The Crown Season 4 fact vs fiction – what really happened

More than 73 million households around the world have tuned in to binge Netflix’s The Crown.

The historical drama examining the lives of the Monarchy has gripped viewers globally.

And fans were treated this weekend as the fourth series finally dropped onto the streaming platform.

Revisiting Britain between 1977 and 1990, the latest episodes introduced us to Margaret Thatcher and Diana Spencer.

Viewers will no doubt be wondering how close to reality these chapters truly are.

According to some reports senior royals have been left fuming at the latest fictionalisation of their lives.

Royal insiders have been quoted as conveying the Firm’s fury show.

But speaking to BBC News, actor Josh O’Connor said: “We’re actors, it’s not a real story.”

So how much of the story is the writer’s artistic creation, and how much is historically accurate?

Mountbatten's death

Looking at some key moments from the latest series, we can start with Lord Mountbatten’s assassination at the hands of the IRA.

As reported in The Independent, this event did happen as portrayed – but Dickie, as he was known, was not killed immediately in the blast.

He was pulled from the wreckage off the shore of County Sligo above, but died in the process.

The IRA did take responsibility for the bombing, which also killed three others.

Charles meeting Diana

Diana’s long awaited entrance to The Crown was shown in the opening scene of the fourth series – but this was entirely fictionalised.

Charles did meet Diana through her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, when she was just 16.

But she wasn’t dressed as a tree, as the series portrayed.

Speaking of their meeting following their engagement in 1981, Charles said: “I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was. I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything.”

In interviews Diana recounted the moment she explained her own version of one of their first meetings, following Dickie’s death.

In clips recounted in Channel 4’s documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, she said: “You must be so lonely.’ I said, ‘It’s pathetic watching you walking up the aisle with Mountbatten’s coffin in front, ghastly, you need someone beside you.' Whereupon he leapt upon me and started kissing me and I thought, ‘Urgh, this is not what people do.’ And he was all over me for the rest of the evening, following me around like a puppy.”

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That conversation is never recounted in the series, which later shows Charles inviting Diana to the family’s Scottish residence, Balmoral.

Thatcher at Balmoral

Margaret Thatcher is also shown as having an eventful and ultimately unsuccessful trip to Balmoral over a bank holiday weekend.

Accompanied by husband Denis, The Crown shows a politician unable to switch off and unable to form bonds with the Palace.

In fact, the Queen is bemused at the Tory leader, who did not bring outdoor shoes and embarked on a hike in smart dress shoes.

The details of the trip could be fictionalised, but Thatcher’s biographer said there is an emblem of truth to the episode.

Charles Moore, wrote in The Telegraph that while aspects of this visit are “surely wrong”, the “broad impression has the ring of truth”.

The Queen’s biographer, Ben Pimlott, once stated that Thatcher viewed Balmoral as a form of “purgatory”.

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The Queen’s favourite child

It is long rumoured that Elizabeth II has a favourite child, and it is a topic touched on in the fourth episode of the series.

In it, the Queen, played by Olivia Coleman, has a one-to-one with each of her children before concluding that they are all “lost”.

It’s when she referencing Andrew, played by Tom Byrne, that Philip responds: “Your favourite?”

Many have speculated that Prince Andrew is the monarch’s favourite, with Historian Piers Brendon once explaining to Jeremy Paxman on his Channel 5 documentary, Paxman on the Queen’s Children, that the Queen respects that Andrew is “an action man”.

The new season of The Crown marks the first episodes to have been written since Andrew stepped down from his royal duties.

Michael’s Fagan Buckingham Palace break-in

The fifth episode of The Crown’s new season shows a fictionalised account of you Michael Fagan breaking into Buckingham Palace.

Fagan gained international infamy when he clambered up the railings of the Queen's residence and managed to enter via an open window.

According to the man himself, who says he struggles to remember what sparked the break-in, the pair never spoke about Thatcher as it's suggested in the series.

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Fagan also told The Telegraph that the set used for the Queen’s bedroom in the Netflix drama is inaccurate, as the Queen “never had a four-poster bed”.

And in the show police wrestled Fagan to the ground – something the intruder himself disputes.

He said: “The policemen came and they were all over the place – they hadn’t arrested anyone for years, they were on a retirement posting, on guard duty.”

He added. "One of them was fumbling around for his notebook.”

Diana and Charles’ Australia trip

The Crown’s portrayal of the frenzy surrounding Diana’s appearance on Charle’s 1983 Australia trip is accurate.

And the Prince’s fury at being overshadowed has also been confirmed by a number of sources.

Speaking to Inside the Crown, a four part ITV documentary, photographer Ken Lennox said it was here he saw warning signs.

He said: “I'm about four feet from the Princess, and I'm trying to get a bit of the opera house in the background and some of the crowd, and Diana burst into tears and wept for a couple of minutes.

“After it was over, I went to see the press officer for the Prince and Princess, and I said, 'What happened?' He said, 'Ken, mozzies and jet lag and heat.' So I just accepted that.”

In the show’s sixth episode, while in Australia, Diana references the fact that Charles wore cufflinks gifted to him by Parker Bowles on their honeymoon. This actually happened.

The princess herself referenced this in Channel 4 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words, stating: “We were opening our diaries to discuss various things. Out comes two pictures of Camilla,. And on our honeymoon, cufflinks arrive on his wrists. Two C’s entwined like the Chanel ‘C’. Got it. One knew exactly. So I said ‘Camilla gave you those didn’t she?’ He said ‘Yes, so what’s wrong? They’re a present from a friend.’”

Diana added, “And boy, did we have a row. Jealousy, total jealousy. And it was such a good idea the two C’s but it wasn’t that clever.”

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