The Crown is a superior royal soap opera from Peter Morgan on Netflix. The TV series is a prequel to his 2006 movie The Queen, which starred Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II riding out the storm of Princess Di’s death. The Crown follows Elizabeth from her 1947 wedding to Prince Philip onward, with cameos from many historical figures, such as an extremely tall Winston Churchill played by John Lithgow.
The fourth season features two women the Queen has a hard time getting along with, Princess Di and Margaret Thatcher, with Gillian Anderson of The X-Files as the prime minister. (Unfortunately, Anderson’s voice has gotten old-sounding compared to the real Thatcher). The series portrays the Prime Minister as cooking up a lot of hearty food for her guests in 10 Downing Streets rather compact kitchen. This seemed curious: isn’t the prime minister provided with a cook?
A reader graciously provided a clip from my old NR editor John O’Sullivan explaining why he was often served bacon and eggs cooked up by the prime minister:
In this clip John O'Sullivan talks about Thatcher's cooking briefly.
Full video: John O'Sullivan on Margaret Thatcher at the 2011 Acton Institute Anniversary Celebration
— Bernard Brightson (@BernardBrights1) November 21, 2020
Presumably, a cook would be provided for official dinners, such as hosting generals and admirals planning the Falklands War and perhaps for the cabinet, depending on whether they were dealing with official or party business.
In general, as a mere head of government, the living arrangements of the prime ministers are less luxurious than one might expect. From Tony Blair onward, prime ministers with children have often chosen to live in 11 Downing Street, officially the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s residence, due to its less cramped private quarters.