The Crown creator on deciding which historical events get cut from the show

Each season requires meticulous planning and research.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana announce their engagement in The Crown

The Crown creator Peter Morgan has revealed the careful process behind deciding which historical events make it into Netflix’s epic royal drama.

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The show’s fourth season debuted late last year, distilling a tumultuous 11-year period into a mere 10 episodes, meaning some tough calls had to be made on what could feasibly be included.

Of course, there was never any doubt that important moments like the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana would be depicted in The Crown, but incidents like Michael Fagan‘s palace break-in may have come as more of a surprise.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter following The Crown’s impressive 24 Emmy nominations, Morgan explained how combing through the numerous fascinating events is the “longest” part of writing the show.

“This is the part of the writing process that takes me the longest — working out what to leave out and what to put in. I like to think that’s the magic ingredient and what defines The Crown,” he said.

“It takes us at least nine months, outlining and outlining, before the writing of any season starts. History, even recent history, is so reductive, and so many gems disappear into a black hole.”

Morgan added: “No one would thank us for churning out the ‘greatest hits’ of any decade. We have to dig deep and find the surprises, the overlooked stories, like palace break-ins, and put them alongside the iconic events — like moon landings or weddings, or elections, or assassinations.”

Once those agonising decisions have been made, The Crown has dedicated researchers, script editors and historians on hand to focus in on the selected moments, with Morgan praising Annie Sulzberger and Oona O’Beirn for leading the team.

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The Crown seasons 1-4 are available to stream on Netflix. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.