What is true in Netflix's The Crown? From Princess Diana's suicide attempt to Prince Charles' jealousyNovember 18, 2020
THE War of the Waleses has erupted afresh now the new series of The Crown is out.
Set in the Eighties, viewers watch Prince Charles fall in love with Princess Diana, only for their marriage to fall apart.
Although no senior member of the Royal Family has ever watched the Netflix series, courtiers and friends have attacked it.
They claim the show, now in its fourth season, is “trolling the Royal Family on a Hollywood budget” and is “entertainment with no truth in it whatsoever”.
Here we examine the storylines that DID happen, and what Diana said about them during her life.
The Queen Mum and Diana DID feud
IN Episode three, the Queen Mother and the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret are bitchy to the young Diana who had to undergo “the Balmoral test” to make sure she was suitable to marry the future King.
At a royal dinner before her wedding to Charles, Diana manages to offend Margaret by interrupting the Princess while she is telling a story, and making social blunders.
In The Crown, the Queen Mum, played by Marion Bailey, says: “Oh dear, thank goodness we’ve got your grandmother to sort all this out.”
To escape the media frenzy after her engagement, Lady Di briefly stayed at the Queen Mother’s home, Clarence House.
In June 1995, five months before her notorious Panorama interview, Diana told then BBC reporter Jennie Bond that she found the Queen Mother “intimidating and nothing like her cuddly grandma image”.
Jennie reveals Diana told her: “I think she has a lot to answer for. In my view, any faults in Charles’s upbringing lie not with the Queen at all, but with the Queen Mother.”
And in a tape-recorded phone call with her lover James Gilbey on New Year’s Eve 1989, Diana complained the Queen Mum gives her “weird looks”.
She added: “It’s not hatred, it’s sort of pity and interest mixed in one. Every time I look up, she’s looking at me, and then looks away and smiles.”
In the recording – dubbed the Squidgygate tapes after car dealer Gilby’s nickname for her – Diana told him that during a particularly grim lunch at Sandringham with the extended Royal Family she had felt terribly low.
On the tape she said: “I nearly started blubbing. I felt really sad and empty.”
Charles was ALWAYS in love with Camilla
LADY Di is invited to a torturous lunch with Charles’s ex-girlfriend, Camilla Parker-Bowles, in episode three.
To her horror, Diana discovers how little she knows about her future husband.
In a role taken by Emerald Fennell, Camilla says: “Darling, you really know nothing, do you?” She also reveals her nickname for Charles is Fred and he calls her Gladys.
Author Penny Junor says the meeting really did happen but, as far as Camilla was concerned, it was very friendly. But she says: “When Camilla later read about it in Andrew Morton’s biography it had turned into this terrible lunch.”
Later Diana, played by Emma Corrin, discovers drawings for a bracelet Charles had designed for Camilla, inscribed with an F and G – Fred and Gladys.
Just days before his wedding to Diana, Charles really did give Camilla a bracelet etched with the initials of their nicknames.
And Diana discovered not drawings, but the real bracelet in an office at Buckingham Palace. It was in a box of jewellery on the desk of Charles’s right-hand man Michael Colborne.
According to Penny, Diana opened the box, saw the bracelet and flew into a jealous rage.
Diana later told author Morton how a photo of Camilla fell out of Charles’s diary on their honeymoon.
Diana believed they never stopped seeing each other but the Prince says he did not see Camilla for five years.
Charles DID resent Diana's popularity
THE couple’s five-week tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1983, where it becomes clear Diana is the real star, is recreated in episode six.
And Charles, played by Josh O’Connor, is seen beginning to resent “Dianamania”, claiming, “all I am good for these days is collecting flowers for my wife”.
The Crown shows how Diana’s popularity on that tour drove a wedge between the couple.
Diana told Andrew Morton: “He wasn’t used to that and nor was I. He took it out on me. He was jealous. I understood the jealousy but I couldn’t explain that I didn’t ask for it.”
The last episode of the series sees Diana on a solo trip to New York in 1989 where, at a hospital in Harlem, she hugged a boy suffering from Aids.
In the programme, Charles accuses his wife of grandstanding and criticises her for “theatrically hugging the wretched and the dispossessed”.
Royal watcher Penny Junor says the Prince is unlikely to have used those words. But she admits Charles was increasingly frustrated by what he saw as Diana being “constantly in competition with him, trying to make herself look good and him look bad”.
She says: “He found it very trying and hard to live with.”
In episode nine, Diana surprises her husband by ballet-dancing on stage at London’s Royal Opera House with Wayne Sleep, to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl.
In The Crown, Charles tells his wife on the way home: “What were you thinking? That grotesque, mortifying display had nothing to do with me or my happiness.
“Eight minutes they were on their feet, cheering you, and tomorrow the newspapers will be about nothing other than you!”
Insiders confirm Charles thought she was “showing off”.
Di WAS plagued by bulimia
VIEWERS of episode three complained at the graphic shots of Diana sneaking into the Buckingham Palace kitchens, gorging on puddings before making herself violently sick.
Diana admitted to author Andrew Morton that she was already suffering from the eating disorder when Charles put his arm round her after they were engaged and said she was chubby.
At the TV interview to mark their engagement in February 1981, Charles really did say he was in love “whatever love is”.
In tapes she made for Morton, Diana called the interview a “ghastly” experience.
Feeling lonely, unloved and isolated in Buckingham Palace, Diana made herself sick the night before her wedding.
She admitted that during their honeymoon at Balmoral her bulimia had left her terribly thin and that she was so depressed she tried to cut her wrists with razor blades.
She also told Morton how Charles would watch her at mealtimes and ask: “Is that going to reappear later? What a waste.”
Years later she told Jennie Bond: “I was not unbalanced. The trouble was, I was too sane for my environment.”
Philip DID get on with Diana
SERIES four ends at Sandringham for Christmas, where Diana tells Prince Philip she feels she has “no option but to break away, officially”.
Philip, portrayed by Tobias Menzies, seems to threaten her, saying: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you . . . let’s just say I can’t see it ending well for you.”
Diana replies: “I hope that isn’t a threat, sir?”
No one will ever know if that conversation took place but letters between Philip and Diana show they got on well and the Duke often defended his daughter-in-law.
The Queen’s biographer Hugo Vickers, who has seen the letters, said: “He did everything he could to find a way to keep the marriage intact. There was not a hint of a threat in any of them.”
In fact, it is said Philip wrote: “Charles was silly to risk everything with Camilla for a man in his position.
"We never dreamed he might feel like leaving you for her. I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla.”
He said he would do his “utmost” to help Diana and Charles to the best of his ability. But he conceded he had “no talent as a marriage counsellor”.
Diana DID blame Charles for ski tragedy
IN episode nine the Queen and Prince Philip learn that Prince Charles has been involved in an avalanche on a skiing holiday with Diana and friends.
They fear the worst when a man’s body is found in the snow above Klosters in Switzerland.
Charles really did escape death in the avalanche on March 10, 1988, which killed his close friend Major Hugh Lindsay, 34, former equerry to the Queen.
His friend Patti Palmer-Tomkinson broke both legs in the accident.
Diana – Emma Corrin in The Crown, was not involved, as she and Sarah, Duchess of York, had spent the afternoon at the chalet.
Although an inquiry cleared Charles of personal fault, Diana did blame him for the accident, for taking Lindsay off-piste. She refused ever to return to Klosters but Charles did go back, much to her annoyance.
In the TV drama, the ski tragedy makes Charles decide to end his marriage to be with Camilla.
But the truth is he did not decide to separate until four years later, although their marriage had clearly collapsed by the time of the accident.
Diana DID try to kill herself while pregnant
EPISODE four reveals Diana was desperately unhappy while expecting William.
Charles moans about his pregnant wife locking herself in her room, watching endless hours of TV.
Things got so bad that in January 1982, five months before William’s birth, Diana claims to have thrown herself down the stairs at Sandringham in Norfolk.
It was one of five suicide attempts over the years, which were, friends said, a desperate appeal for help from a young woman who was lonely and unhappy.
Ten years later she told Andrew Morton: “I’d told Charles I felt so desperate and I was crying my eyes out. He said I was crying wolf. ‘I’m not going to listen. You’re always doing this to me. I’m going riding now’.”
When Prince William was one year old, Diana says she overheard Charles telling Camilla: “I will always love you.”
In September, 1984, Prince Harry was born – the moment Diana says the marriage was effectively over.
She said Charles had been desperate for a girl, so she kept quiet when she found out from a scan that she was carrying a boy.
In the TV series the young princes are played by Lucas Barber Grant, and Arran Tinker with Emma Corrin as Di.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
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