Netflix’s royal drama The Crown season four is the latest instalment of the streamer’s flagship show, with a stellar cast (see our The Crown cast page for details) led by Olivia Colman; and of course, as equally impressive filming locations.
From Buckingham Palace to Balmoral Castle, the past three seasons have featured plenty of real-life royal locations, which the producers film by sourcing a range of lookalike castles, palaces, and stately homes in the UK and beyond.
However, season four also introduces a number of new royal backdrops, including Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s country and London residences, Highgrove and Clarence House respectively. In total, around 90 filming locations were used for season four, which featured eight key royal residences.
Here’s where the drama was filmed, including all the big locations from seasons one, two, three, and four.
Where do they film Highgrove?
A key location introduced during The Crown season four is Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s country estate Highgrove, which Charles still inhabits today with his second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The estate is located in the county of Gloucestershire and is well known for its gardens, which viewers see a preview of when Charles gives his mother the Queen a tour during the season four episode ‘Favourites’.
In the Netflix series, Somerley House stands in for Highgrove. Somerley is a large country house situated in Hampshire; it was previously used as a filming location for a TV adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.
Where do they film Clarence House?
The London residence of The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), Clarence House is positioned next to St James Palace. Previous royal occupants have included The Queen Mother, and The Queen and Prince Philip.
In season four we see both Charles and Diana living inside the house; it sets the backdrop for the unravelling marriage, with Charles often retreating to Highgrove to be with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Clarence House is also where Diana conducts her affair with cavalry officer James Hewitt.
High Canons Borehamwood stood in for Clarence House in season four; it’s a country manor house about a 40 minute drive from London.
Where do they film Gatcombe Park?
Princess Anne’s country residence Gatcombe Park is also introduced in The Crown season four; in the episode ‘Favourites’, in which the Queen visits each of her four children, we see she and Anne enjoy a horse ride and then picnic in the grounds.
The real-life house was purchased by the Queen as a gift for Anne and her first husband, Mark Philips. It’s located within the country of Gloucestershire, and is only six miles away from Prince Charles’ residence Highgrove.
In The Crown, Hertfordshire country house Wrotham Park is used for the scenes featuring Gatcombe Park. Wrotham has been used for multiple filming projects, including the likes of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Where do they film Buckingham Palace?
The Crown’s producers have stitched together a patchwork of locations to make a convincing on-screen Buckingham Palace, seeing as they couldn’t actually get the real-life Queen to let them take over her house for filming. In season four, it’s where Lady Diana Spencer lives (and roller-skates) for a period prior to her “fairytale wedding” to Prince Charles.
Many interiors are filmed at Lancaster House, which is owned by the Foreign Office and stands very close to Buckingham Palace itself. In particular, The Crown has made use of its ornate central entranceway and staircases – as seen in season three when the Apollo 11 astronauts visit the Palace.
Wilton House in Wiltshire is another stand-in for parts of Buckingham Palace, as is the Old Royal Naval College. Other interiors have been filmed at Waddeston Manor.
In season three, we see Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) breaking some bad news to Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace. The scene was filmed at the University of Greenwich.
The Queen’s audiences with her Prime Ministers are shot at Wrotham Park in Barnet, Hertfordshire. In real life they take place in a private Audience Room in her apartment at Buckingham Palace.
Where was Winston Churchill’s funeral filmed?
In season three, Winston Churchill’s funeral took place at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on 30th January 1965, when the wartime Prime Minister was given a State Funeral – an honour usually reserved for royals.
But what we see on screen in The Crown season three was actually filmed at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.
Winchester is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe but is located in a city of only 45,000 or so people. It’s built in the Gothic style and is exceptionally long, with a vaulted stone ceiling; it doesn’t look much like St Paul’s on the inside or on the outside, but it is very grand.
Where was the White House filmed?
Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones may have travelled to Washington DC to meet with President Lyndon B Johnson, but actors Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Daniels didn’t get to make the trip for season three.
Instead, they filmed scenes as The Hylands House in Essex, which looks strikingly similar to the northern facade of the US President’s HQ. This Grade II-listed neo-classical villa is owned and operated by Chelmsford City Council; it used to host the annual music festival, V Festival, and is often hired out for weddings and private events.
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Where was the Aberfan episode filmed?
Because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, episode three of The Crown’s third season – which covers the Aberfan disaster – was actually shot at Cwmaman in Wales’s Cynon Valley. Cwmaman is located a handful of miles away from the site of the coal waste tip which – one morning in 1966 – catastrophically collapsed and sent a deluge of slurry down the mountain slope onto the village of Aberfan.
The children of Aberfan attended Pantglas Junior School, and this is where the majority of the 144 victims died. Glynhafod Junior School in the Cynon Valley was used as a stand-in for Pantglas to film the scenes in the lead-up to the collapse, and a local street was transformed into a 1960s terrace of miners’ houses – with a machine brought in to recreate the torrential rain, according to Wales Online.
Where was the Welsh Investiture filmed?
The Crown season three did actually shoot the Investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle itself, with Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles) filming on location.
Welsh filming also took place in Ferndale, Rhondda and at Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon.
Did they film on the island of Mustique?
In season three, we see Princess Margaret partying with young Roddy Llewellyn (Harry Treadaway) at her Caribbean villa and relaxing on the beach – but these scenes were actually shot in Southern Spain.
Where are Balmoral and Windsor Castle filmed?
The Royals have a summer residence in Aberdeenshire, Balmoral Castle – the location of many a royal getaway, and notably the key location for The Crown season four episode ‘The Balmoral Test’, when both British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Lady Diana Spencer (the future Princess Diana) meet the extended royal family for the first time, and are supposedly subjected to a series of ‘tests’.
In previous seasons it’s also been the site of the much-ridiculed barbecue from that 1969 documentary Royal Family.
Ardverikie House in the Scottish Highlands has proved the perfect stand-in for external shots of Balmoral throughout every season of The Crown. Located near Inverness, it has classic Scottish baronial architecture and plenty of turrets just like the real thing.
The distinctive garden of Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire can be seen in season three’s “Margaretology”, with its carefully-clipped shrubbery. The Regency house also provides many of the interiors of Windsor Castle throughout the drama – with filming taking place in the Elizabeth Saloon and the Regent’s Gallery.
When it came to interiors, producers also headed for Audley End House in Essex. In season three, Audley End is on display in the scene where Elizabeth and Philip stroll around the Great Hall and discuss Princess Margaret’s desire to “share” the Queen’s official duties.
This Jacobean great house has a history dating back to a 12th century Benedictine Monastery, and was lived in by the Braybrooke family until 1948. The Great Hall is the heart of the house, with its walls lined with pistols and portraits; three grand arches open onto two flights of stone stairs.
This is not the first time we’ve seen Audley End in The Crown. In flashbacks in the first season, the young princesses were tutored in the Great Hall, and the house’s library was also the location for a scene set at Eton College as the future Queen diligently worked her way through her private lessons.
Scenes featuring Elizabeth and Margaret’s childhood bedrooms were filmed upstairs in the old nursery.
Where was the Duke of Windsor’s French mansion filmed?
Season three of The Crown sees us say goodbye to the Duke of Windsor (Derek Jacobi), who sickens and dies in France at his mansion in Bois de Bologne with Wallis Simpson (Geraldine Chaplin) at his side.
These scenes were filmed at West Wycombe House, a Palladian mansion in Buckinghamshire which is run by the National Trust.
Where was Westminster Abbey filmed?
Ely Cathedral stands in for Westminster Abbey in season one during the Queen’s wedding and Coronation.
For the Coronation scenes, they filled the cathedral with hundreds of extras, representing the various factions of the military, the Commonwealth, and other international dignitaries and royalty.
Where do they film the airport scenes?
One location used by The Crown’s producers is Shoreham Airport, near Shoreham-by-Sea. It was here that Claire Foy’s Elizabeth II arrived back from South Africa after her father’s death.
Where was Gordonstoun School filmed?
In season two, Prince Charles miserably attended Gordonstoun – the rough, tough Scottish public school that his father had loved so much. External scenes were filmed at Woodchester Mansion, an uncompleted 19th-century building.
Where else has The Crown been filmed?
Eltham Palace is a stylish Art Deco house in South London, and it has been used for several scenes in The Crown – including the Queen’s quarters of the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Bermuda Government House, and the HMSS Queen Mary.
The Lyceum Theatre and Knebworth House have made appearances, as have Greenwich Naval College and Dundarg Castle.
Englefield House is used as a stand-in for Sandringham, the Queen’s own private estate in Norfolk.
And in season one, we also get a look at the exterior of Slains Castle, a ruined structure which stands on a clifftop overlooking the North Sea. This works as a stand-in for the Queen Mother’s own personal getaway, Castle Mey.
Sets were built to create the exterior of 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Room.
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