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6 of the biggest royal scandals skipped in The Crown season 4

by Jennifer McShane
12th Dec 2020

Season 4 of The Crown covered a lot of ground over its 10 episodes. However, since its time period was from 1979-1991, it had to pack a lot in so inevitably, some royal events were left out. Here we look at the things we didn’t see dramatised on the Netflix series

Princess Anne’s marriage troubles

The Crown hints at her marriage troubles but they leave out the details that husband Mark Phillips had a child with an art teacher. In 1991, art teacher Heather Tonkin revealed that Mark was the father of Felicity, who had been born five years previously – placing it well within the time frame of season four. He had been paying her £6,000 a year, and a DNA test that year proved he was the father. Anne and Mark divorced in 1992.

…And her leaked love letters

During her unhappy marriage, Anne was having an affair with Timothy Laurence, a Navy officer and the Queen’s equerry. He wrote her some love letters and in 1989,  they were stolen from a briefcase and given to The Sun who deemed them “too steamy” to publish and handed them over to the police. Scotland Yard launched an investigation which took four months and involved taking 500 fingerprints. The culprit was never found. Anne and Timothy got married late in 1992.

Diana and Camilla’s confrontation 

That awkward lunch date between Charles’ bride and his not-so-secret lover Camilla, the future Duchess of Cornwall, wasn’t the only time the two women engaged in a conversation about the triangle. Diana revealing to biographer Andrew Morton that she finally decided to confront her husband’s girlfriend about it directly when they both attended a birthday party in 1989.

“I was terrified of her. I said, ‘I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that,'” Diana recalled in The Diana Tapes. “She said to me: ‘You’ve got everything you ever wanted. All the men in the world fall in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?'” Diana said. “So I said, ‘I want my husband.’ And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way…and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot.’

Diana’s post-natal depression

Early on, there is warning as the series depicts Diana’s ongoing struggle with bulimia as she tries to adjust to a new life in the public eye with next to no support from the royal family. In her BBC1 Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995, Diana also confirmed press reports about her battle with postpartum depression after Prince William’s 1982 arrival.

“When no one listens to you, or you feel no one’s listening to you, all sorts of things start to happen,” she said. “I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn’t cope with the pressures.”

 The assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher

The Crown season four shows the IRA’s assassination of Lord Mountbatten – but in real life, the group also came close to assassinating Thatcher in 1984. With the Conservative government in Brighton for the annual party conference, the IRA planted and took responsibility for a bomb in the Grand Brighton Hotel in a bid to kill Thatcher. It went off just before 3am, while Thatcher was still working in her hotel room. The bomb damaged the bathroom of her suite, she escaped injury but five people died and 31 were injured.

The attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne 

A lot of Princess Anne’s drama was left out, including a kidnapping attempt.  The attack happened just four months after Anne’s wedding to her first husband in 1974, Captain Mark Phillips, and saw the Princess come face-to-face with armed loner Ian Ball as she was returning to Buckingham Palace by car. “There was an exchange of shots,” she said, via her own Scotland Yard detective and the gunman.  “He opened the door, and we had a sort of ‘discussion’ about where or where not we were going to go,” Anne, who was just 23, adding that she told Ball “it be much better if he just went away and we’d all forget about it.”

“I said I don’t think I wanted to go,” she continued. “I was scrupulously polite because I thought it was silly to be too rude at that stage.”

By the end of the attack, Ball had shot two policemen and Anne’s chauffeur, Alex Callender. “The whole thing rather collapsed in a sort of a heap,” Anne continued. “But I could reach the door handle from behind my head and I opened the door and literally pulled my feet over my head and did a sort of backward somersault onto the road.”

Read more: The Crown: ‘It was extraordinary to dress all these iconic women’

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