Netflix’s The Crown will last for six seasons, spanning the entire public life of Queen Elizabeth II. The Crown’s crew takes pains to make it as accurate as possible, but there are some things they just make up. Here’s what things will shock you about The Crown Season 3.
A stroke of lies
In making a TV series about real events decades after they occur, scriptwriters can tell a full story with details that may emerge far after contemporary accounts. This is the method The Crown writer Peter Morgan took to weave together the plot of one first season episode. In the wake of the Soviet Union testing nuclear weapons in 1953, and the subsequent scramble to meet with U. S. President Dwight Eisenhower, U. K. prime minister Winston Churchill suffers a stroke.
His ally and head of Parliament’s House of Lords, Lord Salisbury works with the PM to keep this secret from both the Queen and the country, in an effort to keep Churchill’sstatus and power secure. Elizabeth learns of the stroke when Churchill’s private secretary Jock Colville comes clean, prompting the Queen to rip the PM to shreds over his conspiring. The thing is, this dressing down never happened because Churchill was long dead by the time the Queen found out about the stroke. She heard about Churchill’s ailment when the world did – in 1985 when Colville revealed the truth in his memoirs.
The Crown Season 3 starts when Queen Elizabeth is 39 and the episode is called “The Olding” and its all about her being middle aged and no longer youthful+ sad for what she is no longer. All good except…
I AM FORTY
— Dr. Sarah Parcak (@indyfromspace) November 18, 2019
An illegal romance
The story of choosing between love and royal duty is an important part of The Crown. In the first season, Princess Margaret falls in love with divorced Royal Air Force pilot Pete Townsend. But alas, their love just could not be – protocols surrounding the royal family prevented Margaret from marrying the guy. Had she done so, she would’ve had to abandon her title, and so she chooses royal duties over love. Also, in the series, Elizabeth makes it very difficult for their romance to bloom.
The Queen decides to let the law stand, ruining her sister’s romance. She could have made an exception and granted permission, but she didn’t. Why has he been sent away? Punished like some criminal?”What The Crown doesn’t show is that the Queen actually tried to get the law changed so Margaret might have a happy ending. The legal battle wasn’t worth it to Margaret, and she and Townsend split up.
Lost in the smog
One of the most absurd moments in the first season of The Crown is depicted in the episode”Act of God,” when a thick, impenetrable smog darkens all of London in 1952. Countless residents are left unable to see where they’re going, sending thousands to both the hospital and the undertaker. “Be careful out there; it’s a bowl of real pea soup. The usually very controlling U. K. prime minister Winston Churchill remains shockingly indifferent to the plight of his countrymen, calling the lethal smog an “act of God, which prompts calls for his resignation. Churchill finally begins to take things seriously when his beloved assistant, a young woman named Venetia Scott, is struck dead by a bus driver who couldn’t see her in the smog.
A heartbroken Churchill then delivers a speech, promising England that he will do his best to prevent another smog-related tragedy. While the smog was real, the character of Venetia Scott was made up by The Crown writer Pete Morgan – but she represents a lot. And she also serves as a symbol for the 6,000 or so people who died that month.
After returning from their trip to the moon in July 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin became the most famous and lauded people in the world, surpassing the attention paid to even the royal family. They actually visited Buckingham Palace as part of their victory lap, an episode dramatized during the third season of The Crown. These moon-men enjoy a sit-down with Prince Philip, a huge fan of space exploration and the Apollo landing, up until he meets those astronauts. During their conversation, he realizes that they’re regular people who changed the world for the better, whereas he’s a man born into power and privilege who hasn’t done all that much with those advantages.
This humbling moment, ironically enough, turns Philip into a regular guy for a spell – he experiences a bit of a midlife crisis. It makes for good TV, but this plot development is mostly speculative. There’s no real proof that Philip was a huge NASA fan, and while the Apollo three did visit Buckingham Palace, there’s no record of a private chit-chat with the Duke. So if Philip ever did start to question his place in the universe, it wasn’t Buzz Aldrin’s fault.
A tamer club
Early in the second season of The Crown, Prince Philip attends the Thursday Club, a group of gentlemen that met for lunch once a week, most often at a central London seafood restaurant called Wheeler’s. On The Crown, these meetings are depicted as raucous affairs. However, historian Max Hastings, the son of a member, says the goings-on were blown out of proportion. Rumors of debauchery were just that – rumors, with tales of parties, never verified.
That’s the problem with secret societies – they’re secretive. That means stuff depicted on The Crown – like Philip’s cohort Michael Parker enjoying a dalliance with a waitress, and sending letters to the club detailing his conquests – were invented for the show. “To our wives and sweethearts. May they never meet.
For that matter, the series fudges a lot of details regarding the fall of Michael Parker. It’s likely that Parker and Philip’s activities on their 1956 tour on the royal yacht Britannia were much less improper than the show suggests. For example, there was likely no salacious letter that led to Parker’s divorce, although his wife did move to divorce him in early 1957. And a day after news of it leaked, he resigned from onboard the Britannia, with Philip in attendance. While he may have felt pressure from Philip, he resigned of his own accord. As for the reasons behind the divorce, a judge granted it in March 1958 on the grounds of adultery – specifically, that Michael Parker had slept with a housekeeper in a Chelsea apartment.
A mystery fight
While usually a highbrow historical drama, The Crown does get a bit soapy, such as in the first season episode “Pride & Joy. “Set in 1954, the episode sees Elizabeth and Philip touring the Commonwealth, which includes a stop in Australia. According to The Crown historical advisor and royal biographer Robert Lacey, one day the Queen, and her husband were all set to walk out onto the veranda of the house where they were staying to pose for some photos, but instead Philip came out alone, and then came the tennis racquet, a pair of sneakers, and a very angry Elizabeth in pursuit, screaming at him. When they realized they had an audience – who was recording the whole thing – the royal couple retreated back inside. Elizabeth emerged a few minutes later and apologized, saying that the occasional fight” happens in every marriage.
As a sign of respect, the reporter who recorded the fight destroyed the footage, a moment depicted in The Crown. While the fight was real and witnessed by many, the reasons behind that fight were never divulged. That meant The Crown writer Peter Morgan had to come up with one. On-screen, Philip gets Elizabeth mad by insulting both Australia and her deceased father: “Forty a day your father smoked, and now I know why. Poor bastard. He probably took one look at this tour and thought, ‘You know what? I’ll be better off with cancer.
The Crown isn’t kind to Prince Philip. In the show, he’s cranky, catty, selfish, and just wants to fly his airplane. A season two episode provides the reason for Philip’s nastiness: a stressful, even tragic childhood. A military coup kicked his uncle off the Greek throne, forcing the whole family to flee. A few years later, his mother fought severe mental health issues and was hospitalized against her wishes, and his father ran away with a mistress. Even sadder: the fate of his sister, Cecilie. During a flight to a wedding, she gave birth, and the plane crashed, killing the mother and newborn infant.
According to The Crown, it should have been Philip on that plane. He was supposed to go, but got held behind at his boarding school because he got in a fight. Worse, Philip’s father blames him for her death. That will mess up a person for sure, although that’s not quite how it all happened. Royal biographer Hugo Vickers called this depiction, quote, a “monstrous lie” – the truth is, there was no fight Philip was involved in at school, and Cecilie was going to go to the wedding with or without her brother.
In October 1966, an avalanche of coal waste descended upon a junior high school in Aberfan, Wales, killing 116 children and 28 adults. The disaster is unspeakably awful and sad – and according to The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II was none too affected by it. “The crown visits hospitals, not the scenes of accidents.
Her hand forced, the Queen finally does travel to Aberfan, but only after Prince Philip landlord, Snowden put in initial appearances on her behalf. According to survivors of the Aberfan tragedy, The Crown presented inaccurate portrayals of both Her Majesty and details of the post-disaster mass funeral. Even though Jeff Edwards of Aberfan consulted Netflix on the episode, he says they mischaracterized the Queen, whom he says is quite different than The Crown’s, quote, “callous” presentation.
As for other errors, Edwards also noted that the coffins in the episode’s mass funeral were wooden, while they were actually white, and that Prince Philip didn’t actually attend the service.
Taking a knee
The Crown deftly and cleverly explores both the professional and personal life of Queen Elizabeth II and probably the most interesting moments come when those two parts intersect. Queen Elizabeth II took the throne in the early 1950s, the dark ages as far as gender equality in marriage is concerned. It was a commonly held notion that a man was the “master” of his home, outranking his wife, but what if that man’s wife was the queen of England, the sovereign over tens of millions of people, including him, also a royal by birth? The Crown presented this conundrum, and it’s a difficult one for Prince Philip to reconcile.
After she puts him in charge of preparations for her 1953 coronation, Philip lets this shred of power go to his head, and he mentions how he doesn’t think he should have to bow to the Queen – his wife – when she’s officially crowned the ruler of his nation. “I will not kneel before my wife. “Your wife is not asking you to. Writer Peter Morgan didn’t take this episode from historical records but rather created it to explore the gender politics of the 1950s. According to royal family expert Christopher Wilson, Philip had no problem with taking a knee.
Not feeling season 3 of #TheCrown. It’s a big disappointment; the change of actors has ended the brilliance of watching the Queen & Philip make sense of the world, their place & marriage within it.
Anyone else feel this or am I deep into unpopular opinion territory?🤭 pic.twitter.com/3K91bHbrpj
— Leon Green (@leongreen) November 18, 2019
A burning change
Late in the first season of The Crown – and in his long career as a statesman – Winston Churchill sits for a grand portrait, commissioned by Parliament as a one-of-a-kind 80th birthday gift for the man who deftly guided the country through World War II. The portrait is publicly unveiled in 1954, and The Crown suggests that this is the first time Churchill sees it – judging by his almost visceral reaction of disgust and disappointment. A broken, sagging, pitiful creature, squeezing and squeezing.
He later accepts the not-flattering painting as truthful, and that he is an old, tired man who should resign his powerful post. And while that painting was supposed to wind up hanging in Parliament, it doesn’t make it – Churchill’s wife, Clementine, has it unceremoniously burned in their backyard. That’s not the full story of the ill-fated Churchill portrait, though. For one, the Churchills likely saw the painting prior to its public debut, and in reality. They delegated the act of burning the portrait to someone else. Clementine Churchill told her secretary, Grace Hamblin to dispose of it. Hamblin and her brother removed it from the Churchills’ basement in the middle of the night, put it in a van, drove to the brother’s house, and burned it there.