The Crown season 4 portrays Charles and Diana’s marriage and Margaret Thatcher‘s decade as Prime Minister. Here are the real stories behind the drama. The Crown season 4 dramatizes the true story of the Royal House of Windsor and focuses on the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as well as Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister.
As impeccably researched, written, acted, and produced The Crown may be, the award-winning Netflix series is still a work of historical fiction, and the real stories differ somewhat from what’s on-screen.
While The Crown season 4 continues to center on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman), the major characters from the previous seasons, Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter), and Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) step back and cede center stage to Charles, Diana, and Margaret Thatcher.
The Queen and the Iron Lady’s personality clashes take place from their private audiences at Buckingham Palace to the Windsors’ country castle, Balmoral.
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Meanwhile, the scandalous marriage between the Prince and Princess of Wales is something fans have been waiting for years to see, and The Crown doesn’t flinch as it delves into the sordid issues between them, which also involves Charles’ genuine paramour, Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell).
The Crown season 4 finale, “War”, begins in 1988 when Diana went on a highly-publicized solo trip to New York, where she met with children hospitalized with AIDS.
It used this as a device to further enrage Charles because of how Diana’s popularity “hurt Camilla”, but in real life, Buckingham Palace was also angered at the Princess of Wales for being so public with “controversial charities” like victims of AIDS.
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It culminates at the Windsors’ 1990 Christmas at Sandringham, which dramatizes a fictional conversation between Prince Philip and Diana that brings her 1980 Balmoral Test 180 degrees.
In real life, Philip wrote many letters to Diana and encouraged her to make the marriage work, and eventually lost his patience with them.
Philip’s speech reinforces The Crown‘s central theme that everyone is a supporting player to “the only one that matters”, the Queen, which Diana doesn’t understand as she regards herself as the center of her universe.
Since season 4 ends in 1990, it saves the eventual separation between Charles and Diana, and her tragic death in 1997, to season 5 and its new incoming cast.