Award-winning Netflix series The Crown has had us on the edge of our seats lately. From scandalous romances to stunning set designs, they’ve managed to bring Britain’s rich royal history back to life. And it’s in no small part due to their best efforts to replicate the people, costumes, and sets as faithfully as possible.
At Popular Everything, we’re traveling back in time to the actual real-life royal counterparts and events that the show tries hard to recreate. Take a look and see how much of the show was true to real to life. You might find yourself surprised at just how painstakingly accurate they were.
The Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation happened on the 2nd June 1953 and was the first-ever coronation to be fully televised. It is a formal ceremony in which the new sovereign is crowned for the first time and declared the king or queen. Queen Elizabeth was 27 years old when her coronation happened but had actually been ruling since she was only 25 years of age after the passing of her father.
The Crown reproduced the queen’s official portrait spectacularly for season one. From the regalia to the pose; everything has been painstakingly replicated, including what the queen is holding. She carries the Sovereign’s Orb in her left hand that symbolizes godly power. It is meant to represent the monarch’s role as God’s representation on Earth. The gold rod in her right hand is the scepter that symbolizes her governing power.
Antony Armstrong-Jones Didn’t Come From the Right Background
Antony Armstrong-Jones was the photographer-turned-husband to Princess Margaret who rocked the status quo. As a non-royal and non-aristocrat, his marriage to the princess marked the first time in 400 years that a royal family member had married someone from a different background to theirs. But their marriage was fraught with scandal, as the press fuelled public speculation into his playboy ways.
The Crown did a great job casting English actor Matthew Goode as Antony. Not only do they share a lot of the same physical characteristics, but Matthew has a mischievous edge to him that represents Antony perfectly. Even the quiff at the front of Antony’s hair has been expertly recreated. Matthew even received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his role as an “Outstanding Guest Star” in the second season.
The Queen Mother Was a Cheerful Character
Widowed at the age of 51, her eldest daughter assumed the throne and Elizabeth went from queen consort to the queen mother. She was known for having had a cheerful public persona and lived to see both the turn of the 21st century and her 101st birthday. She was played by actress Marion Bailey in season three.
Attending a ceremony in Wales in 1969, the queen mother came dressed in a spectacular lime green outfit. As we can see, the costume department went to much trouble to replicate her outfit. Some of the details have changed on the show i.e. the size of her brooch and the sleeve length on the dress, but otherwise, they stayed very faithful to the original outfit. So too did they choose an actress with comparable features, at least in the queen mother’s later life.
Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten’s Wedding in 1947
The queen married Prince Philip before she was a queen at all. It happened in 1947 when she was still a princess and in front of over 2,000 guests. It was a happy national occasion and cause for celebration, coming at the end of the Second World War when Britain could benefit from a much-needed morale boost.
The show made a replica of the queen’s Chinese silk wedding gown, recreating the intricate embroidery that featured all over. The original dress had over 10 thousand crystals and pearls imported from the United States. Of course, the bridal gown on the show wasn’t made up of the same precious materials. Still, the final result is a spectacular duplicate of the original.
Lord Louis Mountbatten Was a Grandfather Figure
Lord Louis Mountbatten was the Royal Navy officer who was an uncle to Prince Philip and cousin to the queen. He was assassinated in 1979 by members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, having made him the longest-serving head of the British Armed Forces even to this date. Altogether, he was considered an impressive navy commander and an “honorary grandfather” to young Prince Charles.
Naturally, the producers of The Crown turned to Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance to portray the royal. They aren’t too un-alike in appearance as they both have the same physical build. And Charles’ authoritative personality compliments Lord Louis’ high rank well. In the left photo, Lord Louis wears some of his regalias, but not all of it. However, in The Crown, Charles is wearing exact replicas of all of Louis’ insignia. The show stayed extremely faithful to real life.
Prince Charles is the Longest Serving Heir Apparent
Prince Charles has been the heir apparent to the royal throne for the entirety of his life as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s first-born. At 71 years old, he’s the longest-serving heir apparent in all of Britain’s history. In his younger years, the future king studied at university, served in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and married Lady Diana Spencer. English actor Josh O’Connor played the prince in his younger adult life throughout season three.
He did a convincing job, considering he was one of the recipients of a Screen Actors Guild Award for his show portrayal. And he has more than just the ears to pull it off as he lends his character a psychological edge. He told GQ Magazine: “What I’m gradually finding is a guy waiting for his mother to die for his life to have meaning. His whole life has been in purgatory. Waiting for your parent to die is pretty messed up.”
Princess Diana’s Untimely End
Arguably the most glamorous British royal of the 20th century, Lady Di was the first wife of Prince Charles that captivated the global public. She is an international icon for both her style and her activism, but such popularity made her personal life a challenge. Romantic affairs occured followed by a highly publicized divorce, and ultimately Princess Diana’s life came to an ubrupt end when she was only 36 years old.
Young up-and-coming actress Emma Corrin has been cast as the princess for the fourth season, which is expected to come out towards the end of this year. This role will be her biggest one to date, as she is relatively unknown. She has said the opportunity is “surreal” for her, and that she “will strive to do her justice.” There are some similarities between both women, but we wonder how much of that is down to the talented hair, makeup, and costume department.
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s Rocky Relationship
The Crown has done a good job of portraying the tumultuous side of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s relationship. Pictured in season three of the show, actors Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Daniels act as the couple towards the end of their 18-year marriage.
The extramarital affairs, separation, and drama we see on the show was all based on events that happened in real-life. Their relationship was rocky at best and sprinkled with a fair share of its own acting. There was chemistry between them at one point, but as The Crown depicts, it got lost somewhere along the way.
Queen Elizabeth II Was Glamorous in Her Youth
English actress Claire Foy portrayed the younger version of Queen Elizabeth II in the first and second season of the show. Her performance won her a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Primetime Emmy, as her character became more complex the more that time went on. Still, she was glad her part was over after the second season as the role required dedicating “a lot of your life” to it.
This photo shows us just how stylish the young queen was back in hey heyday. She was dressed to the nines for the Commonwealth and Empire Coronation Ball in 1953, which took place at the Hurlingham Club. This scene in the movie captures the glamor of her younger years, where she would wear couture gowns, fur draping, and of course one of her many sparkling tiaras.
Duke Of Windsor Followed His Heart
Prince Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, was raised to be the King of England. He was the eldest child of King George V and Queen Mary, and when his time came to wear the crown he only did so for less than a year. He fell in love with Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite, and stepped down from his duties in order to take her hand in marriage. His controversial decision passed the throne onto his younger brother, George VI.
English actor Alex Jennings channeled the lovestruck royal in seasons one and two. He was the perfect actor for the role, having previously portrayed Prince Charles in the movie The Queen back in 2006. Obviously, he has a knack for playing high profile, royal family members. We think he shares a striking resemblance to the abdicated king, too.
Wallis Simpson Changed the Course of British History
American socialite and wife to the former King Edward VIII, Wallis Simpson has gone down in the history books as one of the most controversial people in royal circles. She divorced her second husband in order to marry King Edward, but it famously cost the monarch his title. He abdicated the throne in order to marry her and lived they lived the rest of their life side by side.
English actress and director Lia Williams plays the infamous duchess in season one and two of the show. Their dark hair and blue eyes makes them a good match physically, but it’s Lia’s experience at playing an American socialite that came in handy for her role. She played Blanche Dubois in 2013’s A Streetcar Named Desire in Dublin.
Princess Alice of Battenberg Wore a Nun’s Habit
Princess Alice was one of Queen Victoria’s great-granddaughters and the mother of Prince Philip. A member of the Battenberg family, she was born without hearing but married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and had five children. As the years went on, she became more and more committed to her faith, resulting in her becoming a nun.
English actress Jane Lapotaire portrayed Queen Elizabeth II’s mother-in-law in season three. There we come into contact with the hardships she endured, from surviving both the world wars to being diagnosed with schizophrenia. We think they did a fantastic job casting Jane as Princess Alice, not least of all because she has a fair few overlapping features.
Queen Elizabeth Visits Ghana in 1961
In 1961, the queen had a royal visit to Accra, the capital of Ghana, with the hopes of strengthening Britain’s ties to their ex-colony. While attending a farewell ball, there was a moment where she danced with the President of Ghana Kwame Nkruma, and that moment was caught on camera. Here, British actors Claire Foy and Danny Sapani reenact the occasion.
We can see the show-makers meticulous attention to detail in recreating the moment onscreen in season two. However, the show did have some discrepancies. Where they danced solo at the ball, the reality was that Queen Elizabeth and Kwame were among a sea of other dancing guests. The pair also didn’t dance the foxtrot, as the show would have you believe. Nonetheless, it’s it brings us joy to see them try to recreate the scene faithfully through costume.
Jacqueline Kennedy Didn’t Like the Royal Family
Jackie Kennedy, First Lady of the United States may have gained status through marrying President John F. Kennedy, but it’s her own sense of style and culture that has continued to inspire. She is one of the best known first ladies of the White House and continues to interest the public even today. While not a member of royalty, she came from a well-heeled and powerful family in the US.
Her character was played by South African actress Jodi Balfour in season two. We’re introduced to her when she pays a visit to Buckingham Palace in 1961 with her husband John F. Kennedy. It’s a real event that happened, but whether the two real women got off on such a bad start as the show depicted, we can’t be sure. All we can be sure of is that they absolutely nailed her appearance.
Sir Winston Churchill Had Protruding Jowls
Wartime Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill is remembered for being the person who led Britain out of the Second World War. Born into an aristocratic family, he started off in the British Army, before becoming an Army Officer and eventually a politician.
As we can see, the show did a great job of casting American actor John Lithgow as Sir Winston. When he contorts his face into a scowl-like expression, he bears an uncanny resemblance to the former prime minister. He achieved that by carving little balls out of an apple and putting them in his mouth to make his jowls protrude! “Within about 40 seconds my mouth was full of apple juice,” he admitted to the Los Angeles Times.
Duchess of Cornwall Life-Long Flame With the Prince
Long-considered to be Prince Charles’ one true love, Camilla Shand (now the Duchess of Cornwall) stole the prince’s heart back when they were youngsters. She had been one of the numerous girls that Charles had been romantically linked with. When he was still unhappily married to Princess Diana, sparks flew all over again and they embarked on an affair. Only in 2005, several years after divorcing from Lady Di, would he and Camilla tie the knot.
English actress Emerald Fennell plays Camilla in season three of the show. It’s not hard to spot the physical resemblance; they both have blonde hair, blue eyes, and a strong jawline. On getting the role, Emerald said, “I absolutely love Camilla and am very grateful that my teenage years have well prepared me for playing a chain-smoking serial snogger with a pudding bowl haircut.” We think that means they cast her well.
The Queen’s First Christmas Broadcast in 1957
When the queen filmed her first televised Christmas speech in 1957, television was still in black and white. She delivered it live from Sandringham Estate, sat in the Long Library. “Today is another landmark because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day,” she began telling the nation.
Clearly, The Crown recreated the speech as faithfully as they could. Claire Foy is wearing a replica gold lamé dress, allowing people to see the color the queen was wearing for the very first time. Claire poses in the same way she did, with her right leg crossed over her left and her left hand resting over her right. The set designers even placed her notes on the writing table in the exact same position.
Prince Philip Gave up His Titles To Marry the Queen
A life-long partner to the queen, Prince Philip AKA the Duke of Edinburgh was born into dynastic Greek and Danish royal families and joined the British Royal Navy at 18 years old. His life with Elizabeth started young, as they had been in contact since their teenage years. Upon marrying Elizabeth, he dropped his Greek and Danish royal titles. British actor Matt Smith portrays the prince in his younger days.
Matt’s distinctive bone structure might make it hard for some to forget that he’s a famous face. Still, his considerable height, hair color, and physical build lend itself well to portraying the queen’s consort. Matt told Variety Magazine about similarities between himself and the prince: “There was a lot that I could identify with: the competitiveness, the sporting nature, the battle, the defiance, and the maleness.”
Princess Anne Wasn’t Always a Brunette
Princess Anne was the queen and Prince Philip’s second child, and first and only daughter. She was born in 1950 before her mother ascended the throne, but more or less grew up under very watchful eyes. She had strawberry blonde hair as a child and similar facial features to her mother.
British child actress Lyla Barrett-Rye portrayed the princess in her youngest years, having the right features to match. She is fair-haired, fair-skinned, and freckled like the young royal was, and of course, has the necessary British accent. We think they found someone convincing.
Princess Mary of Teck Lived Through Three Reigning Monarchs
Princess Victoria Mary of Teck was the wife to King George V, who ruled from 1910 until he passed away in 1936. She was his support throughout the First World War and the complicated aftermath following it, not to mention during his declining health. She would go on to support both her sons, Edward VIII and George VI, during their respective reigns, and is the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II.
English actress Dame Eileen Atkins portrays the queen consort in her later years during season one. Eileen was in her early eighties when she filming for The Crown, which is fitting as Mary lived up until 85 years of age. There is a strong resemblance in looks between the women and Eileen is an experienced theatre actress, so she makes an extremely suitable person for the role.
John F. Kennedy’s Characteristic Voice
President John F. Kennedy served as US president from 1961 until 1963 when he was assassinated. Serving while at the height of the Cold War made him especially high profile, as did the press coverage of his scandals. He and his wife Jackie Kennedy met the queen for the first time together in 1961, when they visited Buckingham Palace.
American actor Michael Hall is well known for playing the title character in the Showtime series Dexter. But he took on the role of the famed former president in season two despite describing the role as “daunting.” Michael has been open about his struggles to imitate JFK’s voice, admitting “that accent that’s almost unique to just the Kennedys and those rhythms are not something you’d want to discard.” He did a good job of respectfully mimicking his iconic voice.
Sir Alan Lascelles Served Under Three Monarchs
With the queen’s father passing away in 1952 and the duty falling on her to take up the crown, she needed a good private secretary that she could turn to for guidance. Alan Lascelles AKA Tommy was her first one, but she was not his first monarch. He had been the private secretary to King George V, Edward VIII, and King George VI respectively.
English actor Philip AKA Pip Torrens played the part of Tommy throughout all seasons, making him one of the few actors who escaped the season three recasting. Tommy had a signature thick mustache, which the show naturally included. While they may not look too alike behind the face fuzz, we think he did a fantastic job at playing the unwaveringly loyal royalist.
Princess Margaret and President Johnson at the White House in 1965
Season three of The Crown saw the show recreate the well-known time when Princess Margaret danced with then-president Lyndon B. Johnson. On a visit to North America to tour the states with her husband, she attended a black-tie dinner at the White House on her last night. The New York Times reported that they had shared a “small but unusually spectacular dinner dance.”
They were reported as having danced the foxtrot. We can see they certainly shared some chemistry if the photo on the left is anything to go by. In the show, they didn’t try to recreate the scene in every detail, instead letting Helena Bonham Carter shine in the role. She portrayed her as cheeky and sociable, which by all accounts is what the princess was like.
John Grigg Criticized the Queen
Baron John Grigg AKA Lord Altrincham was a controversial writer, historian, and politician. He openly criticized the queen in a 1957 article, calling her speaking style a “pain in the neck.” He also wrote, “The personality conveyed by the utterances which are put into her mouth is that of a priggish schoolgirl, captain of the hockey team, a prefect, and a recent candidate for Confirmation.” He received a lot of criticism for his comments from other press outlets.
Played by English Shakespearean actor John Heffernan in season two, he is depicted as having come to speak with the queen’s private secretary, only to be spoken to by the queen herself. After addressing his criticisms she informs him that no one can know they met. It is not known for sure that this exchange ever happened, but it was likely fabricated for the show.
Clarissa Eden Was Well Connected
Meet Sir Winston Churchill’s niece from his younger brother, Clarissa Eden. She was the wife turned widow of Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, who served as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957. Having turned 100 years of age just recently, she is the oldest living spouse of a British Prime Minister.
English actress Anna Madeley portrayed Clarissa, and we can see she was cast. She shares her high cheekbones and slim figure and has all-round similar features. Having performed for three seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company, she’s also an expert in talking with an aristocratic accent.
Wallis Simpson’s Magnetic Personality
Controversial figure Wallis Simpson enjoyed a comfortable life as the wife of a former king and as a duchess. She is said to have had an energetic and charismatic air, not just because of her physical beauty but because of her character. Famously, she was never quite accepted by the royal family, with her and Prince Edward living out their lives distantly from his relatives.
Wallis’s magnetic personality is wonderfully portrayed by English-American actress Geraldine Chaplin in season three. She brings forward the larger than life character that many have historically commented on. Not to mention how closely she resembles the duchess.
The Duke of Windsor Had More to Give
Princ Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, lived out the rest of his days with Wallis Simpson by his side. While he stepped down as the reigning monarch, it is known that he still felt he had more to give. Would he have been asked to take on more responsibility, he would have. But the call never came.
Esteemed English actor Sir Derek Jacobi played the part of the aging former king of England in season three. He is a two-time recipient of the Laurence Olivier Award, a Tony Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award. Famous for playing the part of famous historical figures, taking on the part of the Duke of Windsor was a good move for the show.
Prince Charles and Princess Anne Were Adorable in 1953
Pictured in 1953 in the left photo, a very young Prince Charles and Princess Anne pose in their coronation clothes for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Even at a young age, Charles had those distinctive large ears that he became famous for. Young Anne displays her light blonde hair that she would soon grow out of.
The child actors chosen to represent the very young prince and princess were rather accurately chosen, in regards to their hair color anyway. However, while Prince Charles’ haircut is more or less recreated on his doppelganger, they gave Princess Anne a much longer hairstyle than she really had at that age.
Queen Elizabeth II Is the Longest-Ever Reigning Monarch
When The Crown passed into its third season, it introduced a more mature actress in the role of Queen Elizabeth. English actress Olivia Colman took the reigns from the previous actress, Claire Foy. Having sat on the throne for over 65 years, the queen is the longest ever reigning monarch in British history. It’s no wonder they needed to change actors to better represent Queen Elizabeth’s later years.
We have to say, we don’t see an awful lot of physical similarities between Olivia and the queen. That being said, her performance as her majesty is so fantastic we’re willing to overlook it. We’re glad the makeup department didn’t put her in fake blue eye contacts to try and bridge their differences. Instead, they let Olivia’s acting speak for itself.
Peter Townsend Left His Wife for the Princess
Group Captain Peter Townsend was King George VI’s and Queen Elizabeth’s Equerry, who served the crown by managing their stables. Before working for the royals, he was in the Royal Air Force. He was married with two children when he and Princess Margaret fell deeply in love. Unfortunately, their plans to marry were halted due to the constitutional conflict that came with their relationship. However, Peter had already divorced his wife.
English actor Ben Miles plays the part of the love-lorn divorcee throughout season one. They couldn’t have picked a better actor for the role. Not only does he convincingly play the part of a hopeless romantic with social-climbing aspirations, but he also looks just like the real Peter Townsend.
Clementine Churchill Was Winston’s Rock
Baroness Clementine Churchill was the wife of former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill throughout his life. They married in their youth, after five months of courtship, and led a scandal-free married life together. They are recognized as having had a close and affectionate relationship with one another, despite the political climate and intense pressure Sir Winston was under.
English actress Harriet Walter is usually seen acting on stage. But she played the part of the high society baroness in season one, depicting her as his loyal aide. She is known to have been a supportive partner to the former Prime Minister, which the show mirrors.
Prince Charles’ Isolated Childhood
Prince Charles’ early years as a royal child and heir apparent are also depicted on The Crown in the first and second seasons. We are made to give thought to his unique experience as the first heir to the throne who was educated at a school. But there was some conflict among the royal family as to whether he should have gone far up north in Scotland for his education.
It is known that the queen mother disapproved of sending the young prince to Scotland. In a letter to her daughter Queen Elizabeth, she wrote of her worry that Prince Charles would be isolated from the family, and warned he would feel “terribly cut off and lonely.” The show was true to history in depicting this family disagreement.
The Queen is Pretty in Polkadots in 1952
Pictured on the left, a soon-to-be crowned Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, taking place at Windsor Castle. It’s the summer of 1952, and she came dressed in a terribly chic polka dot skirt suit. We can see a wonderful example of her playful and individual sense of style.
The Crown replicated Queen Elizabeth’s look for this event in astonishing detail. From the pattern to the hat to the gloves, they omitted no detail from her outfit. The only difference we can spot is in her hair – they gave her longer locks that touch the tip of her shoulders, as opposed to the short crop she was actually rocking back in 1952. That’s showbusiness!
Anthony Eden Didn’t Last Long
Anthony Eden, Earl of Avon, took on the role of prime minister after Winston Churchill stepped down in 1955. He wasn’t in the position for long, being forced to resign from his position in 1957 after only 18 months. Before taking office, he had served in World War I and been the foreign secretary for three terms. Losing two brothers to war made him very anti-war himself.
English actor Jeremy Northam has a history of playing quintessentially English characters, such as Mr. Knightley in the 1996 Jane Austen adaptation Emma, or Sir Thomas More in the Showtime series The Tudors. And it’s no wonder he took on this part in season one and two – when you add a bit of distinctive facial hair to his appearance, he’s a dead ringer for the former prime minister.
Queen Elizabeth II Visits Aberfan in 1966
A disaster occurred in Aberfan, Wales, on October 21, 1966, in which the mining town was struck by an avalanche of coal waste. It became a national tragedy, as several adults and children lost their lives in an event that could have been avoided. When Queen Elizabeth visited it was a somber affair. She would come to visit the site several times throughout her life.
The queen’s 1966 visit was depicted in season three of The Crown. As we can see, the costume department was completely faithful in recreating Her Majesty’s outfit. Olivia Coleman’s stark red coat with fur trim and matching hat look identical to the original. But the scene was faithfully recreated in more than one way, as one person on The Crown set remarked: “It was all very dignified, Olivia Colman is clearly taking her role very seriously.”
Martin Charteris Was the Queen’s Favorite
Aid to the queen of England, Baron Martin Charteris was her unconventional right-hand man. They had a strong and trusting relationship, which saw the queen favor him as her private secretary. It wasn’t expected that he should assume the role, and it took 20 years until both he and Elizabeth could have their way.
It has been suggested that the queen wanted him to be her private secretary right from the start of her reign. He was charismatic, intelligent, and had won over Elizabeth’s favors from a young age. British actor Charles Edwards played the part of Martin in season three, and we think he looks incredibly similar to the real right-hand man.
Patricia Campbell Stole His Heart
Lord Altrincham’s secretary and typist Patricia Campbell was more to him than just a hired member of staff; the two fell in love and married. They even ended up adopting and raising two children together, making them one of the successful love stories of the royal circuit. On the show, she is a minor character.
Portrayed by English actress Gemma Whelan, she is most recognizable as playing Yara Greyjoy on HBO’s Game of Thrones. But her role as Patricia isn’t that true to reality as The Crown omits the romantic relationship between herself and Lord Altrincham. On the show, she isn’t much more than his secretary.
Prince Philip’s Fair Share of Controversy
Prince Philip is depicted in his middle age by English actor Tobias Menzies in season three. We see his sometimes frustrating life as the queen’s husband, his sharp sense of humor, and enduring chemistry with her majesty. We’re also given an insight into the controversy surrounding his marriage to Elizabeth, due to his German connections and unstable family life.
In this image, we can see how faithfully the show recreated Prince Philip’s outfit. He wears a blue sash, several medals, and his knighthood medallion. Tobias’ strong jawline and angular features lend itself well to portraying the prince. And The Crown touching on his difficult relationship with his institutionalized mother gave a refreshing perspective on Philip’s life story.
Princess Margaret Bathes at Kensington Palace
Taken by then-husband Antony Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret is pictured rather scandalously in the bathtub, wearing a tiara. It is a famous photo, giving us an insight into her and photographer Antony’s intimate relationship. Pictured at their Kensington Palace residence, the princess was wearing the now infamous Poltimore tiara.
The show recreated this moment with actress Helena Bonham Carter, in which she reclines in a bathtub with her tiara and a full face of makeup. We think they did a good job paying homage to the troubled princess, depicting her as playful and flirtious as she was in real life.
King George VI’s Signature Stuttering
King George VI, King of the United Kingdom, was not brought up to be the king like his elder brother Prince Edward. When Edward stepped down, the responsibility fell on his shoulders to assume the throne. He is known for his stammering and stuttering speech, which never left him completely.
British actor Jared Harris plays the part of King George VI. The show acts out the personal difficulties that the king had in assuming the role of a monarch, from his speech impediment to his poor health from smoking. Jared may not share many resemblances to the former king, but he does an effective job portraying George VI all the same.
The Queen Mother Took Some Convincing
Queen Elizabeth the queen mother was not born into a royal family, and marrying her went against the tradition for a prince. Nonetheless, George VI had his heart set on her and proposed to her a total of three times. She initially had reservations about becoming a royal and having her freedoms taken away.
Throughout season one and two, the queen mother is played by English actress Victoria Hamilton. It’s an understandable casting, as Victoria has played many members of the royal family throughout her career. And interestingly, she’s come to the conclusion that “I wouldn’t be a royal for all the money in the world.”
Michael Adeane Had Distinct Face Fuzz
Baron Michael Adeane was the private secretary of Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 to 1972 for just shy of two decades. A large part of his role lay in dealing with the press. Given how colorful the royal family surrounding Elizabeth were, it was a difficult job. Both his grandfather and his son also served the royal family as personal secretaries.
English actor Will Keen acts as Michael. The first thing that jumps out in this side by side is their striking resemblance. Even without the handlebar mustache, the two of them share very similar features. Interestingly, not much is known about Michael’s personal life. In this way, the show had some creative license with his character.
Eileen Parker Wasn’t Having It
In season two of the show, we’re introduced to our first scandal – a divorce. Pictured is Eileen Parker, the wife of Lieutenant Commander Michael Parker, who became Prince Philip’s private secretary. In the show, she filed for divorce in light of an affair with a waitress. He is shown to be boastful or his extramarital pursuits.
While details were added to their story that has no real-life basis, the truth is Eileen did divorce Michael on the grounds of adultery. The Crown exhibited a creative license with this storyline, both in the details of Michael’s sordid affair and in choosing actress Chloe Pirrie. There isn’t much physical resemblance between the two women.
Martin Charteris had a Long Wait
British actor Harry Hadden-Paton played the queen’s favored right-hand man and one of her assistant private secretaries in seasons one and two. You might recognize the actor from the British drama series Downtown Abbey, in which Harry plays the part of Lady Edith’s husband Bertie Pelham.
Martin wouldn’t rise through the ranks to become the queen’s primary private secretary until 20 years as an assistant private secretary. He only took over once Baron Michael Adeane left his position. There is a resemblance between the two men, but not nearly as much as there is with season three actor Charles Edwards.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor Caused a Constitutional Crisis
The relationship between Prince Edward and his American socialite lover Wallis Simpson is a thing of legend. Their desire to get married caused a constitutional crisis as she was an already once divorced woman with another on the way. In order for them to wed, Edward had to abdicate as King of England, a position in which he held for less than a year.
English actor’s Alex Jennings and Lia Williams play the Duke and Duchess of Windsor throughout season one and two, respectively. The Church of England and the public refused to accept his relationship in real life, as on the show. The Crown covered a lot of the tensions between Edward and his royal family but left out the controversy surrounding his nazi connections.
Princess Margaret’s Unburdened Youth
As Elizabeth II’s only sister, Princess Margaret was an important figure in the royal family. She wasn’t expected to assume the throne, which meant she didn’t have the same pressures applied to her as she was growing up. During the war, she was not expected to attend to public duties, and therefore had time to learn how to sing and play the piano.
The Crown portrays Margaret as glamorous, hot-headed, and more free-spirited than her older sister. It’s an accurate representation of the royal, who famously experienced a more tumultuous life than her other peers. She had a fierce spirit, which English actress Vanessa Kirby expresses beautifully.
Harold Wilson Grew Close to the Queen
In season three of The Crown, we were introduced to a new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. He served two terms, from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. As a member of the Labour Party, it was the first time on the show that the royal family had to deal with a left-leaning politician.
English stage actor Jason Watkins portrays the Prime Minister and does a convincing job of it, too. We see them grow closer than the queen had done with the previous Prime Minister’s, which is true to real life. She grew to trust him a lot, and he even shielded her from his own cabinet.
The Duchess of Windsor’s Pug Pack
Wallis Simpson had a particular affinity for pugs. She had more than one at any given time, and gave her beloved pooches playful names. Disraeli, Davey Crockett, Black Diamond, Imp, Trooper, and Ginseng were some of the names given to her much loved canine companions. She even had 11 pug-shaped pillows that sat on the foot of her bed!
Photographer Richard Avedon even used this soft spot of hers to capture the perfect portrait. During a shoot, he told the Duke and Duchess a sad recollection of a particular pug, capturing their concerned expressions at the height of the story. Today, it is one of the most famous images of the Duke and Duchess. Luckily, the show stayed true to Wallis’s love of pugs and included them by her side.
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s Long-Awaited Divorce
After getting married in 1960, they were the most glamorous couple in Britain. But it didn’t last long, and towards the end of their 18 years together, they grew resentful and took to living separate lives. There was much speculation for years that they hardly saw each other, and finally, in 1978 they announced that they would be divorcing.
They admitted to having been separated for the last two years of their difficult marriage. It was still taboo at the time to divorce your spouse, which accounts for why it took them so long to begin with. Not many are aware that the mean, name-calling notes that were written by Lord Snowdon are actually true to real life. Let’s just say that he didn’t hold back!
Mike Parker’s Divorce Forced a Recognition
Lieutenant Commander Mike Parker was the Australian ex-Royal Navy officer who served as Prince Philip’s private secretary. They became close friends while serving together during World War I, leading to his high-ranking position in the royal household. He was so well socially connected that he was even a member of the infamous and exclusive “Thursday Club” that met weekly for lunch.
His high-profile divorce to Eileen Parker forced him to step down as the prince’s private secretary. His infidelity was understood to be the reason for the divorce, which the show included. While the producers did elaborate on the details of his adultery, it is widely believed that many scandalous events took place at the “Thursday Club.”
Princess Margaret Couldn’t Be Tamed
As the younger sister and only sibling of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret grew up with all the priveledges of royal life but far less pressure. She was not expected to sit on the throne which meant that she was afforded a less rigid lifestyle. Throughout her life she was thought of as more free-spirited than her sister, having experienced numerous romantic scandals.
Esteemed British actress Helena Bonham Carter played the princess in season three. She is known for playing characters with an edge, and Princess Margaret’s decadent lifestyle fits that nicely. But it’s worth noting that the two of them have hardly anything in common where looks are concerned. You couldn’t find two people who looked less alike. Perhaps that’s why Helena sought a psychic medium to connect with the deceased princess before assuming the role. She was looking for a blessing.
Andrew Parker Bowels and the Duchess of Cornwall Have an Interesting Story
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Andrew Parker Bowels, a retired military officer, married in 1973, but eventually ended up getting divorced about twenty years later. We don’t want to give you too many spoilers, but in the show as well as in real life, Bowels and Camilla’s relationship is fraught with trouble.
No doubt, The Crown was a copybook in their portrayal of the couple on their wedding day at their Roman Catholic ceremony in the Guards Chapel, in London. Everything matches down to a T. But the show also masterfully captured the turbulent dynamics of the couple, including all the heartbreak and the intrigue.
The Whole Family Attends the Investiture of Prince Charles In 1963
The queen mother, Princess Margaret, and Princess Anne were all in attendance for the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales in 1969. This ceremony, which signifies a formal acknowledgment of a new prince, happened for the first time in 1301 when King Edward I succeeded in his conquest of Wales and named his son as the prince.
The makers of The Crown meticulously nailed down every single detail of the costumes that these royal ladies wore to the investiture. The blue, green, and pink outfits that they wear in the show including jewelry and embroidery, are perfect replicas of real life.
Edwina Mountbatten Was a Famous Bed-Hopper
Edwina, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, was the wife of Louis Mountbatten and an English heiress. Despite being a leading member of London’s high society, she was also the last Vicereine of India (official to run the country,) a title which she acquired through her marriage to Louis. She was considered to be a great beauty of her day.
English actress Lucy Russell portrays the well-connected wife in season two of The Crown. Edwina and Louis were married for 38 long years, but famously they both had several extramarital affairs. Louis even once admitted, “Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds.” Indian Prime Minister Nehru, pictured on the left, was one of her alleged lovers, portrayed by Tanveer Ghani on the show.
Marcia Falkender’s Potty Mouth
Marcia Falkender AKA Baroness Falkender was the powerful private secretary of Prime Minister Harold Wilson. As his right-hand woman, her reputation grew as an impulsive and unpredictable woman who was capable of instilling fear in many. “I acted as his ears and eyes. I just went about my business,” she said of her life-long role by the Prime Minister’sside.
English actress Sinead Matthew portrays the supposedly ruthless private secretary in season three. The show didn’t shy away from the feisty version of Marcia, with one particular scene demonstrating her alleged explosive character. She shouts at Harold, “You’re pathetic! You disgust me!”
Queen Elizabeth and Her Trip to Malta in 1967
In 1967, Queen Elizabeth traveled to Malta for a Commonwealth visit. Before she became queen, Elizabeth traveled around the world with her parents. Her first trip was in 1947, when she was about 21. And as of today, the only places in the Commonwealth she hasn’t visited are Cameroon and Rwanda.
In this photograph, we see the queen dressed in floral pink and her signature white gloves. While she was in Malta, there were a number of events to attend, including the State Ball at the Grandmaster’s Palace, so she needed a wide array of different fashion options. It’s impressive that throughout the show, the makers managed to consistently and elegantly capture the diverse and colorful reality of the queen’s wardrobe.
Lord Porchester’s Special Relationship With the Queen
Henry Herbert, 7th Earl of Carnarvon and Lord Porchester, is better known as Porchey, Queen Elizabeth IIs horse racing manager and advisor since 1969. Porchey was brought up in an aristocratic family and the two of them had been childhood friends. But their life-long bond brought about rumors over the years that the pair enjoyed a romantic relationship as well.
Such claims have never been addressed by the palace, and there is no definitive proof. But that didn’t stop the show from suggesting there was more than friendship between them. In season three, Lord Porchester is portrayed by English actor John Hollingworth, who we think shares incredibly similar features to the late Earl of Carnarvon.
Queen Elizabeth and Newly-Titled Prince Charles Wave at the Crowd
“I, Charles, Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship, and faith and truth I will bear unto thee, to live and die against all manner of folks,” was Prince Charles’s acceptance line at his investiture in 1969. As the ruling sovereign, Queen Elizabeth was responsible for granting him the title.
As part of the centuries-old ceremony, while Charles knelt, the queen bestowed on him a girdle, sword, coronet, ring, rod, and kingly mantle, in that order. Here, you can see the queen and new prince standing on a balcony waving to spectators soon after the investiture ceremony was completed. Needless to say, no detail, including the queen’s iconic swiveling wave, went overlooked by the creators of the show.
Jacqui Chan Was the One That Got Away
Jacqueline Chan was the Trinidad and Tobago actress of Chinese descent that enjoyed a romantic relationship with Lord Snowdon. It is thought to have been an ongoing affair between the two, but not mutually exclusive. Lord Snowdon had many girlfriends throughout his marriage to Princess Margaret.
Actress Alice Hewkin portrays the silver screen actress in season two of The Crown. She is thought to have been Lord Snowdon’s first love when he was 25 years of age, but this is neither confirmed nor denied on screen. We get a steamy scene between the two characters that shows their passionate side, but we’re not encouraged to think of her as more than a brief affair.
The Royal Family on the Front Cover of the Radio Times
In 1969, the Queen did something that had never been done before by the royals; released a documentary following the family’s private life. It was a groundbreaking film, thought up by her Australian press secretary William Heseltine and encouraged by Prince Philip. They were thought to have been out of touch with the real world in the swinging sixties and therefore allowed for filming to take place to show them as a normal and relatable family.
Season three shows Queen Elizabeth II as the featured image on one of the 1969 magazine’s covers. Royal Family was broadcast across England in June and was widely publicized and talked about. As we can see, The Crown’s version of Queen Elizabeth on the cover is different from the real one; the original featured a more personal photo of the queen with Prince Charles. In reality, there was more of an emphasis on her role as a mother.
Lady Cavendish Knows Them Better Than Anyone
Lady Elizabeth Cavendish was the young girl of noble standing that was Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood friend. She became Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting from the late 1940s until the royal passed away in 2002. She is thought to be the one that introduced Margaret to Lord Snowdon, her first husband, but Lady Cavendish never married herself.
In season two, the role of Lady Elizabeth Cavendish portrayed by British actress Catherine Bailey. She is a very suitable match, as Catherine has experience in portraying women in high society. They portray her as well-connected and sociable, hosting an impressive dinner party attended by the Princess.
Prince Philip’s Ill-Judged Jokes About Money
With actor Tobias Menzies portraying Prince Philip in his middle-age, The Crown recreates a notoriously ill-judged moment in American television. On an episode of NBC’s Meet the Press, the prince attracted negative criticism of his humor when he pointed fun at not having a big enough budget.
“We had a small yacht which we had to sell,” he quipped, adding, “and I shall have to give up polo fairly soon.” While the public didn’t take too well to his sense of humor, it did give some insight into the man behind the title. And as we can see from these images, the show went to every effort to recreate the moment faithfully.
Camilla Fry’s Lovechild With Lord Snowdon
The Crown touches on a real-life scandalous plot point for Antony Armstrong-Jones. He had an affair with his best friend’s wife, Camilla Fry, that resulted in an unintentional pregnancy and daughter, Polly. Polly was raised as Jeremy and Camilla’s child, but later in life revealed the truth. Antony has confirmed it in recent years.
In the second season we’re given glimpses into the steamy affair between Antony and Camilla, as well as her informing him that she has fallen pregnant. The show did take some creative liberties in portraying the events, as well as with the actress that play Camilla, British actress Yolanda Kettle. The two women don’t share a lot of physical similarities.
Margaret Thatcher Was the First Female Prime Minister
Baroness Margaret Thatcher became the prime minister of the United Kingdom in 1979, serving until 1990. She was not only the longest-serving prime minister of Britain in the 20th century but also the first woman to hold the position. She was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her leadership style and political assertiveness.
She is yet to make an appearance on The Crown, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know who’s been cast to play her. American-British actress Gillian Anderson has been cast to play the uncompromising leader, which we’ll come to see when season four airs. Judging by her hair and makeup transformation, she’s going to make a compelling on-screen prime minister. We can’t wait!
The Royal Corgi’s Special Treatment
It’s no secret that Queen Elizabeth II has always had a special place in her heart for Pembroke Welsh Corgi dogs. She grew up with them as a small child, with both her parents owning some that she had later bred. Over the course of her reign she has owned over 30 corgi’s, who have lived in her residences alongside her.
In season three of The Crown, they made sure not to leave out Queen Elizabeth II’s close relationship with her beloved pups. We can see actress Olivia Colman on set, with the stand-in royal corgi sitting on the sofa right next to her majesty. Photos prove that the queen’s dogs were, in fact, allowed on the sofa.
The 700-Year Old Investiture Ceremony Is Different But in Some Ways the Same
In Medieval times, when the first investiture ceremony took place (in 1301, to be precise,) the purpose was to acknowledge the new prince’s political and military control over Wales. It was to put the mighty power of the English monarchy on full display, partly to deter uncertainty and in a way to intimidate the peasantry and the rest of the subdued population.
In 1969, almost 700 years after the first investiture, things are different. The English monarchy no longer holds on to the reigns of political and military power. In the mid-seventeenth century, power slid from the monarchy to the republican Commonwealth of England. But the ceremony’s formalities still take place, including the prince’s elaborate outfit, which was rendered flawlessly by the show’s costume artists.
The Kennedys’ Visit to Buckingham Palace in 1961
In season two of The Crown, the show depicts the relationship between the queen and the first lady as having heightened tension. They bonded over their mutual difficulties of life in the public eye as more introverted people. Unfortunately, the queen later learned about being called “a middle-aged woman so incurious, unintelligent and unremarkable,” and that the Palace was “second-rate, dilapidated and sad, like a neglected provincial hotel.”
According to photographer Cecil Beaton and writer Gore Vidal, Jackie was unimpressed by the royals during her visit. They claim that she found everything from the furniture to the queen’s personal style out of touch. Jackie was, after all, a chic style icon, and Elizabeth had only recently cut her hair into her now-famous bob-style. But looking at the occasion side by side with the show’s version, we’re impressed by how much they emulated the outfits.
Princess Anne Doesn’t Respect the Press
Princess Anne grew into a beautiful young woman who was markedly different from other royals. She didn’t like being in the public eye, didn’t respect the press, and came across especially down-to-earth. Her love of horse-riding also played a big role in her adult life, having competed professionally in the Olympics.
British actress Erin Doherty plays the strong-willed princess with a quick wit. There’s a lot of resemblance between Erin and a younger Anne. On playing the rebellious royal, Erin admitted she didn’t know much about her at first. “I had to research her and then I realized, wow, this woman is awesome. I fell in love with her,” she told The Telegraph.