Queen Elizabeth II & Ghana President Nkrumah In A 1961 Diplomat Foxtrot Watched In Black & White

(L) The real-life foxtrot between Ghana's President Kwame Nkrumah and Queen Elizabeth II and (R) 'The Crown's' version of the splendid dance featuring actors Claire Foy as Elizabeth II and Danny Sapan as Nkrumah

(L) The real-life foxtrot between Ghana's President Kwame Nkrumah and Queen Elizabeth II and (R) 'The Crown's' version of the splendid dance featuring actors Claire Foy as Elizabeth II and Danny Sapan as Nkrumah

Who knew! In season 2, episode 8 of 'The Crown' Dear Mrs Kennedy, the geopolitics of the Cold War collide with Queen Elizabeth's pondering her private insecurities as monarch with the rising popular evangelicalism of America's Reverand Billy Graham, the global popularity of The Kennedys and the crumbling of the British Empire.  

Queen Elizabeth meets Jackie Kennedy, who seemingly has every male in Europe trailing and fantasizing about her every move, and hears through the grapevine some very unflattering comments made about her averageness. Mrs. Kennedy -- who later apologizes and says she was under pep drugs at the time -- referenced Elizabeth's inability to inspire Britain, let alone an empire breaking away from her influence. 

Claire Foy is fantastic here, fully capturing the naive insights of a woman unused to making honest personal connections; then thinking she had made a connection with Jackie Kennedy in the privacy of her private quarters and corgis, and then Elizabeth's devastation on hearing about Jackie’s unkind comments at a later gathering.

An opportunity for Queen Elizabeth to redeem herself in her own eyes and those in-the-know about the diplomatic incident between the two women presents itself in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. President Kwame Nkrumah has announced his intention to lead his newly independent nation into a strategic alliance with Communist Russia, a harsh reality realized with Russia has outbidding the US in helping Ghana to build the Volta Dam.

Queen Elizabeth arriving on her hstory-making trip to Ghana.

Queen Elizabeth arriving on her hstory-making trip to Ghana.

It’s thrilling to see Elizabeth rise to the occasion, becoming an active, independent agent as opposed to a passive observer of her life, buffeted by events and people acting out of her control on the world stage. Defying her Prime Minister, her advisers, the British press and even her husband, Elizabeth travels to Ghana with a single-minded goal. The Queen will bring the Ghana back into the Commonwealth by any means necessary -- and that includes a foxtrot. Note that in real life, PM Harold Macmillan did champion Elizabeth II going to Ghana, believing she could be his "charm offensive."

In consenting to a foxtrot -- yes, it happened for real -- with Nkrumah, Elizabeth II achieves more in a few minutes than British diplomats dealing with the young nation have managed to achieve in weeks. The dance scene itself is quite dazzling, as Elizabeth finds her Jackie-O side. Comparing the images from 'The Crown' above and the real-life photos below,  there is more physical space between the couple in the real-life dance -- if these images don't distort the truth. And we must always remember that 'The Crown' is a fictionalized account of history, viewed through the lens of the British Empire and Britain's crumbling monarchy.  

In reality, the Akosombo Dam was completed in 1965, in a project jointly financed by Ghana, the World Bank, the United States and the United Kingdom. Few sources -- even those who write that 'The Crown' is racist ( well SURE it is, given that colonialism was racist) -- debate that this foxtrot between Elizabeth II and President Kwame Nkrumah -- The Lion of Africa --was a diplomatic success on multiple fronts.

Here we have actual footage from the Queen's visit to northern Ghana. Note that there is hardly a woman in sight, except for Elizabeth II.