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The Crown fact checked: How accurate is The Crown? What's fact & fiction? Episode guide


Episode 4 – Favourites

In episode four of The Crown, the Queen is attempting to re-connect with her four children, after hearing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s ‘favourite’ child had gone missing.

Mrs Thatcher’s son, Mark Thatcher (Freddie Fox), really did go missing during the Paris-Dakar car rally in January 1982 with his French co-driver, Anne-Charlotte Verney.

He was discovered four days later in the Sahara desert in Algeria.

Mrs Thatcher’s daughter Carol (Rebecca Humphries) also confirmed in her biography she wrote about her father, Mark was the favourite child.

She wrote: “The rest of us could relax a little because Mark had hung an ‘occupied’ sign on the family’s ‘embarrassing relative’ slot.”

Episode 5 – Fagan

Painter and decorator, Michael Fagan (Tom Brooke) really did break into Buckingham Palace.

On July 9, 1982, 32-year-old Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace and made his way into the Queen’s bedroom, the biggest royal security breach of the 20th century.

On July 9, 1982, 32-year-old Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace and made his way into the Queen’s bedroom, the biggest royal security breach of the 20th century.

The intrusion on July 9, 1982, was not Fagan’s first break into the palace.
According to Fagan, and as seen The Crown, Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace in June 1982 at approximately 7am.

Speaking to the Independent, Fagan recalled: “It was a double bed but a single room, definitely – she was sleeping in there on her own.

“Her nightie was one of those Liberty prints and it was down to her knees.”

In The Crown, they are seen discussing politics, war and his hatred for Margaret Thatcher and the Queen appears sympathetic.

What was said between the two in the Queen’s bedroom remains unknown, but Fagan is believed to have had approximately 10 minutes of the Queen’s time, as seen in the series.

Episode 7 – The Hereditary Principle

Episode seven of The Crown mainly focuses on the struggles of Princess Margaret (Helen Bonham Carter).

It is true Margaret could no longer serve as Counsellor of State from March 1985 onwards as Princes Edward had come of age.

However, she did not lose all of her other royal duties as a result, which is what is suggested in The Crown.

Elsewhere in the episode, Princess Margaret uncovers the existence of her two cousins, Nerissa and Katherine.

Nerissa and Katherine inherited a defective gene from the Trefusis family.

As a result of their learning difficulties, they were sent to Earlswood Institution for Mental Defectives (later changed to The Royal Earlswood Hospital), in Redhill, Surrey

Their mother married the Queen’s brother, Jock Bowes Lyon and in The Crown, the Queen Mother explains to Margaret they were locked away in an asylum because their illness would have had consequences for the monarchy after the abdication of King George.

Episode 8 – 48:1

Yes, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did not want to impose sanction on South Africa.

However, 48 countries of the Commonwealth did and as head of the Commonwealth, the Queen was obliged to support their decision.

The episode focuses on the differences between the Queen and Mrs Thatcher.

In the end, Mrs Thatcher agreed to impose sanctions and apartheid came to an end in April 1994.

Episode 9 – Avalanche

Princess Diana really did perform at The Royal Opera House in London.

She took to the stage with dancer Wayne Sleep and performed a routine to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl.

Marlene Koenig revealed to Express.co.uk Diana did dance with Wayne Sleep in December 1985 and also revealed the routine had been planned and rehearsed.

Ms Koenig told Express.co.uk: “Diana did not perform at the Royal Ballet. It was at Charity Concert at Covent Garden in December 1985.

“She danced Uptown Girl (by Billy Joel) with Wayne Sleep.

“She was sitting with Charles, slipped away and then turned up on stage to dance (she had been working with Sleep) but no one knew that she was going to do this on stage.”

In The Crown, the dance is portrayed as a birthday treat for Prince Charles but the performance took place around a month before his actual birthday.

Additionally, photographs of the routine did not emerge until 1995 and not the day afterwards as seen in The Crown.

In The Crown, Prince Charles Is seen exclaiming to Diana: “What were you thinking?” and calling the performance a “grotesque, mortifying display”.

How exactly Prince Charles reacted to remains unknown.

Unfortunately, there is no footage of the real-life performance left, only photographs.

Episode 10 – War

In 1990, Margaret Thatcher was ousted from the House of Commons as Prime Minister.

She was replaced as head of government and party leader by Chancellor John Major.

In The Crown, Mrs Thatcher is given an Order of Merit by the Queen, a personal gift.

The Queen then went onto appoint Mrs Thatcher Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter in 1995 and attended her 70th and 80th birthday parties.

The Queen was also present at Mrs Thatcher’s funeral in 2013.

Throughout The Crown and today, it is believed Mrs Thatcher and the Queen did not get along but going by the history books, this may not be entirely true.

The Crown is streaming on Netflix now



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