Some Of The Main Inaccuracies About The British Monarchy Presented In 'The Crown'
Through the two seasons of the Netflix historical drama, there have been a lot of outrageous revelations about the Windsors’ intimate life and even English history, but some have pointed out to several inaccuracies. However well done “The Crown” is, it is still a television drama that takes some liberties for the sake of entertainment, and it should not be mistaken for a history lesson. Take a look at some of the things that are creatively portrayed on the show.
Rumors and myths about the British Royal are in fact intertwined into the plot to keep things interesting. On Season 2, especially, Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, is portrayed as a really awful character, something that Elizabeth II is reportedly not happy about, even though she reportedly “loved” the first season.
PRINCE PHILIP AND PRINCE CHARLES
One of the things that the Queen disagrees with is that Season 2 makes Philip look bad, being portrayed as an insensitive father to his eldest son Prince Charles. In episode 9, for example, Philip calls Charles “bloody weak” because he doesn’t defend himself from bullies. According to Glamour, the Queen said that Philip’s lack of sympathy to his son is an invention.
THE PROFUMO AFFAIR
Named after then-Secretary of State for War John Profumo, this scandal involved not only powerful (and married) English men throwing parties with many young “call girls,” but it also represented a security threat for the UK, when one of those girls became involved both with Profumo and a Soviet military officer. While the show suggests that Philip was among the men that attended these infamous parties organized by Dr. Stephen Ward, there is not any evidence of this.
Rumors about Philip’s infidelities are nothing new, and the show doesn’t shy away from explicitly and implicitly portraying them, going as far as implicating him with actual women that probably didn’t even meet the Queen’s husband. Such is the case of Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova, who is implied to have carried on an affair with Philip. But neither this nor any other cases of Philip cheating on his wife has ever been proven.
While there was in fact an educated man named Lord Altrincham who caused a stir with his open criticism to the royal family in both the written media and TV in the late 50s, the meeting between him and Elizabeth II that is portrayed on the show is pure imagination. He did reportedly met with the Queen’s assistant private secretary, and his views about the royals eventually helped modernize the British monarchy.
PRINCE PHILIP & CECILE'S FATAL PLANE ACCIDENT
Prince Philip had a troubled childhood, and this is something the show does a great job of portraying. Even though his relationship was his father was strained, Philip was notably close with his sister Cecile - despite the fact that she married into a royal German family, which pledged itself to the Nazi state.
Philip began misbehaving after being sent to a boarding school in northern Scotland and ends up fighting with the other boys. In fact, he was misbehaving so much that Cecile decided he shouldn’t go back to Germany for the holidays. Rather, she decided to fly to London for a wedding. The plane ends up crashing and kills everyone on board. During the funeral, the prince’s father publicly blames his son for his sister’s death.
Although Philip’s sister did, in fact, tragically die in a horrible plane crash in 1937, the prince had nothing to do with it whatsoever. There are no facts or evidence that points to Cecile’s decision to attend a wedding in London being caused by Philip’s misbehaving. In addition, Philip’s father never actually blamed his son for Cecile’s death. One thing the show did accurately portray, however, was how the funeral was a huge Nazi affair. Hitler sent the family a sympathy note, and Hermann Göring was actually present at Cecil’s funeral.
Season 2 introduced the iconic Kennedy’s, as they paid their respects to the Queen during the pair’s European tour. In the show, we could definitely see some jealous vibes coming from Elizabeth, as she watched Mrs. Kennedy receive an endless amount of adoration and attention.
They quickly seemed to bond over their shared feelings of ‘being birds in gilded cages’ - but resumed back to frostiness once the monarch found out Kennedy was badmouthing her and Buckingham Palace the next day at a party. Jackie apologized to the Queen afterward, claiming that she was drugged up and didn’t mean any of the horrible things that were said.
The Kennedy’s did visit the Queen for dinner in 1961. And according to rumors, the meeting wasn’t exactly a success. Although many people were praising the gathering, it did seem that Mrs. Kennedy wasn’t exactly impressed with the monarch. Apparently, the tension was based on Kennedy demanding that her brother-in-law and sister (twice divorced, something that was extremely looked down upon in post-war Britain), were to be invited to the dinner as well.
Elizabeth refused the demand. In addition, Her Majesty excluded her own sister, Princess Margaret, off the guest list, knowing that Jackie expected to be photographed with her. However, the circumstances depicted in the show have no proof. There is no evidence that shows that Kennedy’s hostility was due to drug use.
During Season 1, Prime Minister Winston Churchill plays a key role in mentoring the recently crowned Elizabeth II as she gets used to her new position of power. But he true nature of their relationship is not portrayed accurately. While Churchill did offer advice to the young queen, the two had a much warmer relationship that what we see in the series. It is said that they used to have fun and laugh together and that they truly cared for each other. “It was always such fun,” are actual words of Elizabeth II about their meetings.
Considering what we see on the show, we would think that Prince Charles doesn’t have a single good memory about Gordonstoun, the northern Scotland boarding school that he attended by his father’s desire. According to the series, Charles was a target for bullies during his time there, which leaves a mark on him forever. But despite admitting that he had some hard times at the school, he also defended the virtues of the institution and credited with helping him develop as a human being.
THE THURSDAY CLUB
The weekly gathering of influential men that Philip is a member did exist. Because of the position of power of the exclusive members of this club, it has always fascinated the British press. But there is nothing that proves that these men were part of anything scandalous beyond drinking together. It was certainly far from being the den of vice the show portrays.
One of the better examples of artistic licenses taken by the showrunners when it comes to fact and fiction is the appearance of a character named Venetia Scott on Season 4’s fourth episode, who is Churchill’s secretary. After Scott gets run over by a bus because of a smoky fog that settles in London, the Prime Minister finally has a proper response to the serious situation. But while the fog in question did hit the UK capital during those times, there was no Venetia Scott.
PHILIP KNEELS IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN
In Season 1, when Elizabeth is crowned Queen, Philips is very troubled about having to kneel in front of his wife, despite her position. But while there are some accounts of tensions within the couple because of Philip’s trouble coping with being at the shadow of his wife in the early years of her reign, it is unlikely that someone of royal origin would have questioned such an important part of royal protocol. Season 3 of “The Crown” will be available on Netflix in November, and we can’t wait to know what the Queen will think about it.
Sources: The Ranker