Everyone’s favourite royal drama The Crown is back for season four and, oh man, this is the season we’ve been waiting for. Charles! Diana! Margaret Thatcher! It’s all happening. But it’s been a good 12 months since season three so here’s what you need to know to catch up.
The Crown Season 3 Recap
To start with, last season saw new actors taking over all the lead roles. Queen Elizabeth is now played by Olivia Colman, Princess Margaret is played by Helena Bonham Carter and Tobia Menzies as Prince Phillip. Season 3 also covered the years between 1964 and 1977.
Now onto the plot, spoilers ahead.
In another season of, ‘who’s Prime Minister this time?’, we saw Britain go through two PMs. Howard Wilson (Jason Watkins) was in office between 1964-1970 and Edward Heath (Michael Maloney) took over between 1974-1976, after which Wilson then returned. At the end of season 3, Wilson tells the Queen he shalt be retiring.
Princess Margaret decided to divorce her husband Anthony Armstrong-Jones after we watched their marriage go down the drain for ten episodes. And remember, divorces are a big deal in the royal family. Margaret attempts suicide after the news which really shakes her sister, Elizabeth.
We also saw Charles taking his shot with Camilla (last name Shand, at the time). But the Queen Mother had to get involved and convinced the parents of Camilla and Andrew Parker Bowles that their children should marry instead. That leaves Charles free to marry someone else – wonder who that could be?
The final event of the season sees the Queen celebrating her Silver Jubilee (25 years).
What’s Happening In Season 4
As I previously mentioned, season 4 is where it’s at. The story is kicking off in 1977 and is expected to cover up until 1990. We’re going to see the whole romance between Charles and Diana (played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin) as well as their historic wedding.
Season 4 is also going to introduce the U.K.’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Control your excitement now because Coleman and Anderson, two absolute queens – pun intended, will be on screen together.
Here’s the trailer if you would like a peek at what’s to come.
How Accurate Is The Crown Season 4?
Spoilers for The Crown Season 4 ahead.
Let’s be honest, the royal family are a private bunch, despite the huge amount of magazine headlines they’ve received over the years. The Crown has always taken a fairly neutral stance on the facts surrounding the history of the royals, but let’s remember this is still a drama made for television, and it does take some liberties.
Plenty of historians have been breaking down The Crown’s accuracy, but let’s review some of the major plot points from season 4 with what we know:
- How did Charles and Diana meet? It’s true that Charles dated Diana’s older sister, Sarah Spencer, first. However, it’s more widely accepted that they met during one of the Spencer family’s galas as opposed to Charles running into Diana while she was dressed up in costume for a play.
- Lord Mountbatten’s death was indeed assassinated via a bomb planted on his fishing boat on August 27, 1979. It’s believed the IRA was behind the attack.
- The Balmoral tests are said to be a real thing where the Queen and the royal family would invite guests to their home in Scotland and get to know them privately. Historians also agree that Margaret Thatcher did not enjoy her time there but that Diana did make a great impression on the royal family.
- Did Diana and Camilla really have lunch? Yes. On Camilla’s side, the lunch has been depicted as all friendly and entirely normal, but that isn’t exactly how Diana described it, which is the uncomfortable situation that The Crown depicts. The bracelet Charles made for Camilla is also real, but he apparently sent gifts to many of the women he was close with. Alright then.
- There was a break-in at Buckingham Palace. Apparently yes, painter Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace and made it to the Queen’s bedroom, but there isn’t said to have been any conversation that took place between him and the Queen. This is still one of the largest breaches in Buckingham Palace in history.
- Charles and Diana did visit Australia. Diana really was having a hard time because of post-natal depression after William’s birth and her ongoing eating disorder. PM at the time Bob Hawke also did want Australia to become a republic.
- Did Margaret Thatcher and the Queen dislike each other? Sources seem to agree that a strong difference in opinion and class lead to the animosity between the Queen and the PM. They did indeed disagree on a number of matters, but also harboured respect for each other – which could be seen for real when the Queen granted a state funeral for Thatcher following her death in 2013.
- Charles did nearly die in a ski accident. In 1988 Charles got caught in an avalanche in Switzerland which killed his friend Major Hugh Lindsay.
- Margaret Thatcher was forced to resign. Following a leadership challenge, Margaret Thatcher asked for support from her ministers, individually, who all refused as the numbers were against her. However, it seems The Crown’s depiction of Thatcher asking the Queen to dissolve Parliament to avoid her resignation was fabricated. Thatcher remains the only prime minister to have left office during a party leadership ballot.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of some of the events that happen in The Crown’s fourth season. History Extra has done a great breakdown of each episode’s events and their accuracy for those interested in more of the royal family’s history.
How To Watch The Crown in Australia
Season 4 of The Crown will be available to watch from Sunday, November 15. The season drops at 7:00pm AEDT and all ten hour-long episodes can be streamed on Netflix. No idea why Netflix is dropping this one on a Sunday instead of the usual Friday. But on the plus side, you can have your Sunday roast with a side of The Crown.
This article has been updated with additional information.