How correct is The Crown?


Peter Morgan, the inventive genius behind The Crown, is the primary to confess his writing is a proper royal mixture of truth and fantasy.

“Once I write … there are the issues that I wish to be the case and there are the issues which can be the case,” he explains. “There’s a fixed push-pull … I’ve learnt, to my value, that whenever you’re actually solely targeted on analysis, the drama suffers. You must come at it as a dramatist.

“You must come at that nearly from an emotional perspective and kind of think about what individuals are feeling and pondering at this specific time relatively than ‘the place had been they on which specific day’ and ‘what phrases did they use when addressing the next individuals in public’.”

An viewers desires acts of creativeness, not simply historic regurgitation, Morgan argues.

However that hasn’t stopped tv critics and historians from criticising how the sequence depicts the royal household and people swept into its orbit.

Viewers of their thousands and thousands are blissful to go alongside for the journey. However they’re additionally hungry for details after their consumption of fantasy. Reality-checking The Crown has grow to be such a ritual that Google sends the producers a wealth of details about what individuals are trying to find.

To assist inquisitive followers see the total image, we have learn biographies, scoured newspaper clippings and watched grainy tv interviews. Simply how a lot of season 4 is truth and the way a lot is fiction?

Hosts with the most: (from left) Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew at their Balmoral estate in 1979.

Hosts with probably the most: (from left) Prince Edward, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew at their Balmoral property in 1979. Credit score:Getty Photographs

Did the ‘Balmoral check’ exist?

The scene: Margaret Thatcher and husband Denis are invited to vacation at Balmoral, the royal property in Scotland. On the aircraft there, Denis says: “Apparently, the royal household routinely topic all their company to secret exams to search out out whether or not somebody is appropriate or not acceptable, you or non-you, a part of the gang or not a part of the gang.”

The reality: Whereas there is not any proof of a proper check, some biographers and historians have written about company feeling discombobulated and pressured whereas visiting.

Prime ministers had been historically invited to go each August. Tony Blair as soon as known as the annual pilgrimage “a vivid mixture of the intriguing, the surreal and the totally freaky”. The Queen’s biographer, Ben Pimlott, wrote that Thatcher discovered the journeys “purgatory”.

However royal author Hugo Vickers has stated the episode is very deceptive: “The Queen and the royal household exit of their option to make their company really feel comfortable at Balmoral.”

The episode doesn’t reveal that Thatcher’s first go to to Balmoral was on September eight, 1979 – simply three days after the funeral of Lord Mountbatten, whose assassination featured in episode one of many The Crown’s new season.

The producers additionally present Diana arriving at Balmoral simply as Thatcher leaves it in 1979. In reality, Diana’s first journey to the Aberdeenshire property was in 1980, and it was not the primary time she had met the royal household.

In his e book Diana: Her True Story, writer Andrew Morton says Diana was “shitting bricks” about her Balmoral debut. Morton’s e book is taken into account particularly correct as a result of it’s based mostly on prolonged interviews with the princess.

“Those who fail vanish from royal favour as rapidly because the Highland mists come and go,” Morton wrote of Balmoral guests.

Palace prowler Michael Fagan.

Palace prowler Michael Fagan.Credit score:AP

What did Michael Fagan discuss with the Queen?

The scene: A person scales a fence at Buckingham Palace and sneaks into the Queen’s bed room. He wakes her up and the 2 have a dialog about Margaret Thatcher’s controversial reshaping of Britain earlier than a maid walks in and calls palace guards for assist.

The reality: Regardless of widespread reporting on the time that the 33-year-old intruder had a 10-minute speak with the Queen, Fagan tells a special story. In a uncommon interview, Fagan advised The Unbiased on Friday: “Nah. She went previous me and ran out of the room; her little naked ft working throughout the ground.”

Fagan was first confronted by footman Paul Whybrew, not two guards as depicted in The Crown.

“I used to be scareder than I might ever been in my life,” Fagan stated of the second the Queen noticed him. “Then she speaks and it is just like the most interesting glass you may think about breaking: ‘What are you doing right here?!'”

Fagan by no means went to jail over the incident. He finally served 4 years in jail after being charged with conspiracy to provide heroin in 1997. Opposite to The Crown’s sympathetic depiction of him as somebody affected by Thatcher’s financial reforms, Fagan has not defined his motivation for the intrusion. “I do not know why I did it, one thing simply received into my head,” he advised The Unbiased. He steered consuming magic mushrooms in soup in early 1982 could have performed a job.

Prince Charles With Lord Mountbatten at the polo in Windsor in 1979.

Prince Charles With Lord Mountbatten on the polo in Windsor in 1979. Credit score:Getty Photographs

Did Lord Mountbatten actually write Charles that letter on the day the IRA bomb went off?

The scene: Mountbatten – an uncle of Prince Philip who shared an in depth bond with Charles – writes to the long run king blasting his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles and accusing him of risking “spoil” for the royal household. Mountbatten sends the letter minutes earlier than he’s killed by a bomb planted on a fishing boat by the IRA. A grief-stricken younger prince later receives the notice, prompting him to pursue Diana.

The reality: That is a simple one to resolve as a result of Peter Morgan admits he made up the letter. British newspapers have quoted unnamed allies of Charles who say the depiction of such an acrimonious ultimate trade between the pair is especially unfair given their affection for one another.

Morgan seems to have based mostly the scene on letters the previous Admiral of the Fleet despatched Charles over earlier years, together with one which inspired the younger prince to “sow his wild oats” earlier than marrying a “appropriate, engaging and sweet-charactered woman”.

A grief-stricken Prince Charles at Mountbatten's funeral.

A grief-stricken Prince Charles at Mountbatten’s funeral.Credit score:

Within the present’s official podcast, Morgan says of the plot line: “What we all know is that Mountbatten was actually liable for taking Charles to 1 aspect at exactly this level and saying, ‘Look, , sufficient already with enjoying the sector, it is time you bought married and it is time you offered an inheritor’.

Charles apparently wrote to his mentor: “I hope you’re having an honest relaxation in Eire and will not be working unnecessarily exhausting.”

“In my very own head I assumed that might have even higher affect on Charles if it had been to return autopsy, because it had been. I believe all the pieces that is in that letter which Mountbatten writes to Charles is what I actually imagine, based mostly on all the pieces I’ve learn and other people I’ve spoken to, that represents his view.”

Historian Andrew Lownie believes the final letter between the pair was dated August 13, about two weeks earlier than Mountbatten was assassinated. In that letter, Charles apparently wrote to his mentor: “I hope you’re having an honest relaxation in Eire and will not be working unnecessarily exhausting.”

Camilla Parker-Bowles and Diana at Ludlow racecourse to watch a steeplechase in which Prince Charles was competing in 1980, the year before the royal wedding.

Camilla Parker-Bowles and Diana at Ludlow racecourse to look at a steeplechase through which Prince Charles was competing in 1980, the yr earlier than the royal wedding ceremony. Credit score:Getty Photographs

Did Princess Di meet Camilla Parker-Bowles for lunch earlier than she married Charles?

The scene: Charles’ bride-to-be meets his mistress in an excruciatingly awkward lunch at a central London restaurant named Ménage à Trois.

The reality: The duo did meet for lunch, however The Crown omits some vital background data. Camilla and Diana knew one another for at the very least two years earlier than the royal wedding ceremony. And Penny Junor, a extremely revered royal biographer, has beforehand revealed that Camilla appreciated Diana and thought she was candy. So the thought of a lunch shouldn’t be as unusual because it sounds.

Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell) and Diana (Emma Corrin) meet for lunch in <i>The Crown</i>.

Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell) and Diana (Emma Corrin) meet for lunch in <i>The Crown</i>.Credit score:Netflix

Diana later advised her biographer that Camilla instigated the lunch in a letter through which she described the engagement as “thrilling”.

“Do let’s have lunch quickly when the Prince of Wales goes to Australia and New Zealand,” the letter stated. “He will be away for 3 weeks. I might like to see the ring. Numerous love, Camilla.”

Prime minister Bob Hawke, wife Hazel and Charles and Diana in Canberra in 1983.

Prime minister Bob Hawke, spouse Hazel and Charles and Diana in Canberra in 1983.Credit score:Getty Photographs

Did Bob Hawke actually examine the Queen to a pig?

The scene: In a tv interview, then opposition chief Bob Hawke is requested how he feels about Charles and Diana. He says an Australian needs to be head of state, not an “unelected Pom”. “You would not put a pig in command of a herd of prime beef cattle, even when it does look good in twin set and pearls,” he jokes.

The reality: Hawke was a dedicated republican however he by no means stated this. The episode additionally casts Hawke as an impatient republican however he didn’t forcefully agitate for a republic throughout his early years in workplace.

Charles and Diana at Balmoral in 1981.

Charles and Diana at Balmoral in 1981. Credit score:Getty Photographs

Had Charles and Diana met just a few instances earlier than they married?

The scene: The Crown suggests the pair spent little or no time collectively earlier than their engagement went public on February 24, 1981. At one level, Charles says he and Diana “hardly know each other”. In a later scene, Diana complains in regards to the scenario over lunch with Camilla. In an try and make her really feel higher, Camilla lists simply 4 events the engaged couple have met: horse trials within the Cotswolds, a live performance on the Royal Albert Corridor in London, the weekend at Balmoral and a go to to Highgrove Home, Charles’ nation dwelling within the west of England.

The reality: Charles first met a 16-year-old Diana Spencer at her household dwelling, Althorp, in 1977. In The Crown, Diana is dressed like a fairy and prancing across the stately manor when she bumps into the 29-year-old inheritor. In actuality, the setting was far much less dramatic.

“We kind of met in a ploughed subject,” she later stated in an interview.

Charles and Diana pose together at Buckingham Palace after the engagement announcement.

Charles and Diana pose collectively at Buckingham Palace after the engagement announcement.Credit score:AP

They’d not grow to be romantically concerned till the second half of 1980. Charles proposed at Windsor Fort on February three, 1981. Diana advised her biographer that the couple had solely met 13 instances earlier than that second.

Information of the engagement was saved secret whereas Diana flew to Australia to vacation together with her mom, Frances Shand Kydd, at a property close to Yass in NSW. She returned to London later that month so the engagement could possibly be introduced publicly in a press convention through which Charles famously stated he was in love with Diana, “no matter ‘in love’ means”.

Charles went on a five-week journey to Australia and New Zealand within the 4 months between the engagement and the lavish wedding ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in July that yr, additional lowering the time they’d collectively earlier than marriage.

Charles and Diana at Uluru during the 1983 tour.

Charles and Diana at Uluru throughout the 1983 tour.Credit score:Gerrit Fokkema

Did Princess Diana actually name Uluru ‘Ayers Dock’?

The scene: At a press convention after touching down in Australia in 1983, Diana says the royal couple plan to go to ‘Ayers Dock’, prompting laughter from the media and a rebuke from Charles.

In The Crown, Diana struggles to climb up Uluru. “Cannot you pull your self collectively?” an indignant Charles responds.

The reality: There isn’t a proof Diana ever made this stumble. A search of printed media articles produces no outcomes and there’s no reference to it in any biography. It seems the present’s writers included the fake pas as a inventive software to serve their depiction of Hawke pushing the case that the monarchy was out of contact with fashionable Australia.

Later in The Crown, Diana struggles to climb up Uluru as a result of the warmth made her dizzy. “Cannot you pull your self collectively?” an indignant Charles responds.

Footage from the hike does present her hesitating however a report from The Sydney Morning Herald on the time suggests it was due to the impracticality of her white costume and flat sneakers.

Prince Charles falls off a polo pony at Warwick Farm in Sydney.

Prince Charles falls off a polo pony at Warwick Farm in Sydney.Credit score:

Was Charles booed by crowds on the polo in Australia (and did he get sulky at Diana being within the highlight)?

The scene: As a radiant Princess Diana wows crowds at a swimming occasion, Charles is booed whereas enjoying polo and later falls off his horse, prompting spectators to burst into laughter. The episode, Terra Nullius, additionally explores Charles’ obvious jealousy at his spouse’s raging reputation.

The reality: Charles did fall off his horse that day, however could have been pushed by a competitor. Both means, there aren’t any reviews that the group ever booed throughout competitors or cheered when he fell. He even joked in regards to the fall throughout a speech on the finish of the match.

With the media consideration got here quite a lot of jealousy. An excessive amount of difficult conditions arose due to that.

The episode’s modifying makes it seem as if Charles suffers the embarrassment on the similar time Diana is charming the press and crowds at a swimming carnival. She did meet lifesavers throughout the tour – at a surf lifesaving carnival in Terrigal on the NSW central coast – however she was really within the stands on the polo when Charles fell.

Diana watching Prince Charles play at Warwick Farm.

Diana watching Prince Charles play at Warwick Farm.Credit score:Victor Colin Sumner

Diana later claimed Charles was usually jealous of the give attention to her throughout royal excursions, together with the one to Australia.

“With the media consideration got here quite a lot of jealousy. An excessive amount of difficult conditions arose due to that,” she advised her biographer.

“Everybody all the time stated after we had been within the automobile, ‘Oh, we’re on the incorrect aspect, we wish to see her, we do not wish to see him’ … and clearly he wasn’t used to that and nor was I. He took it out on me. He was jealous … I understood the jealousy, however I could not clarify that I did not ask for it.’

Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman play Margaret Thatcher and the Queen.

Gillian Anderson and Olivia Colman play Margaret Thatcher and the Queen.

Did the Queen and Margaret Thatcher actually have a frosty relationship?

The scene: The Crown is stuffed with pressure and awkwardness between the Queen and Britain’s first feminine prime minister. It implies that a few of this pressure comes from class variations and the Queen’s concern in regards to the implications of Thatcher’s radical social agenda.

The reality: There have been strained moments between the pair over the course of Thatcher’s 11-year premiership, however the true standing of the connection is nuanced.

The present precisely delves right into a disagreement between Thatcher and the Queen over the monarch’s desire for sanctions on the South African authorities, and additionally it is true that newspapers in 1986 had been stuffed with damaging gossip – first revealed in The Sunday Instances – that the Queen was sad with Thatcher’s “uncaring” strategy to apartheid.

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However there are inaccuracies. In a single scene the Queen’s personal secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, pressures Buckingham Palace press secretary Michael Shea to take the autumn for chatting with The Sunday Instances in regards to the Queen’s displeasure with Thatcher. Shea was actually recognized because the paper’s supply however in actual life Charteris had retired in 1977, almost a decade sooner than the occasions depicted in The Crown.

What the sequence solely hints at is the Queen’s admiration for Thatcher. The monarch awarded the previous prime minister the Order of the Garter and the Order of Benefit. She additionally attended Thatcher’s funeral in 2013, an honour she had bestowed on just one different former prime minister: Winston Churchill.