This is the first in a series about The Crown on Netflix.
It is an impressive show, and an entertaining one at that. But how accurate it is?
This series will go through Season 1 of The Crown, episode by episode, and talk about the details. What’s true? What’s false? What’s completely unknown?
And so, we begin with Episode 1: Wolferton Splash.
Of course, spoilers will abound.
-The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) and Prince Phillip were really very much in love, and got married a good deal of sentiment against him in royal circles. For more about this, Netflix has a great documentary about Phillip, called “Prince Phillip: The Plot to Make a King.” However, for all Louis Mountbatten’s scheming, they did really fall in love.
-King George VI was a heavy smoker, made worse by the stress of the war, and he really was diagnosed with a tumor in 1951. And yes, he really did have an operation in Buckingham Palace. His eldest daughter did have to take his place on the Commonwealth Tour. He really did go to the airport to see her off, as seen in the video below.
-The King’s stammer, dramatized in The King’s Speech, was a very real thing.
-The King’s love of dirty limericks was also a very real thing. The actual ones used in The Crown, however, were chosen by the production staff.
-Prince Phillip really did have to give up his Greek and Danish titles to marry Princess Elizabeth. He was given the title Duke of Edinburgh but was no longer, properly speaking, a prince — at least not until Elizabeth gave him the title of Prince after she became queen.
-Prince Charles and Princess Anne are shown in Malta with their parents while their father was stationed there. In reality, they remained in the UK with their grandparents. Here are some photos and info about Princess Elizabeth visiting her husband at his post.
-Was the King really coughing up blood as early as 1947? Probably false, but I’m being nice and putting this in the unknown category.
-I can’t find any confirmation of his wearing makeup to meet with Churchill, either.
-It’s also unknown when various people became aware of the true nature of the King’s illness, etc. Of course, the writers need to fill in these gaps for the audience and so it should not be considered an inaccuracy, but rather a needed fabrication in order to have a detailed show that flows properly.
-Similarly, while we know that Princess Margaret met Peter Townsend when she was a teenager, we aren’t sure when their affair began. We do know that it became public AFTER Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, but more on that later.
-And, of course, much remains unknown about the relationship between the King and his son-in-law.
-Here’s an article about the great pains that were taken to keep the show as accurate as possible.