:AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

In "The Crown," the hit Netflix series humorously posits that Queen Elizabeth, sussing out Derek Jennings is a "friend of Dorothy," Yahoo! reports.

The hit Netflix series, now in its fourth season, finds the Queen (played by Olivia Colman) speculating on Jennings (Tom Burke), the love interest of her sister, Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham-Carter). When it's revealed that Jennings is entering the priesthood, the Queen retorts, "well that's the second reason he was never the right man for you" — the first reason being that, in her words, he's a "friend of Dorothy."

The term, according to the report, dates back to post-World War II when it was devised as slang, a wink-and-a-nudge reference to non-heteronormative men who were fans of "The Wizard of Oz" — and even more specifically, gay icon Judy Garland who played the film's bedazzling lead character, Dorothy.

"The Crown" has suggest Jennings' homosexuality might not have been as much of a secret as he believed. Margaret is said to have found his presence all-consuming and was confused by his apparent lack of physical attraction to her. Friends of Jennings' in the priesthood had affirmed that he was indeed gay. In his book, "Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit," the Reverend Richard Coles (and former member of pop band the Communards) wrote that Jennings "found intimate relationships impossible or very difficult, so the celibate status he was obliged to adopt by the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church suited him."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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