While the UK’s government asks Netflix to make it clear “The Crown” is fictional, the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her family brings together millions of fans with every episode of the series. But between historical reality and fiction, how can we distinguish the truth from the false?
A man did indeed enter the bedroom of Queen Elizabeth II
If this intrusion really happened, its protagonist, Michael Fagan, told a British journalist in 2012 that far from having chatted for ten minutes with him, the Queen went past him and “ran out of the room: her little bare feet running across the floor”. And it was an unarmed footman who occupied him by giving him a Scotch while waiting for the police to arrive.
What is true is that unbelievable as it sounds, he had already done the trick a month before and had really had time to get down half a bottle of wine before escaping unnoticed.
But it seems Fagan wasn’t the unlucky Mister Everybody the show describes, and he didn’t have any political ideas in his head either. According to The Sun, Fagan “was feeling depressed after his wife Christine ran off and left him to bring up their four young children, so he set off to see if Her Majesty could solve his problems.” “I don’t know why I did it, something just got into my head,” he said.
However, Fagan and the Queen didn’t actually speak for very long, and the intruder didn’t wake the Queen. “She was wide awake when I got in there,” Fagan recently told The Sun.
Thatcher didn’t actually ask the Queen to dissolve parliament
In the Netflix drama, Mrs Thatcher goes to Buckingham Palace and asks Her Majesty to dissolve Parliament to prevent her ousting so that she can deal with the crisis in the Gulf.
According to Mr Sandbrook, the suggestion that Mrs Thatcher asked the Queen to intervene is “a colossal invention”.
He said: “This is total nonsense. There was no meeting with the Queen after Thatcher’s ministers told her to go. Actually, this distorts the true drama of events, which is that during the night her ministers told her to go, then the next morning they came to Cabinet, she told them she was resigning, reading the statement in tears. Then, when it was over, she went to the Commons and destroyed Neil Kinnock what was probably her most famous parliamentary performance.”
Prince Charles really did say on television “Whatever in love means?”
During the public announcement of the engagement, one journalist told Prince Charles and Lady Diana, they looked very much in love.
Diana was quick to say “of course” the couple was in love, but Charles could only laugh awkwardly, adding: “Whatever in love means” like on the Netflix series.
Just before the wedding, Charles did order a bracelet for Camilla
Diana reckoned that she met her husband only about a dozen times before they walked down the aisle and that includes official events. If the beginning of the relationship between Camilla and Prince Charles stays quite a mystery, Diana did confirm during an interview for the book “Diana: Her true story” that just before the wedding, a bracelet had been commissioned by Prince Charles for Camilla. Diana said: “I was still too immature to understand all the messages coming my way. And then someone in his office told me that my husband had had a bracelet made for her. I walked into this man’s office one day, and I said, ‘Ooh, what’s in that parcel?’ And he said, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t look at that’.’”
The cufflinks he wore during his and Diana’s honeymoon in the TV show really were worn. Diana has even spoken out on this matter: “And it was such a good idea the two C’s, but it wasn’t that clever.”
Does the Balmoral test truly exist? No, but yes.
It’s common knowledge that the queen loves her Scottish estate Balmoral and all the highland that goes with it. Many ministers went there, but not everybody was thrilled by the opportunity. According to her biographer Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher definitely had no interest in such posh country pursuits like hunting. At the same time, aspects of the visit depicted on the show are surely wrong; although the broad impression has the ring of truth. By the way, there actually was an incident with Queen Victoria’s chair, but it wasn’t the Prime Minister who violated the unwritten rule of sitting in it. Indeed, it was one of Prince Charles’ girlfriends. Furthermore, Diana really did win over the Royal Family during her first visit to Balmoral castle just as it was depicted on the show.