Finished watching The Crown yet? We need to debrief.
I finally finished binge-watching the show last weekend. And if ten solid hours spent glued to my laptop screen wasn’t enough, I then spent the following three waking hours going on a Wikipedia deep dive to find out everything I could about the real Royals behind the characters.
I emerged with even more questions (and an enviable amount of royal trivia that would make me a VERY valuable trivia team member. Just saying.)
Listen: Rosie Waterland can’t get enough of The Crown on the latest episode of The Binge. Post continues after audio.
Here are the eight burning questions we have after watching the crown. (Warning – spoilers are ahead.)
1.What really happened with Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend?
After watching the forbidden relationship between the pair come tantalisingly close to a happy ending, the series saw Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend end in heartbreak.
After years of waiting and appealing to marry her divorced lover, Margaret was told she could – but only if she gave up her rights and income as a royal and leave England. She chose not to, and announced their split in 1955, with Townsend returning to his ‘exile’ in Brussels. But what happened next?
It doesn’t get much better unfortunately.
She married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in May 1960, reportedly accepting his proposal a day after learning that Townsend was to marry Belgian Marie-Luce Jamagne – a woman half his age and who many said bore a “striking resemblance” to Princess Margaret.
Still heartbroken. Image: Netflix
Margaret and her husband divorced in 1978 .
Townsend only commented on his affair with Margaret decades later in his autobiography Time and Chance.
"She could have married me only if she had been prepared to give up everything — her position, her prestige, her privy purse. I simply hadn’t the weight, I knew it, to counterbalance all she would have lost," he wrote.
2. Did Winston Churchill really burn his portrait?
The 80th birthday portrait by Graham Sutherland commissioned by the government did get burned - but not by Churchill.
Like in the series, Churchill was openly critical of the portrait calling it "a remarkable example of modern art" which was widely understood to be far from a compliment.
He took it back to his home, but it was never displayed - and requests to borrow the painting to feature in exhibitions of Sutherland's work were repeatedly refused.
In 1978, it was reported that less than a year after its arrival Lady Churchill ordered her private secretary to remove it from the cellar in the middle of the night and burn it.
3. Did the 'great Smog' really happen?
It did, and caused thousands of fatalities too.
The Great Smog of 1952 occurred when a bout of cold weather combined with windless conditions trapped air pollution from the coal factories, leaving a thick layer of smog over London.
While it only last five days, the repercussions were huge - people were unable to see metres in front of them which meant there was a surge in crime, plenty of traffic accidents and hospitals overwhelmed by people suffering respiratory issues.
While government medical reports estimate that it caused the premature deaths of 4,000 and made 100,000 more ill, retrospective assessments suggest the total number of fatalities was closer to 12,000. (Some more Royals for you. Post continues after gallery.)
4. Did Winston Churchill's secretary Venetia Scott really get hit by a bus and cause him to finally do something about the smog?
Unfortunately there's no evidence to verify this storyline and it appears to be an "inspired by true events" plot line to drive the episode and add emotion- and it works.
The Clean Air Act - a significant environmental/political milestone - wasn't actually enacted until 1956 and by all accounts, no-one actually realised what a tragedy the incident had been until much later.
"There was no sense of drama or emergency. It was only when the registrar general published the mortality figures three weeks later that everybody realized that there had, in fact, been a major disaster," a doctor who had just started work at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, told the New York Times in 2003.
5. Did the Royal family really oppose Elizabeth marrying Phillip?
While it's Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend who are deemed an unsuitable match, there was also opposition from the family to Elizabeth and Phillip's 1947 marriage.
A "penniless" Greek prince after the Greek monarchy was overthrown by a military revolt in 1922 just 18 months after he was born, he spend most of his childhood living with various relatives around Europe.
Many courtiers considered him an inappropriate match, claiming he was arrogant, came from the wrong background and would be unfaithful. Three of his sisters had also been married to Nazis.
Fortunately for Elizabeth, her love for and insistence that she marry the man she had first met when she was 13 years old prevailed - and the pair have been married for almost 70 years.
6. Was there something Diana-esque about the public fascination with Princess Margaret?
Yes - and intentionally so.
The one scene that directly references this is when Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend are driving to a party when they are chased by photographers in cars, swerving wildly trying to get a picture of the pair.
"We talked a lot about that [Margaret as a pre-figure of Diana]. He [Director Peter Morgan] sort of said she foreshadowed it," actress Vanessa Kirby told Radio Times.
"And actually, she had more paparazzi following her than Diana did, and she was on more front pages than Diana was. People don't remember it because it was less invasive in terms of the public eye, but she was as famous as Elizabeth Taylor, if not more so – and in fact they were friends."
7. Was there really such animosity for Wallis and Edward?
After Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, the family fell out.
His sister in law, the Queen Mother, was convinced that her husband - his brother's - life was significantly shortened by stress caused by becoming King in his place, although a clash of personalities was apparently present from their first meeting.
While Edward and Wallis, who became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, were not invited to the Queen's coronation and resided in Paris as per the conditions of his abdication, the Duchess of Windsor did reportedly stay at Buckingham Palace in 1972 after Edward's death.
The Queen Mother also attended her funeral in 1987 and it was later discovered she had been sending her Christmas cards with a "cordial personal message" since her brother in law's death.
Watch: The Binge's Rosie Waterland and Laura Brodnik explain the Bechdel Test. Post continues after video.
8. Will I be getting more?
Perhaps the most important question - and the answer is yes.
Netflix have commissioned two seasons and have reportedly planned out six, with each ten-episode season covering a decade of Elizabeth's reign.
Some reports suggest that roles will be recast every two seasons as the characters age.
We can't wait.
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