Is The Crown on Netflix true or fake? Royal expert reveals what’s fact and what’s fiction

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • After The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan admitted inventing details in the Netflix drama and Princess Diana’s brother issued a warning about the show’s validity, royal expert Duncan Larcombe reveals what is true and what is false…

    Lord Mountbatten’s stern words – Fake

    One episode of The Crown – which has a new royal cast for season 5 – 
sees Lord Mountbatten writing 
a letter to the Prince of Wales, telling him his actions have brought ‘ruin and disappointment’ on the family and insisting he should settle down. Soon after, Lord Mountbatten is assassinated by the IRA – which is indeed true. However, the rest of the storyline is pure fiction. Peter Morgan, creator of the show, confessed, 
‘I made it up in my head.’

    Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s downfall – True

    The cracks in the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana did surface less than two years after they wed, during their tour of Australia in 1983. Royal staff later admitted there were signs of trouble while travelling together.

    Diana stealing the limelight – True

    Prince Charles really did hate Princess Diana stealing his limelight. Within weeks of their marriage it became obvious that photographers’ lenses were trained on the princess. Charles even made references to 
all eyes being on his wife while moaning to photographers. It was 
a constant frustration to the Prince of Wales throughout his marriage.

    Princess Diana Prince Charles

    Credit: Getty

    Margaret Thatcher’s son goes missing – Fake

    Despite the timeline in series four, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s son Mark did not go missing 
in the Sahara at the same time as Argentina invaded South Georgia. This may have been an error rather than a deliberate attempt to distort history. But why get the facts wrong?

    The Balmoral visits – Fake

    The Royal Family appear to have laid protocol traps to humiliate Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher on visits to Balmoral in series four. This account has been rubbished by historians and ex-palace staff. Nor was any reference made to it by the former Prime Minister in her autobiography. It 
looks like a piece of fiction aimed 
at making the Royals look cruel.

    Prince Charles’ portrayal – True

    Actor Josh O’Connor has been praised for his role as Prince Charles, despite the depiction of the Prince 
of Wales as ‘uncaring’ and ‘cold’. According to Princess Diana’s 
former butler, Paul Burrell, it’s a fair portrayal. He said, ‘I’m afraid that’s what I saw behind closed doors.’

    Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, (1961 - 1997) at Buckingham Palace in London on the occasion of their engagement.

    The Queen’s bedroom intruder – Fake

    Michael Fagan, who famously broke into Buckingham Palace in 1982, complained that the scene in which 
he and the Queen discussed politics 
was ‘a complete fiction’. Now 70, he thinks it was made up to have a go at the Queen – though it’s more likely it was to have a go at Margaret Thatcher.

    Princess Diana and the Queen Mother’s frosty friendship – True

    Princess Diana and the Queen Mother appeared to have a frosty relationship. In series four, the pair barely exchange glances and seem far from close. This has been supported by former palace staff and is broadly an accurate depiction.

    Looking for more myth busting facts about popular series? Find out where Vigil is filmed in the UK and whether or not it was REALLY filmed on a Trident submarine.