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    8 Things “The Crown” Got Right Historically And 6 Things That Might Not Have Happened

    A good portion of the show is based on things that actually happened. So we're here to break down exactly what those moments are.

    If you were anxiously awaiting Season 4 of The Crown (the Diana season!), then you probably devoured it all in one go when it dropped on Netflix on Nov. 15. From princes to princesses, missing children to surprise opera performances, love triangles, and avalanches, the addictive new season really does have it all! But if you’re like me, you might be wondering just how much of what we saw was historically accurate and how much was embellished. Don’t stress — I’m here to break it all down for you!

    An image of Josh O'Connor, who portrays Prince Charles, and Emma Corrin, who portrays Princess Diana in "The Crown."
    Des Willie / Netflix

    1. Historically accurate: Lord Mountbatten was killed in 1979 by the IRA while he was aboard the boat Shadow V.

    A still image of Charles Dance who portrays Lord Mountbatten in Season 4 of "The Crown."
    Des Willie / Netflix

    In the rather shocking season premiere, which also included the start of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma — uncle to Prince Philip and close confidant to his son Prince Charles — was tragically assassinated. Mountbatten — or “Dickie,” to his close friends and family (and us!) — died in a terrorist attack led by the IRA in 1979. Mountbatten was aboard his boat with his grandson Nicholas, and the attack resulted in his becoming the first member of the British royal family to be murdered by the IRA. The explosion happened in Donegal Bay just five minutes after the lord and his family left the harbor. It was a sad episode for us but was a very sad day for the royals.

    2. Historically accurate: Lady Sarah Spencer did, in fact, date Charles, the Prince of Wales, before Diana caught the attention of the royal.

    An image of Emma Corrin (who portrays Princess Diana) meeting Josh O'Connor (who portrays Prince Charles) for the first time in Season 4 of "The Crown."
    Des Willie / Netflix

    You know what they say: It really is a small world! Before his relationship started with Lady Diana — the woman who would go on to become his wife and dominate world headlines — Prince Charles dated her older sister, Lady Sarah. The siblings, who grew up on the Sandringham Estate, already had connections to the royal family through their maternal grandmother, Lady Fermoy. Once Charles and Diana’s relationship began, Sarah even said that she was the “Cupid” to their romance. A sweet start to a love story that would lead to an extremely tragic end. Aww ... *crying eyes emoji*

    3. Embellished: Lady Diana’s grandmother didn’t give her such intense “royal” training.

    An image of Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) with Georgie Glen (Lady Fermoy) in Season 4 of "The Crown."
    Netflix

    Was it a scene from The Crown or something from a reality show? Episode 3, ominously titled “Fairytale," gets into the fancy delicates of court life. From when to say “Your Majesty” to whom to curtsy to first (I still have absolutely no idea lol), Diana really was a duck out of water and was eventually put under the guidance of her grandmother to get things right. But in fact, it isn’t known whether Lady Fermoy gave her granddaughter the in-depth royal training depicted onscreen. It has, however, been reported that later down the line, Meghan Markle would have to take duchess lessons, so who knows? The symbolism of The Crown is fierce, though: a fledgling princess surrounded by a circle of the most prominent royal figures in the world as they joke and fuss, and glare. Chills.

    4. Historically accurate: The “Balmoral tests” do exist (kind of), and that infamous chair that Margaret Thatcher sits in? It really was Queen Victoria’s.

    A still shot of Gillian Anderson, who plays Margaret Thatcher in season 4 of "The Crown."
    Sophie Mutevelian / Netflix

    One thing is for certain: The royals don’t need to be in a palace to stir up some chaos and drama. No, castles will do just fine too. Episode 2 takes viewers to the blistering outdoors of Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Aberdeenshire estate. Bought by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1852, the Scottish residence of the royal family is also home to the colloquially named “Balmoral tests.” These tests, which are reported to be a series of sneaky social and practical challenges, allow the royals to scrutinize and judge newcomers based on their time in the Highlands. The big one? Avoiding sitting in Queen Victoria’s chair, which is said to be left in the exact place the iconic monarch left it in. I don't know about you, but it all sounds quite fun!

    5. Also historically accurate: Mark Thatcher really did go missing in the Sahara Desert during the Paris-Dakar Rally.

    An image of Freddie Fox who portrays Mark Thatcher on Season 4 of "The Crown."
    Netflix

    The favorite child of Margaret Thatcher went missing with his co-driver and mechanic while taking part in the motor race. Famous for its off-road circuit, the now–Dakar Rally was apparently “no problem” for the son of the prime minister. Viewers will never know if Maggie did shed a tear during her audience with the Queen, but presumedly she would have. After all, as her husband, Denis Thatcher, says to their daughter, Carol, who is also Mark's twin sister, it's “mothers and sons.” Mark may have thought the race was “no problem,” but it definitely caused problems at home. Yikes! Have you ever asked your parents who their favorite is?

    6. Historically accurate: The Prince and Princess of Wales were accompanied by 9-month old Prince William on their 1983 tour of Australia.

    An image of Josh O'Connor (Prince Charles) and Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and their infant son from season 4 of "The Crown."
    Des Willie / Netflix

    Generally, babies and planes aren’t a good combination, but royal babies and a trip to the other side of the globe with the eyes of the world watching seems extremely stressful. As the new parents embarked on a Commonwealth tour of Australia in the early 1980s, it was only right that their 9-month old son come along too. It isn’t touched on in The Crown as such — there’s only a passing comment from the Queen when she says, “We never took the children" — but it actually broke royal protocol when Diana insisted that William accompany them on the tour. Maybe William should have stayed at home and gotten a handshake, just as the Queen gave Charles, from his father on their return? Ahh, aren't they all such a loving family?

    7. Embellished: Queen Elizabeth II did give Margaret Thatcher an Order of Merit, but it wasn’t during her final audience.

    An image of Gillian Anderson who portrays Margaret Thatcher on season 4 of "The Crown."
    Des Willie / Des Willie/Netflix

    It’s November 1990, and Thatcher has just been ousted from Downing Street following her tumultuous tenure as prime minister. In The Crown, the Queen telephones Thatcher to meet her for their final audience, where, after a final brief discussion as monarch and prime minister, the Queen awards her one of the prestigious Order of Merits (and yes, there are only 24). In truth, the award ceremony happened in December, almost two weeks after Thatcher’s resignation, once John Major had already started his time in office.

    8. Embellished: The Queen and Michael Fagan didn't really have a heart-to-heart in her bedroom.

    An image of Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth) in bed being woken up by her intruder.
    Netflix

    Amid the unemployment crisis of the early 1980s' economic recession, painter and decorator Michael Fagan entered Buckingham Palace not once, but twice! In The Crown, the events of his second visit — where he found himself in the the Queen’s private bedroom — are more detailed than the planning of a lavish state banquet. Having awoken to find the intruder in her room, the Queen sits down with Michael as he tells her about his concerns with Thatcher’s government, and how she has no idea what’s really going on in her country. Seriously, Michael? In truth, Fagan himself says that no such thing happened and she "went past [him] and ran out of the room." Good intentions or not, it’s hard not to feel scared for her!

    9. Embellished: The Queen and Margaret Thatcher went head to head in the headlines, but the Queen didn't really suggest that Michael Shea go to the press.

    An image of Nicholas Farrell (Michael Shea) in "The Crown" Season 4.
    Netflix

    Another episode, another scandal, and again The Crown indicates that the royal family really does have more drama than a ShondaLand TV show. As tensions between the monarchy and the government rise amid the apartheid regime sanctions in South Africa, the Queen is seen clashing with the PM over the political upheaval, leaving the Queen "dismayed." This all comes to a head when Michael Shea — the Queen’s press secretary — is seen contacting the Sunday Times to dish the dirt after, wait for it, the Queen herself suggests doing so! Go on, Liz! When the papers publish the story, it comes at a great cost to the Queen, who is regarded as an apolitical figure, and fingers are quickly pointed at Shea to take the fall. Only a few knew whether the Queen did tell him to leak her thoughts to the press, but Shea left the royal service shortly after. Hmmm, dismayed indeed.

    10. Historically accurate: Diana did dance to “Uptown Girl” with Wayne Sleep at the Royal Opera House.

    An image of Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) on stage after dancing to "Uptown Girl."
    Alex Bailey / Netflix

    It’s the song that everyone knows. The one that gets played at weddings and parties. The one that Lady Diana Spencer danced to onstage at the Royal Opera House. Wait, what? Yes, the wife of the presumably future king really did surprise him with a performance of Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” in December 1985. Only a few people knew about it, including Diana’s onstage partner, ballet dancer Wayne Sleep. He said that it would never work because she was "so much taller than me.” BRB, we're off to play some Billy Joel!

    11. Most likely embellished: the stag hunting at Balmoral that cemented Diana Spencer's status as a winner. A similar story exists in Peter Morgan’s film The Queen, so it’s hard to imagine it happening twice.

    An image of Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip) approaching Balmoral with the stag.
    Sophie Mutevelian / Netflix

    It feels more Revenant than royalty, but it's back to Episode 2, arguably the best in the season, and into the Highlands again as Diana and Prince Philip search for the grand stag. The episode starts with a visitor on a neighboring estate shooting and injuring the animal before it wonders over onto royal land. This particular event doesn’t seem as if it ever happened, and more so is featured as an ode to Peter Morgan’s film The Queen. Diana definitely went to Balmoral — the actor Emma Corrin even wore the same jumper — but it isn’t clear whether the Duke of Edinburgh and his eventual daughter-in-law ever went out on a hunt together. It would be nice to think that they bonded, though.

    12. Historically accurate: The Bowes-Lyon sisters were the Queen’s cousins, and yes, she had no idea that they existed.

    An image of the Bowes-Lyons sisters from Season 4 of "The Crown."
    Netflix

    In Episode 7, we are introduced to two new members of the royal family: Katherine and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon. Recognize that surname? Yes, the two sisters were the Queen’s first cousins through her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother; and double yes, neither the Queen, Princess Margaret, nor other members of the family were aware that they existed. In 1941, Katherine and Nerissa were admitted to the Royal Earlswood Hospital, where they suffered developmental difficulties but were later reported as dead in the Burke’s Peerage. It was only in 1987 that the news broke that they were still alive.

    13. Historically accurate: Prince Charles was involved in a skiing incident that left someone dead.

    An image of Josh O'Connor (Prince Charles) from Season 4 of "The Crown."
    Alex Bailey / Netflix

    When Martin Charteris walks in to tell the Queen that her son Charles is missing in a suspected fatal avalanche, it’s a striking moment and one where we see the Queen as less of a monarch and more of a mother. of course Charles survived the accident, which did actually happen in 1988 on a royal ski trip, but it killed another member of the party: Maj. Hugh Lindsay, former equerry to the Queen. Lindsay, having become a friend of Charles', was invited on the trip to Switzerland that would unfortunately end in his death and would lead to the prince digging in the snow with his bare hands in an attempt to save him. In real life, the event has also been reported to have provided a "turning point" in Charles and Diana’s rocky marriage, which was rolling into the realms of separation and *whispers* inevitable divorce.

    14. Embellished: There’s no evidence that Prince Philip’s ominous warning to Diana in the season finale ever happened.

    An image of Emma Corrin (who portrays Princess Diana) with a tear in her eye in season 4 of "The Crown."
    Ollie Upton / Netflix

    When the increasingly rattled Princess Di threatens to “break away officially,” the Duke of Edinburgh delivers a searing response when he says, “I can’t see that ending well for you.” It’s chilling, especially since we know what happens just seven years later. In truth, there is no proof that this conversation happened, and it would seem that The Crown's writers are already dialing the drama up to 100 ahead of the next chapters in the saga. Diana and Philip actually exchanged private letters during the next few years. They discussed everything from Charles and Camilla to Philip’s “modest” marriage guidance. While the messy separation and subsequent divorce were underway, it seemed that Diana had found a sympathetic yet stern confidant. Sad reacts ONLY!