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How Historically Accurate is 'The Crown'?

Did Prince Philip Cheat on Queen Elizabeth?

This may be a question on everyone’s mind, especially since Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. The answer is that it was definitely possible, and Queen Elizabeth herself admitted that it was possible. With that being said, neither royal has confirmed the infidelity, although the Queen stated that it’s entirely possible he cheated.

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Did Churchill Hate his Portrait?

Yes! He did hate his portrait and stated that it made him look “filthy” and “malignant.” Not only did he reject the portrait, he refused to ever let it hang while he was alive. After his death, it was designated to hang in the Houses of Parliament, but Lady Churchill had it destroyed in the middle of the night for her husband. The painter, Sutherland, condemned it as vandalism. Thankfully, he held onto some preparatory sketches, which are held by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

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Did Prince Philip Have a Problem with Kneeling?

Before the coronation, Queen Elizabeth and Philip have a conversation about kneeling. He wanted an exception, to which she explicitly said, “No.” In reality, Prince Philip was already a member of the Greek Royal Family before the couple married, meaning that he would have understood what was expected of him. There is no indication that he would have an issue kneeling at the coronation.

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Did King George VI Have Lung Cancer?

Yes, technically, but the show took some liberties with his lung cancer. King George wasn’t diagnosed with lung cancer until 1951, 4 years after the scene in The Crown. It’s also accurate that he had an operation in Buckingham Palace instead of a hospital, and only his wife was waiting for the news rather than the whole family.

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Did Elizabeth Call the Duke of Windsor for Advice on Her Sister?

In the series, Queen Elizabeth calls the Duke of Windsor to ask whether she should support her sister in marrying Peter Townsend since he walked away from the crown for love. Actually, this probably never happened for a huge reason: the royal family didn’t like the Duke. He gave them nicknames which many of them didn’t like – specifically George VI’s wife, Elizabeth. He called her Cookie because she was “fat and common,” but it could also refer to the rumor that she’s an illegitimate daughter of a cook. So, it is incredibly unlikely she would have contacted the Duke for advice.

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Did Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Fight?

Of course, they did. The pair aren’t unlike any other couple in the world. There are disagreements, and sometimes they can get public. It’s factually correct that journalists in Australia caught them fighting. Just like the show, the Queen threw a tennis racket and tennis shoes at him. Once approached, the journalists did destroy the footage on request.

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Did Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth have a Strained Relationship?

Early in their relationship, the couple did have a rough time – particularly Prince Philip. To marry Elizabeth, he had to give up his claims to the thrones of Greece and Denmark. Additionally, he had to give up his career and even his last name, Mountbatten. The family decided to take the Queen’s last name, Windsor, which attributed to Prince Philip’s identity and masculinity issues.

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Did Princess Margret Really Love Peter Townsend?

The relationship between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend is actually pretty spot on. When the family visited South Africa, Peter Townsend followed along, which is where the couple started to grow feelings. Soon after King George’s death, Princess Margaret had her own apartment where Townsend was comptroller. This was where they began their affair, but it didn’t become public until much later. Rumors didn’t even begin until after the coronation.

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Did Venetia Scott Die in the London Fog?

In reality, Venetia Scott never existed, so she couldn’t have died in the London Fog. With that said, Winston Churchill did have a similar relationship with his secretaries, which included telling them to read notes and memos through the bathroom door. However, the London Fog was a real thing, and it did claim the lives of at least 12,000 people. Churchill took the event seriously, and it was what spurred him to start fighting for environmental reform.

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Did Churchill and Queen Elizabeth Get Along?

The Crown shows a lot of animosity toward Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth, but this is mostly inaccurate. Churchill did suffer strokes due to the stress of his role, but Queen Elizabeth remarked that he was the best Prime Minister she’d ever had. The pair got along well, and when he died in 1965, the Queen declared a state funeral, which was the first to happen to a non-royal-family member since 1935.

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Did King George have an Anger Problem?

It’s very well known that King George had an anger issue. The show displays this well, especially in the first season when he displays an inordinate amount of anger when his assistant couldn’t put his collar on quickly enough. It’s also recorded that he cursed quite a bit, but he didn’t have the fondness for crude jokes that the show suggests.

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Did Elizabeth Stumble Through Her Vows?

During her wedding, The Crown shows a young Queen Elizabeth stumbling through her vows, but this is entirely fictitious. The reality is that Queen Elizabeth handled herself very well. She actually got a letter from her father, commending for how well she carried herself and how calmly she spoke during the wedding. Talk about a classy lady.

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Was Queen Elizabeth’s Dress Purchased from Ration Coupons?

When Elizabeth wed Philip, the show features an elegant wedding with massive flower displays. The wedding actually only had two flower displays due to a lack of money. Several other things were restricted because of WWII including food, clothes, soap, and fuel. Even though it ended in 1945, rationing in the United Kingdom continued until after the war, and everyone was required to use coupons to purchase goods. The Crown accurately displays the fact that Queen Elizabeth’s dress was purchased using clothing coupons she’d saved up.

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Did JFK Use Drugs?

This one is a bit of a mixed bag. Medical records show that JFK had a host of medical issues and that he took a variety of different drugs to combat it. He’d take painkillers, which would make him groggy, and then Ritalin to become a little more alert. However, there’s no record that Dr. Jacobson, aka “Dr. Feelgood,” gave either JFK or Jackie a cocktail of medicines.

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Was Edward VIII a Nazi Sympathizer?

In The Crown, Edward VIII is displayed as a Nazi sympathizer. Did the royal family really have a member that agreed with Hitler? The answer is pretty convoluted. There were telegrams that made it seem the Duke of Windsor supported Hitler by saying that he was “A firm supporter of a peaceful compromise with Germany” and that if he had remained on the throne “war could have been avoided.” There was also a plot to re-install the duke as King, although this obviously didn’t come to pass. Edward claimed it was all a complete fabrication, and Churchill said that it was all propaganda. In the end, propaganda is how it went down in history.

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Did Prince Charles Actually Date Diana’s Older Sister?

Yes! As weird as it may be, Prince Charles did date Diana’s older sister. Lady Sarah Spencer was courted by Prince Charles five years after his relationship with Camilla. Sarah received several invitations to Windsor and Balmoral. While the relationship didn’t seem passionate, she was at least being considered for princess.

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Did Prince Charles Say, “Whatever in Love Means” When Asked About His Engagement?

As unbelievable as this sounds, in response to a question at a press event regarding the couple’s engagement and whether they were in love, the prince responded with “Whatever in Love Means.” You can still find footage of this encounter today.

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Did Diana and Charles Actually Not Know Each Other Before They Got Married?

This is true. In fact, it’s been revealed that Diana and Prince Charles met each other only about 12 times before they walked down the aisle. This also includes official events. It’s easy to see how their marriage was doomed from the start!

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Was a Bracelet Commissioned by Prince Charles for Camila?

Yes, there is actually a real bracelet transcribed with “G” and “F”. However, the details around this bracelet have been blurred a bit through the show’s interpretation. According to royal biographer Penny Juror The Prince of Whales actually gave Camilla this bracelet before their wedding, and gave other women that he was close with jewelry before the wedding as a way of thanking them for their time before settling down with Diana. This doesn’t however explain the matching cufflinks that he wore on the honeymoon, also engraved with “G” and “F”. 

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Did Diana Win Over the Royals at Her Balmoral Visit?

There’s no doubt that Princess Diana had a wonderfully magnetic personality. During season 4 of The Crown, it’s shown that Diana wins over the royals by passing their social “test” at Balmoral. This portrayal is 100% true. Diana’s first visit at Balmoral was all the family needed to advise Prince Charles to take her hand in marriage. 

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Did Princess Anne Really Not Care for Princess Diana?

This is true, Anne had a notable disdain for Princess Diana. Their relationship didn’t start off all that bad, but once Diana gained the eye of the public, jealousy soon ensued. In the documentary The Real Princess Anne, it was revealed that she thought that Diana diminished the stature of the crown. 

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Did Princess Diana Suffer with Bulimia?

Yes, actress Emma Corrin asked the writers to include this incredibly personal aspect of Diana’s experience to show an honest portrayal of the disease. In interviews, Diana actually told the public that her struggle with Bulimia started right after her marriage by saying “My husband put his hand on my waistline and said, ‘Oh a bit chubby here aren’t we?’ and that triggered off something in me.”

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Did the Queen Actually Have a Conversation About Thatcher with the Intruder?

Ok, so Michael Fagan really did break into Buckingham Palace, but there was no grand conversation about Margaret Thatcher and the state of the country. In fact, Michael Fagan hilariously told a British newspaper in 2012 that the queen immediately “went past me and ran out of the room, her little bare feet running across the floor.” He also attributed his stunt to coming off a two-year magic mushroom high… far from a political agenda. 

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Did Princess Diana Really Roller Skate Through Buckingham Palace?

Diana was really into roller skating, and loved pop music, so we would all like to think that Diana really did boogie through the halls of the palace. However, the details may be a little skewed on this one. If she did ride through the house, it would have probably been on a bike based on reports of the time. 

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Was Prince Charles Jealous of Princess Diana’s Fame on the Australian Tour?

The Prince and Princess’s tour through Australia was a major turning point in the two’s journey together. Diana revealed in an interview with BBC One that the pressure from the media on their relationship was causing a lot of stress on the new couple. While they were very much in love, Diana was aware of the media's preference for her over Prince Charles. Royal insiders say that Diana secretly enjoyed that her popularity with the press annoyed her husband. 

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Are there Really Hidden Royal Cousins?

Yes, Narissa and Catherine Bowes-Lyon were actually cousins of the queen and they were found living hidden away in a mental institution. During season 4 of The Crown Princess Margaret discovers the two sisters, and the cover-up surrounding their mental health. However, it was the media who really made the discovery after Narissa’s death. 

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Did the Queen and Margaret Thatcher Have a Bad Relationship?

The show frames these two powerful women’s relationship in a dramatic way, showing disdain and tension. Although they both held conflicting views on policy, they both had a mutual respect as women in leadership. Newspaper articles claimed the queen thought the prime minister was uncaring, confrontational, and socially divisive. However, the two were able to have an amicable conversation about the incorrect opinions presented by the press. 

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Did Diana Actually Dance for Prince Charles On Stage at the Royal Opera House?

Yes, Diana and ballet star Wayne Sleep did do a number to “Uptown Girl” for on stage at the Royal Opera House. While the crowd was absolutely delighted, the Prince of Whales wasn’t so much impressed. In fact, he was displeased with Diana because she pushed the boundaries of royal propriety.  

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Did Diana Actually Dance for Prince Charles On Stage at the Royal Opera House?

Yes, Diana and ballet star Wayne Sleep did do a number to “Uptown Girl” for on stage at the Royal Opera House. While the crowd was absolutely delighted, the Prince of Whales wasn’t so much impressed. In fact, he was displeased with Diana because she pushed the boundaries of royal propriety.  

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Did Diana Actually Have an Affair with Captain James Hewitt?

Yes, there was a scandal involving Captain James Hewitt. On season 4 of the show, you see Hewitt and Diana sneaking into the castle together. In 1995 Diana acknowledged their affair in an interview on a BBC program. Reportedly their love affair lasted for over 5 years.

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