Is The Crown Historically Accurate, Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Historical dramas are a popular genre on television and have been for a long time. Shows like Downtown Abbey, Bridgerton, and The Crown give viewers a glimpse into life in the past. A lot of these shows have some sort of historical accuracy behind them, if not retelling history altogether. So this begs the question: Is The Crown historically accurate? Let’s dive into the series and figure out what is true, and what is fiction. 

Stream The Crown on Netflix. 

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What Is The Crown? 

What Is The Crown, Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Following the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown developed itself from the film The Queen (2006) and the stage play The Audience (2013). The series consists of six seasons spanning six decades, starting shortly before the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten in 1947. The series ends with the 2005 wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. 

It generally follows the political rivalries and romances of Queen Elizabeth during her reign and the events that shaped Britain for the second half of the 20th century. 

As the decades go by, so does the cast. As two seasons pass, there is a swap of actors. For example, Queen Elizabeth was played by Claire Foy in the first and second seasons, Olivia Colman in the third and fourth seasons, and Imelda Staunton in the fifth and sixth seasons. 

Is The Crown Historically Accurate? 

The Crown Accuracy, Netflix
Credit: Netflix

Even though The Crown follows a person and even depicts real-life events, it’s clear that it’s not 100% accurate. There are some fabrications, jumbled timelines, and even characters that are played with to tell more about the drama than history. It’s a historical drama, not a documentary. But even so, there are some accuracies that can be seen in the show. 

The Truth

Overall, is The Crown historically accurate? It’s a complicated answer. The foundation, the big events, and the primary characters are pretty accurate. They’re based on real people and real events do take place. The overall foundation of the show is pretty accurate. There are several scenes that show its accuracy, especially when actual photographs, letters, and video footage give them these details and stories from history. But when you start looking at more details, it’s a whole other story.

Some instances where The Crown is historically accurate are when they touch on the various scandals and rumors throughout the years, from Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s contentious marriage to Prince Philip’s potential infidelity. 

A few other examples include Queen Elizabeth’s friendship with Porchie or Lord Porchester (later known as Earl of Carnarvon) which is formed when she takes up horse breeding. And while the show conveys Elizabeth as a blushing girl around Porchie to cause a fight between Philip and Porchie, there is no evidence in history that the Queen had an affair with him. 

Another fact is Lord Mountbatten’s influence over Prince Philip. In fact, Lord Mountbatten was often seen as a father figure to Philip. In the show, the closeness between the two causes some concern because they don’t want Mountbatten to take over the Windsors. 

So while the show does highlight more of the drama, there are some historical accuracies in The Crown. Showrunner Peter Morgan has been honest with his view on the truth, saying that the truth can be blurred depending on the perspective of which historian you’re speaking. 

Also Read: History Channel’s Streaming Service: Unleash Your Inner Historian

The Fiction

It’s hard to argue that some of the most iconic moments in The Crown are created through these fabrications that show the emotions with these relationships and events, emotions that no one can say are accurate or not. To put it simply, Josh O’Connor, who plays young Prince Charles, told Town & Country that they’re working with “fiction, albeit based in some reality.”

Some scenes, like Princess Alice, Prince Philip’s mother, giving an in-depth interview to a journalist wasn’t factual, however, it allowed her to dive into her story more. The show also suggests that Princess Anne’s relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles occurred along with the beginnings of Prince Charles’ courtship of Camilla, however, Charles’ biographer doesn’t believe the two relationships overlapped. However, fictionalizing the moment to where it did overlap creates exciting television and furthers the drama. 

Some liberties the show took include Venetia Scott, Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s assistant who tragically dies after being struck by a bus, was not a real person in history. Charles and Diana’s first meeting where she was dressed in a tree costume was completely fictionalized. 

Even events were fictionalized, or at least dramatized, for the sake of views. The Great Smog plays a central role in The Crown and shows panic amongst the people, but it supposedly wasn’t accurate. While the Great Smog was denser and longer-lasting than previous fogs, the long-term effects weren’t realized until several weeks, even years, later. While it did have a devastating impact, due to London already dealing with bad air quality, it wasn’t much of a concern. 

Conclusion

The Crown Conclusion, Netflix
Credit: Netflix

The Crown is one of the top historical dramas that you can stream right now. But not every show that follows historical events is factual all the way through. So if you’re wondering if The Crown is historically accurate, then you might have a complicated answer.

If you want to watch a show that has primary historical facts, while diving into drama, then this is the one for you. However, with so many fictionalized aspects, you can’t base the full truth on the show. Either way, it’s a great series to watch if you want a different perspective on the life of Queen Elizabeth and the royal family.