SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for “The Crown” Season 6, streaming on Netflix now.
The final episodes of “The Crown” have dropped and, as Netflix boss Ted Sarandos pointed out at the premiere of Season 5, that means Google searches will be going up, since many fans like to fact-check scenes from Peter Morgan’s royal drama while they watch.
“This is the story of Queen Elizabeth. This is the story of the royal family. Peter has told and dramatised these stories, some very memorable, some forgotten, judging by the Google activity that happens every time we drop a new season,” said Sarandos at the premiere last November.
Annie Sulzberger, who is head of research on the show, said that if fans spot discrepancies between real events and those on “The Crown,” those are intentional. “This is a drama, and dramatists have to look at history differently,” she told Variety. “These are not inaccuracies. They were decisions to deviate from history.”
So, read on to see what’s fact and what’s fiction in Season 6 of “The Crown.”
Did Diana really plot to push Camilla off the front pages? (Episode 1: “Persona Non Grata”)
Weeks before her death in the summer of 1997, Diana was vacationing in St Tropez where she did occasionally speak to the paparazzi who were there to capture her every move. And, according to reports, she managed to thwart her ex-husband Prince Charles’s efforts to get his mistress Camilla Parker Bowles some good press when revealing photos of Diana in a swimsuit pushed Camilla’s 50th birthday off the newspaper front pages. British tabloid The Mirror even reportedly ran a headline which read: “Dear Camilla, This will keep you off the front page. Happy Birthday & Breast Wishes love Diana.” Whether it was by design is unclear, but Diana was known to be media-savvy.
Did Dodi Fayed propose to Princess Diana? (Episode 3: “Dis-Moi Oui”)
The investigation into the couple’s death revealed that hours before the car crash which killed them, Dodi visited the Repossi store in Paris alone to purchase a diamond ring called “Dis-Moi Oui,” which means “Say Yes” in French. But despite his father Mohammed Al-Fayed’s insistence the duo were engaged, there is no suggestion Dodi ever popped the question. The ring was found in his apartment, which is where he and Diana were heading on the night they died.
Was Prince William really mobbed by girls on a royal visit to Canada? (Episode 5: “Willsmania”)
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Prince William was something of a heartthrob, his face adorning the bedroom walls of girls across the world. In 1998, following the death of his mother, the heir to the throne accompanied his father Prince Charles and brother Prince Harry on a work-slash-vacation to Canada, where he was mobbed by screaming fans, just like in the show.
Is there such thing as a Yeoman of the Glass and China Pantry and a Warden of the Swans? (Episode 6: “Ruritania”)
In Episode 6, Prime Minister Tony Blair advises Queen Elizabeth II to slim down her staff, prompting her to consider the many indispensable people employed by the Royals to keep things ticking. These are all real roles. The Yeoman of the Glass and China Pantry is responsible for everything from unpacking glasses to folding 170 monogrammed napkins into Dutch bonnets before a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, while the Warden of the Swans is in charge of “swan upping,” meaning the annual swan census. (By law, the monarch owns all the mute swans in Britain.)
Did Kate ever meet Princess Diana? (Episode 7: “Alma Mater”)
Episode 8 opens with Kate and her future husband briefly meeting as young teens in 1996, “Dharma & Greg”-style. William is accompanying his mother, Princess Diana, as she sells copies of British street magazine the Big Issue, which supports the homeless, and Kate buys a copy from her. The scene is entirely fictional, however. According to William, Kate – who has inherited Diana’s former title, the Princess of Wales – never met his mother. There is also no record of Diana ever helping sell the Big Issue, but she was known to buy it occasionally.
Did Queen Elizabeth’s friend Porchey have a heart attack on Sept. 11 while watching news about the Twin Towers? (Episode 8: “Ritz”)
Answer: Kind of
Henry Herbert, the seventh Earl of Carnarvon, was a close friend of the Royal Family, who nicknamed him Porchey after his birth title Lord Porchester. He was Queen Elizabeth’s racing manager – in charge of her beloved thoroughbred horses – and the two were also rumored to have had a romantic relationship. He had a heart attack on Sept. 11, 2001, although it’s unconfirmed whether it was while he was watching reports about the attacks on the Twin Towers. His family seat, Highclere Castle, later became the backdrop for another high-end British period drama: “Downton Abbey.”
Did Kate Middleton really catch Prince William’s eye by wearing a see-through dress? (Episode 9: “Hope Street”)
Kate and William first met while studying at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and the princess-to-be was said to be firmly in the friendzone — until one night in 2002 at a student fashion show, when the usually shy Kate modeled a see-through black dress that showed off her strapless bra and panties. Legend has it that William, who was in the audience, remarked to a friend: “Wow, Kate’s hot” and the rest is history. In 2011, the dress, which was designed by fellow student Charlotte Todd, sold at auction for $125,000.
Did Queen Elizabeth really plan her own funeral? (Episode 10: “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep”)
Queen Elizabeth II consulted on “all the arrangements” for her funeral, which was nicknamed “Operation London Bridge,” including the choice of music. Her personal piper, who would greet Her Majesty with a tune on the bagpipes outside her bedroom window every morning, closed the funeral service with the traditional lament “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep.” And just as is portrayed on the show, Prince Philip also planned his own funeral, modifying a Land Rover to carry his coffin instead of a traditional hearse.