"There are two sorts of truth. There"s historical truth and also then there"s the bigger truth about the past," claims the show"s historical consultant, Robert Lacey.

You are watching: How much of the crown is true


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Ahead of the premiere that The Crown"s 4th season, T&C is republishing this story around the show"s accuracy, and also how asking if it"s true or no is more complicated than rigorously checking the facts.

Most americans watching The Crown aren"t familiar with Harold Wilson, the Queen"s first Prime Minister from the work party, that is played by Jason Watkins in season three. Castle don"t know around the Aberfan mining disaster, in which 116 children and 28 adult died, and they haven"t heard that Princess Alice, Prince Philip"s mother, a chain-smoking Greek nun.

So the Netflix collection about Queen Elizabeth"s regime becomes a history lesson that sorts, teaching its viewers about not only the imperial family, but likewise life and also politics in the U.K. During the 1960s and "70s.

But showrunner Peter Morgan isn"t making a documentary. And also at times, make a drama—even one rooted in history—stands in ~ odds through the facts. For this reason he plays with timelines, manufactures characters, and even invents instances that couldn"t have actually taken ar in real life.

"There room two kinds of truth. There"s historical truth and then there"s the larger truth about the past," Robert Lacey, the show"s historic consultant, tells me over the phone, while promoting his new book, The Crown, The official Companion, Volume 2.


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Yes, there room photographs, and also letters, even video footage of the royals from this time period. But the show"s many iconic scenes tend to highlight the bits of history that weren"t documented, "all the lives and loves and experiences and tears and also smiles," as Lacey explains them. They can be decidedly inaccurate (after all, nobody has access to the royals" many intimate conversations), and also still representative of emotions the were real. And also at the end of the day, the purpose of the present isn"t come educate, but rather come entertain.

"We are producing a work of fiction, albeit based in part reality. But ultimately, there"s only so lot research you can do," mock O"Connor, who plays a young Prince Charles, speak me. "After a time, girlfriend just gained to crack on and create something because that yourself."

Morgan, it would seem, follows the exact same ethos. The starts v history, and then create something because that himself.


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For example, Prince Philip"s mom Princess Alice never offered an comprehensive interview come a journalist called John Armstrong in ~ The Guardian, however that scene permits Morgan to delve further into she fascinating story 보다 a historically exact chronology can have allowed.

The show additionally suggests the Princess Anne"s fling v Andrew Parker Bowles developed in tandem with the starts of Prince Charles"s courtship that Camilla. In actual life, Charles"s biographer Sally Bedell smith doesn"t believe those two relationships overlapped. It"s difficult to deny the a royal quadrangle renders for good television, however it likewise helps to illustrates Morgan"s pointed view on the royals.


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This season is undeniably sympathetic come Prince Charles and also his position within the royal family, essentially waiting for his mommy to die to completely realize his role. It"s additionally fairly an important of the Queen, going so far as to suggest that she had to feign she grief as soon as visiting the families who lost kids at Aberfan. Morgan is paint a version of history, and also he"s picking and choosing i m sorry moments ideal highlight his allude of view. The occasions he chooses to leave out of the plot are, perhaps, just as telling as what the includes.

Notably Princess ann married her very first husband, Captain mark Phillips in 1973, squarely in ~ the timeline that The Crown"s season three. And also in 1974, there to be an test kidnapping the the Queen"s only daughter, arguably the many dramatic royal event which might have to be covered. No of those events appear on screen.

In a Twitter thread, pagan Cocks of the Pop society blog walk Fug Yourself says that regardless of the present ostensibly being about the Queen, Morgan is partial to storylines that facility male emotions.

"I still think it"s illustrative of a an extremely disjointed storytelling approach and also one the favors guy Pain," she composed of the exemption of the attempted kidnapping. "Maybe Peter Morgan simply needed time to figure out how he have the right to make Anne"s kidnapping all around Philip"s feelings."

But follow to Lacey, there simply wasn"t time to incorporate the attack on the Queen"s daughter.

"You offer one totality episode come the tragedy the Aberfan, and the last two episodes are allotted to Charles and also Camilla. There"s one episode allotted to lord Mountbatten"s coup. There"s one illustration allotted to Bubbikins," that says. It easily adds up.

"It"s a pity we... I know that Princess Anne"s kidnapping was thought about as an obvious thing come dramatize. Yet in reality, it simply didn"t right in."


Similarly, the series wholly ignores Bloody Sunday, the 1972 occurrence in Derry, north Ireland, when British soldiers shot Catholic protestors. Fourteen human being eventually died, killings which element Minister David Cameron would later on say to be "unjustified and unjustifiable."

And as well as a couple of key songs—Princess Anne"s singing of David Bowie"s "Starman" is a significant exception, as is a scene with Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn set to The Who"s "Squeezebox"—the series essentially skips over Britain"s social revolution throughout this time period. There is no episode committed to Beatlemania or cite of the rojo Stones, or the burgeoning punk rock movement, which would certainly lead the Sex Pistols to put out "God save the Queen" in tandem with Elizabeth II"s silver Jubilee.

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These are just a few examples that notable historical moments that could have served as fodder for The Crown. But Lacey would argue the there is simply not room to incorporate everything. The display is deliberately non-exhaustive.

"Peter is very, very insistent, and so to be I, that this is not a background documentary. We"re not pretending this is a chronological document of those years. There are lots of documentaries that perform that sort of thing. This is a drama which choose out certain objects," he tells me.

"There"s nothing political around why some things space covered and also some space not. Friend take your priorities. Obviously, Aberfan is one incredibly essential one; Princess Alice is another; Wilson and also the suspicion of Russian espionage is another; Camilla, and then you"ve fill up your ten episodes."


But Lacey stand by the show"s historic accuracy. "I defend really strongly the this show recreates the past very plausibly," he once told me ahead of season two of the series.

It"s something the still believes. "When history gets departed from, it"s not done casually. It"s done on the communication of wanting come convey a details message that deserve to only it is in conveyed by invention," he says. And just because a scene, or a little bit of dialogue is invented, the doesn"t typical it doesn"t highlight something true.

With all the said, if you"re quiet curious to fact-check The Crown, Lacey"s brand-new book, The Crown: The official Companion, Volume 2, provides a full account that the history behind each episode. Order a copy here


Caroline HallemannDigital News DirectorAs the digital news director for town & Country, Caroline Hallemann covers whatever from the brothers royal family members to the latest episodes of Outlander, death Eve, and also The Crown.
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