Fact or Fiction? Comparing Netflix’s “The Crown” to the Real History of the Royal Family
With five seasons under their belt and a highly anticipated final sixth season, The Crown is one of the most popular series on Netflix. This incredible show offers a depiction of the progression of the royal family. From the death of King George Vl to a currently unknown ending date. The show’s cast changes every two seasons to help with people aging.
While the show is not a documentary, the creators and producers try their best to make the series as accurate as possible. Keep reading to see the comparison between The Crown and real life.
It’s expected that members of the royal family will get special perks. Queen Elizabeth II got to show off her style with the most extravagant evening gowns, jewels, crowns, and more throughout her life. Her early adulthood was filled with glamourous clothes as she attended balls, galas, and other special appearances.
The costumes on The Crown magnified her large and luxurious clothing collection by trying to recreate some of the best ones. Everything the actors wore look like they were taken straight out of history books.
That Conversation Didn’t Happen
The Suez Crisis was an invasion of Egypt by Israel, and later the United Kingdom and France in 1956. This was their way of trying to gain control over the Suez Canal and Prime Minister Anthony Eden did all that he could to make sure Britain would dominate during the canal crisis.
This historic event was later recreated during the second season of The Crown, but not all of the information is accurate. Prime Minister Anthony Eden tells the Queen about the planned invasion of Egypt on the show. He never admitted this to her in real life.
Not Love At First Sight
Prince Charles first met Princess Diana in 1977 when she was 16 and he was 29. He attended a grouse hunt with her sister Sarah and Diana told her friends that she would marry him one day. They stayed connected through mutual friends and started dating a few years later. Most of their dating relationship was on the phone and they had only met in person 13 times before he proposed.
The Crown tells the story of their meeting differently. The show has Princess Diana wearing a costume from a school play with the two running into each other by happenstance.
Iron Lady Didn’t Do That
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was given the “Iron Lady” nickname for a reason. She was the one responsible for deciding that the United Kingdom would invade the Falkland Islands in the 10-week Falkland War in 1982. This was also during the time when her son, Mark Thatcher, went missing for six days in the Sahara Desert.
This was a particularly tense moment between the Queen and Thatcher, which can be seen in the fourth season of The Crown. The show made it seem as if she was deciding to invade because of her emotional distress over her son’s disappearance. Thatcher was known for being very pragmatic, so critics argued that the moment was portrayed inaccurately.
The Queen Mother
Born at the turn of the 20th century, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother lived to be 101-years-old. She was Queen Elizabeth II’s mother and served as Queen of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from her husband’s accession to his passing. She often had a positive public image as the matriarch of the British royal family.
Here, she is shown with her TV counterpart on The Crown wearing almost identical lime green dresses and fuzzy hats at Prince Charles’ investiture. Some details from the outfit have been changed such as the size of her brooch and the sleeve length of the dress.
The Dance That Shocked The World
Before the Queen went on her trip to Ghana in 1961, she was warned not to go. Their leader, Kwame Nkrumah, was on his way to becoming a dictator and the members of Parliament and the public didn’t think it was a good idea for her to visit. She decided to travel there with Prince Philip and ended up doing the foxtrot with Nkrumah.
The Crown recreated her visit to Ghana in their second season and it’s hard to tell the two photos apart. Quartz Africa added some commentary on the episode and revealed that The Crown got a lot of facts wrong about post-colonial Africa.
The Family Boat Picture
While The Crown made the royal family’s boat trip look a bit warmer than the real-life photo, it is still an amazing side-by-side. In the real photograph, Princess Diana and her then-husband, King Charles, are on a ship with their two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
On the show, the family is seem sitting down, looking a bit warmer and, King Charles, looking a little bit happier to be part of the family outing.
Queen Elizabeth II Marries Philip
Before Queen Elizabeth II was queen, she married Prince Philip in 1947. It was one of England’s biggest celebrations that year with over two thousand guests. Most in attendance were filled with joy because it was around the time of the end of World War II.
The Crown crafted a replica of the Queen’s Chinese silk wedding gown, including all of the intricate embroidery. The real dress was made with over 10,000 crystals and pearls, but the show wasn’t able to use those precious gems to that extent.
Dodi Al Fayed
The fifth season of The Crown introduced Dodi Al Fayed, aka the man who had a doomed relationship with Princess Diana after her split from King Charles.
Played by Khalid Abdalla, Dodi’s father infamously accused the British royal family of manipulating the couple and even plotting their demise in the 2000s! Interestingly enough, it was actually Dodi’s father who was manipulating the high-profile couple.
Prince Philip As A Father
It’s hard for the public to relate to figures as grand as the royal family, but the fact that they are a family is something almost everyone can understand. Prince Philip is the father of four children with the Queen. The public often wondered what he was really like as a father.
In season two of The Crown, he often seemed cold and distant to his son Prince Charles. This upset the royal family because it was inaccurate. A palace insider told Oprah that the Queen wants people to know the show has many inaccuracies, including the relationship between Prince Philip and Prince Charles.
The Queen Visits Kenya
In 1952, the Queen was just moments away from receiving her title. She and Prince Philip took a trip to Kenya for an official Commonwealth visit. She was 25-years-old at the time and this happened to be the place where she learned about her father’s passing.
On The Crown, the storyline made it seem like the Queen and Prince Philip were almost trampled by an elephant in a Kenyan bush. They had the actor playing Prince Philip stare dramatically at the elephant to make it go away. That never happened in real life. The couple did watch elephants go by in their cozy treetop lodge.
Winston Churchill Meets The Duke Of Windsor
The Duke of Windsor was once known as King Edward VIII, but he gave up his title when he was set to marry a divorcée and socialite named Wallis Simpson. In 1952, he met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during his brother’s funeral.
The relationship between the Duke of Windsor and his royal family members is shown throughout the first season. The Crown toned down a lot of their tensed relationship because it was a lot worse than most thought. Edward was being manipulated by the Germans in order for them to gain control of Britain.
The Queen At Trooping The Colour
The official celebration for the British Sovereign is called Trooping the Colour. Soldiers, horses, musicians, and more come together every year for Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday in a huge parade. She usually attended by horseback but has needed to switch to riding in a carriage due to her age.
Olivia Colman was able to accurately portray the Queen at Trooping the Colour for her 55th birthday. She wore the same uniform with slight differences such as the sash color and hat.
The Queen’s First Christmas Show
Queen Elizabeth II began her tradition of a televised Christmas speech in 1957 and has done one every year since. “I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct,” she said. This was the royal family’s way of trying to connect to the public on a more personal level.
A season 2 episode of The Crown recreated that iconic Christmas telecast. The actress is shown in an identical dress sitting at an antique table facing a camera. Claire Foy as the Queen was able to capture how nervous she actually was before making the speech.
Venetia Scott Wasn’t A Real Person
Those familiar with British history may remember an event called the Great Smog of London. This occurred in 1952 when there was severe air pollution throughout the city. It affected hundreds of thousands of people, considering it was the worst air pollution in the history of the United Kingdom.
In the first season of The Crown, the show introduces a character named Venetia Scott. She serves as Winston Churchill’s personal secretary and is an important figure during the smog debate. In actuality, Scott wasn’t a real person, rather used as a catalyst to emphasize how big of a problem the Great Smog of London really was.
The Relationship Between The Queen And Winston Churchill
Shortly after World War II, there were two rulers in the United Kingdom. Both Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II were the most powerful British people at this time and the two were said to have been great comrades. When he retired, the Queen wrote him a touching letter about how much she would miss him.
Their relationship lost its accuracy on The Crown. Instead, the show made it seem as if the two had a tense and combative relationship. This was most likely to add a sense of drama and conflict to the first season.
Princess Diana In Her Wedding Dress
One moment that defined the 1980s was the royal wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It took place on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral and was called a “fairytale wedding” and “wedding of the century.” Over 750 million people watched it on TV worldwide and parties, holidays, and more were held in their honor.
Season four of The Crown made sure to include this historic moment. The actress who played Princess Diana wore an almost exact replica of the iconic wedding dress. When she stepped out to start filming she explained that everyone on set went completely silent.
Prince Charles And Princess Diana Go To Australia
Prince Charles and Princess Diana embarked on a tour of Australia in 1983. It took over a month for them to cover over 30,000 miles with at least eight appearances per day. Princess Diana brought Prince William on the tour, which broke royal protocol.
During the tour, Prince Charles and Princess Diana danced at a charity gala dinner at the Wentworth Hotel in Sydney. Season four of The Crown was able to replicate that moment including Princess Diana’s metallic blue ruffle dress. One episode mirrors the time they went to Uluru. The Crown said she struggled to keep up because of the heat, but in reality, she was making sure her dress didn’t fly open.
Prince Philip Didn’t Let His Jealousy Consume Him
When Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth II in 1947, the two had no idea she would become the Queen as soon as she did. Although the second season of The Crown has Prince Philip feeling a bit jealous of his wife, there is no proof of him saying this in real life.
The Chicago Tribune suggests he may have been a “ladies’ man” when he was linked to numerous women after his marriage to the Queen. In the show, the Queen makes him a Prince to make peace with him. Prince Philip most likely received his title in real life in order to not testify in the divorce hearings of a close friend.
Margaret Thatcher’s First Day As Prime Minister
May 4, 1979 was a historic day for the United Kingdom when Margaret Thatcher became the very first female British prime minister. Before her time as a prime minister, she graduated from Oxford University and worked as both a chemist and lawyer. She was the prime minister for 11 years and was given the nickname, “the Iron Lady.”
The fourth season of The Crown introduced Thatcher around the time of her just starting out in the ministry. Her arrival on her first day of work was monumental and was recreated in the show including her famous scarf, dress, and briefcase.
Charles And Camilla
It is no secret that King Charles and Camilla were interested in one another during the King’s marriage to Princess Diana. Eventually, the two even got married and joined their two families.
Young versions of the couple made an appearance in The Crown and it will be interesting to see how they move forward with their storyline in the future.
Princess Diana And Prince Charles’ Engagement Photos
The world was abuzz with excitement when Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles announced their engagement in early 1981 after six months of dating. Diana got to show off her sapphire and diamond engagement ring and got an outfit to match. The two took their engagement photos outside Buckingham Palace.
The actors in The Crown were able to perfectly match their engagement photos. Their costumes, poses, and facial expressions look exactly like the original. It also showed Diana’s conversation with her roommates telling them the news, which was almost word-for-word what actually happened.
An Inaccurate Moment Between The Queen And Margaret Thatcher
Those who aren’t too familiar with the Queen’s relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher may not know that there was some tension. “Both women were shaped by intransigent men who dislike compromise,” said historian Dean Palmer. One of their biggest feuds was in 1986.
A scene in The Crown had the Queen tell her press secretary Michael Shea to leak her disdain for Thatcher to the press. The Sunday Times had written about this in 1986, but their information didn’t come from Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s team denied that she told Shea to leak this information, so the press likely got it from another inside source.
The Truth About Princess Alice
Princess Alice of Battenberg was the mother of Prince Philip and the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She was born deaf and forced into exile with most of the Greek royal family. Later in life, she became a nun and devoted a lot of her time to charity work. She was invited to live in Buckingham Palace for the last two years of her life.
When The Crown showed the relationship between Prince Philip and his mother, they made it seem as if they’d been estranged. On the contrary, he had been in contact with her most of his life and it was his idea to bring her to live with him when Greece wasn’t safe anymore.
Princess Margaret Never Suggested To Call Off The 1981 Royal Wedding
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon was Queen Elizabeth II’s only sibling. She was certainly the more unpredictable one between the two and received a lot of attention for her romantic life. Before Princess Diana, she was often the one who journalists and other members of the press followed closely.
There are some moments that were dramatized in The Crown, including the time around Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding. The show included a scene of Princess Margaret urging the royal family to call off the wedding. That never happened. People magazine said the two had a good relationship at first and only started to dislike each other later in life.
The Queen’s Visit To Aberfan
On October 21, 1966, the town of Aberfan in South Wales experienced a catastrophic disaster when the waste from a coal mining ground slid downhill. Unfortunately, it was right by a school and several young lives were lost. Queen Elizabeth II arrived eight days later to pay her respects.
An episode in the third season of The Crown recreates this disastrous moment in history. The information in the episode is very accurate including the Queen’s failure to respond emotionally to the huge crisis. According to Town & Country magazine, it’s one of her greatest regrets.
The Royal Corgis Get Special Treatment
One thing that has always remained the same is Queen Elizabeth II’s love for Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs. She had them in her childhood and her current Corgis are descendants of those from when she was a young girl. The Queen has owned over 30 Corgis throughout her life.
The royal Corgis made sure to make an appearance on The Crown with this photo of Olivia Colman posed similarly to the real Queen. Not only were they featured on the series, but an animated movie called The Queen’s Corgi showed just how much she loves her dogs.
The Revenge Dress
Arguably one of Princess Diana’s most iconic dresses, she wore the LBD (little black dress) shortly after her separation from King, then-Prince Charles. Due to the iconic nature of the LBD, it only makes sense that it made an appearance on The Crown.
The Christina Stambolian-designed black mini-dress with a sweetheart neckline appeared in the fifth season of the popular television series and looked almost identical to the real-life version.
Wallis Simpson’s Pugs
The Duke of Windsor was once known as King Edward VIII but gave up his crown in order to marry Wallis Simpson. She had quite an eccentric personality and was known for her love of pugs. Simpson almost always had more than one by her side and gave them fun names such as Black Diamond and Davey Crockett.
The Crown was sure to include her love for pugs by having them in almost all of her character’s scenes. This was a part of royal family history that the show got completely right.
Princess Diana Getting Hounded By The Press
Members of the royal family will always be broadcast to the public and this was something Princess Diana dealt with for her entire adult life. It started shortly before the engagement when she had been romantically linked to Prince Charles and followed her to her last moments on earth.
It was crucial for The Crown to cover this because it played a huge part in the world’s perspective of the royal family from the 1980s to today. The show stayed true to how much the press hounded her on a daily basis.
Lord Snowdon Led A Complicated Life
Antony Armstrong-Jones, also known as 1st Earl of Snowdon and Lord Snowdon was married to Princess Margaret from 1960 to 1978. Their divorce gave them a lot of negative publicity because it went against royal traditions. He was known to live a life full of late-night partying and was unfaithful to his wife during their marriage.
His “bohemian” lifestyle was accurately portrayed during the second season of The Crown. The show describes his wild past and how he spent his time with other women after his marriage. It also touched on his life as a photographer in fashion, design, and theatre.
Princess Margaret And Peter Townsend’s Rocky Relationship
Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, Princess Margaret, was forced to choose between her royal duty and true love when she started a relationship with the divorced Peter Townsend. They met when she was 14 and he was 30 when he accepted a role as her father’s royal equerry. They started dating eight years later.
Their relationship as told on The Crown was pretty accurate, including Townsend getting shipped off to Brussels to stop the relationship from progressing. The Queen could not let her sister marry a divorced man because it would have gone against royal protocol.