Discover the real history behind Netflix’s The Crown

From the Queen and Prince Philip's marriage to political upheaval, find out everything you need to know about the truth and fictions behind The Crown seasons 1, 2 and 3

The Crown Olivia Colman and Claire Foy

The Crown covers some very dramatic real-life events – but with a heavy dose of artistic licence as we go behind the doors of Buckingham Palace.

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If you’re curious about what’s fact and what’s fiction in Netflix’s The Crown, we’ve got all the big questions covered with these in-depth features. Take a look at the history that inspired The Crown seasons one, two and three…


The history behind The Crown season 3

The cast has changed, but The Crown is as majestic as ever; that was our take on season three of the much-anticipated royal drama. These ten episodes cover the period from 1964 to 1977 and feature Soviet spies, marriage crises, broken hearts, affairs, the death of a Prime Minister and the arrival of two more; there’s the moon landing, a disastrous documentary, and a devastating tragedy in Wales. Here’s what you need to know:

Was the Queen’s art adviser Anthony Blunt really a Soviet spy?

Did the Queen visit Winston Churchill before his death – and attend his funeral?

Did people really think Prime Minister Harold Wilson was a Soviet agent?

Jason Watkins as Harold Wilson in The Crown

Did Princess Margaret charm (and kiss) President Lyndon B Johnson?

Inside Margaret’s affair with Roddy Llewellyn and the collapse of her marriage

“I had nightmares for years”: The real-life story behind The Crown’s Aberfan episode, as told by the survivors

The Queen visits Aberfan in The Crown season 3

The story of Philip’s mother – and her extraordinary life

 The real story behind the 1969 Royal Family documentary

Did Prince Charles get sent to learn Welsh for the Investiture? 

THE CROWN prince charles wales

Was there a plot to overthrow Harold Wilson – in a coup led by Lord Mountbatten?

How Prince Philip met the Apollo 11 astronauts 

The Crown

The history behind The Crown season 2

The Crown made a triumphant return to Netflix in December 2017, with season two picking up where season one left off. Personal relationships and political crises collide as Queen Elizabeth II’s reign moves through the 1950s into the Swinging Sixties. Here’s what we know about the real-life stories and events behind the second season:

What was the Suez Crisis and why did it bring down Prime Minister Anthony Eden?

Was Prince Philip unfaithful?

Matt Smith and Claire Foy as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 2 (Netflix, JG)

Who was Prime Minister Harold Macmillan?

Who was Prince Philip’s right hand man Mike Parker?

What was Prince Charles like as a young boy – and did he really hate his time at school?

(Getty/Netflix, JG)

How accurate is The Crown’s story of the Queen’s Christmas Speech?

The Crown season 2: The true story of Princess Margaret’s marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones

(Getty/Netflix, JG)


The history behind The Crown season 1

The Crown: how to sort the facts from the fiction in Netflix’s royal drama
Royal historian Robert Lacey casts a critical eye over the stories – and occasional flights of fancy – of The Crown’s first series. Read more

What was Prince Philip really like as a young man?

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The true story of Princess Margaret’s ‘forbidden love’ for Peter Townsend

How accurate is The Crown’s portrayal of the royal affair?

The Queen’s early years – and how she fell in love with Prince Philip

What really happened to Winston Churchill’s controversial portrait?

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Discover the real Great Smog that brought London to a standstill

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Did Winston Churchill’s secretary Venetia Scott from The Crown really exist?