The Biggest Royal Scandals and Events The Crown Skipped in Season 4

An assassination attempt, the biggest royal wedding and Princess Anne's leaked love letters of all time were nowhere to be found in the Netflix drama's most recent season.

By Tierney Bricker Feb 27, 2021 8:00 AMTags
Watch: "The Crown": Emma Corrin & Josh O'Connor Talk Role Challenges

Wait, where was the wedding?!

The Crown season four covers the years 1979 through 1991, which means the Netflix drama packed over a decade worth of scandals, storylines and sad Prince Charles moments (played by Josh Connor) into just ten episodes. So while major events such as, you know, the long-awaited arrival of Princess Diana (Emma Corin), the strained relationship between Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman), introduction of prime minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and the failing health of Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) are covered, more than a few real-life events were left out of creator Peter Morgan's depiction.

Did you know an assassination attempt was made on the prime minister that resulted in five deaths? Or that scandalous love letters penned by Princess Anne (Erin Doherty) were stolen and leaked to the press?  

The most startling omission, however, was Charles and Diana's royal wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral. You know, that one hundreds of millions of fans rose at dawn to watch? But there is an explanation for why one of the biggest events of the 1980s was considered skippable by The Crown's creative team. We'll get to that.

2021 Golden Globes Nominations: All the Surprises

So which real-life scandals were left off-screen in season four? In honor of the Netflix hit sweeping the 2021 Golden Globe nominations, let's take a look...

The Royal Wedding

While 750 million viewers from 74 countries reportedly tuned into Prince Charles and Lady Diana's 1981 nuptials, The Crown chose not to show the actual wedding (though we did get a brief glimpse at the Princess of Wales' iconic gown). Because, basically, they felt it already been done to perfection.

"We never re-create things just for the sake of re-creating them," Emma Corin explained The Hollywood Reporter. "I think if we do re-create a scene—like the engagement scene, for instance, when they do the announcement—it has to be because it's linked to something that the characters are going through. It has to be part of the story. It has to further the plot, basically."

She added, "The wedding scene, you can YouTube it and you could be watching it in 10 seconds, so I don't think there'd be any point in us re-creating it."

Diana and Camilla's Secret Confrontation

That awkward AF 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 third member of their triangle, with Diana revealing to Morton that she finally decided to confront her husband's girlfriend 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.

Camilla's response?

"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 remembered. "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.'"

Princess Diana’s Self-Harm

During her taped interviews with her biographer Andrew Morton, Diana revealed she attempted to injure herself just weeks after her wedding while the newlyweds were at Balmoral, the royals' beloved Scottish estate featured in episode two.

"I was in a very bad way…I was so depressed, and I was trying to cut my wrists with razor blades," she detailed in The Diana Tapes. "It rained and rained and rained. I came down early [to London] to seek treatment, not because I hated Balmoral, but because I was in such a bad way."

And 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 did inflict upon myself. I didn't like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn't cope with the pressures."

When asked what she did, Diana answered, "Well, I just hurt my arms and my legs; and I work in environments now where I see women doing similar things and I'm able to understand completely where they're coming from."

The Assassination Attempt on Margaret Thatcher

Though the murder of Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) by the Irish Republican Army was covered in the first episode, The Crown chose not to address the IRA's bombing of the Brighton Hotel in 1984.

The paramilitary organization planted a long-delay time bomb with the intention of killing the Prime Minister, who was staying at the hotel along with several members of her cabinet. Thatcher was able to escape the blast, but five people within the conservative party died and 31 were injured.

The day after the attack, the IRA claimed responsibility and stated their intention to make another attempt on Thatcher's life.

"Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once," the group said in a statement. "You will have to be lucky always. Give Ireland peace and there will be no more war."

The Avalanche Investigation

Episode nine, aptly titled "Avalanche," covered Prince Charles' near-death when he was swept away in a snowslide while skiing in Switzerland in 1988. Charles' friend Hugh Lindsay, a former aide to the Queen, died, leaving behind a pregnant wife.

In the episode, an aide mentioned to the Queen and Prince Phillip that conditions were okay when the group, led by Charles, began their day on the slopes.

But in real-life, an investigation into the responsibility for Lindsay's death was launched, with the Los Angeles Times reporting on the findings in June 1988.

Though Charles was not personally held responsible, the report determined the royal skiing group as a whole bore some responsibility. "By skiing outside official marked runs, the group had assumed a collective risk that excluded any one member from personal responsibility for the accident," the investigators determined.

They also noted there was a regional avalanche warning in effect that day.

Prince Harry's Birth

The Crown largely skipped over 1984, the year Diana gave birth to the couple's second child. But Diana spoke about that time in their marriage in-depth during her taped interviews with Morton. 

According to Diana, Charles "desperately" wanted a girl after welcoming his heir, Prince William, in 1982. And after Harry was born, she claimed he said, "Oh god, it's a boy…and he's even got red hair."

The Princess of Wales also detailed the state of their marriage at that time, saying, "Charles and I were very, very close to each other the six weeks before Harry was born, the closest we've ever, ever been and ever will be. Then, suddenly, as Harry was born, it just went bang, our marriage. The whole thing went down the drain."

Princess Anne's Greatest Rebellion

Just like in season three—when her attempted kidnapping went unacknowledged—the biggest victim of the limited episodes was Princess Anne (Erin Doherty). 

Though the troubles in her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips were briefly touched upon, one of Anne's biggest scandals was overlooked entirely. 

Breaking with tradition, Anne—the first woman in the family to give birth in a hospital instead of at home—chose to not give son Peter and daughter Zara royal titles, figuring they'd have a better shot at normality if they were just Peter and Zara, no prince or princess, no HRH (or HRR, like their mother).

"I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles," Anne explained of the choice in brief to Vanity Fair. "So I think that was probably the right thing to do."

Another Anne scandal went down in 1989, when amorous letters the queen's daughter exchanged with Royal Navy Commanding Office Timothy Laurence were stolen and leaked to the press, leading the palace to release an unprecedented statement. 

"We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation."

Anne and Mark would announce their separation shortly after the scandal, going on to divorce in 1992.

The Crown is streaming on Netflix.

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