We're Kind of Bummed The Crown Didn't Handle These Real-Life Events in Season 3

The Crown season three decided not to cover Prince Anne's attempted kidnapping and first marriage, Prince Charles' girlfriends and more

By Tierney Bricker Nov 21, 2019 5:30 PMTags
Watch: "The Crown" Season 4 Will Tell the Story of Princess Diana

Justice for Princess Anne!

No, that's not what we expected our battle cry to be when we finished binge-watching The Crown's highly anticipated third season, which featured a stacked roster of new actors—including Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham Carter—taking over the roles of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip and Princess Margaret in Netflix's hit royal drama, but here we are, rallying behind the Queen's only daughter. 

Covering the Queen's rule from 1964-1976, series creator Peter Morgan had to cram over a decade worth of political intrigue, personal life strife and headline-making scandals into just 10 episodes, no easy task. While we understand not every single event that happened in that time period could be covered, we were a bit disappointed to see several real-life occurrences not make it into the show, especially ones involving Princess Anne and Prince Charles, with Erin Doherty and Josh O'Connor both delivering breakout performances as Queen Elizabeth's children. 

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While she certainly had her time to shine in the third season, the biggest victim of the limited episodes was Princess Anne. 

Sure, we saw her affair with Andrew Parker Bowles covered (We'll get to that messy love square in a bit), but the drama failed to even mention her first husband, equestrian Mark Phillips.

Des Willie / Netflix

In 1973, Princess Anne wed Phillips in a televised ceremony, the second-ever royal wedding to be broadcast, with a reported 500 million viewers tuning in to watch the nuptials. It's surprising to think of The Crown choosing to completely gloss over the lavish event, as well as Anne's entire relationship with Phillip.

Anne met Phillips, then a lieutenant in the British Army, during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico and they bonded instantly, traveling to events together all over England. After their engagement was officially announced, marking Anne the first of the Queen's children to get married, Anne's parents were said to be "delighted."

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Fans can expect to see Phillips enter the story in season four, with actor Geoffrey Breton playing the role of Anne's husband, whom she divorced in 1992. 

In its finale, The Crown began in 1973, condensing for years' worth of storyline into just one episode, which ended with the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. (Though the majority of the episode focused on the breakdown of Princess Margaret's marriage and the headline-making PDA she indulged in with a man 17 years her junior, Roddy Llewelyn.)

That means the show incredibly and surprisingly skipped over one of the Royal Family's biggest scandals from the decade: the attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne in 1974. 

On March 20, the only daughter of the Queen on her way to Buckingham Palace with Phillips after a film screening when their maroon Rolls Royce was waylaid on the Pall Mall by a white Ford Escort. What happened next was straight out of an action movie. 

After Ian Ball, a 26-year-old unemployed laborer from north London, shot her bodyguard James Beaton in the shoulder, he demanded Anne to get out of the car at gunpoint. Her epic response? "Bloody likely."

Ball would go on to shoot chauffeur Alexander Callendar in the chest and shot Beaton in the hand again as he tried to shield the couple, and Beaton, who managed to get back into the car to shield the royal couple. When Ball attempted to grab Anne out of the car by the arm, her husband held onto her waist, later saying, "I was frightened, I won't mind admitting it."

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After Ball shot a police officer and a Daily Mail journalist, he was punched by a passerby who happened to be a former boxer, with Anne using that moment to open the opposite door and do almost a backward somersault out of the car, with Ball eventually running off before he was ultimately tackled and apprehended in St. James' Park. 

The Marxist-Leninist Activist Revolutionary Movement sent a letter to authorities initially taking credit for Ball's brazen actions, but Scotland Yard determined the kidnapping attempt was the act of one mentally ill individual.


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Anne later addressed the attempted kidnapping in an interview with Michael Parkinson in the '80s, making jokes about her encounter with Ball before rationalizing the experience.

"I mean, public figures have always been in danger to some degree..." she said, adding that "perhaps your greatest danger is still the lone nut case who has just got enough to put it together. But it would be fair to say that if anybody was seriously intent on wiping one out, it would be very easy to do."

And the other most glaring omission of Princess Anne's remarkable run in the '70s was her time competing in the 1976 Olympics, representing Great Britain as an equestrian. Anne was the first member of the royal family to ever compete at the historic competition, though she didn't medal. 

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But Anne wasn't the only child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip's to have some of their personal life glossed over in The Crown's third season. 

Sure, we saw how Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla's complicated love story began, with Charles meeting Camilla (then Camilla Shand, played by Emerald Fennell) at a polo match, quickly learning that she was involved with Andrew Parker Bowles, who was involved with his sister. (And you thought Riverdale's couplings were dramatic.)

Camilla, of course, was the first great love of Charles' life, but The Crown's depiction of the future king as a lovesick royal isn't exactly accurate, as Charles had quite the robust dating life when he was young. 


Charles was advised by great-uncle Lord Mountbatten to play the field and have fun, saying, "In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down, but for a wife he should choose a suitable, attractive, and sweet-charactered girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for...It is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage."

Charles' first girlfriend was Lucia Santa Cruz, the daughter of the Chilean ambassador, whom he dated for two years, and president Richard Nixon reportedly attempted to set Charles up with his daughter Trixie Nixon when the young royal was visiting the United States in 1970. The prince was not interested.

Charles also had rumored romances with Lady Jane Wellesley, actress and Arabian horse breeder Susan George, and of course, Princess Diana's older sister Lady Sarah Spencer, though they reportedly dated briefly in 1977, the same year the finale takes place. 

In 1974, Mountbatten began to set in place a marriage between Charles and Amanda Knatchbull, his 17-year-old granddaughter that was considered a perfect candidate to be his wife. According to Prince Charles' biographer, the then 25-year-old prince wrote to Amanda's mother (who was his godmother) Patricia Brabourne about a potential match, though she "was sympathetic, but counselled against raising the issue with her daughter," per Jonathan Dimbleby.


Finally, while fans relished seeing Helena Bonham Carter in action as life of the party Princess Margaret, especially during her infamous trip to the White House in episode two, they might be bummed to discover a celebrity-filled dinner party they attended during their private visit to Los Angeles was left out. 

Thrown by socialite Sherman Douglas, the party was reportedly attended by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Grace Kelly, Mia Farrow, Fred Astaire, Natalie Wood, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck and Judy Garland. And Margret apparently didn't make fast friends with some of the actresses, reportedly telling Grace Kelly she "didn't look like a movie star." Judy Garland also wasn't a fan after Margaret inquired if the singer would be performing that night. 

Ah, would could've (and should've) been. 

As for her night of debacherous fun with then President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird? That 1965 event, in addition to the cost of Margaret's trip to the states (£30,000, equivalent to £350,000 in 2003), prevented the royal from visiting the United States for the rest of the decade, not returning until the early 1970s.

The Crown season three is currently streaming on Netflix, with season four set to debut in 2020.