Queen’s childhood friend brands The Crown ‘unfair’ to Royal Family


She’s not a fan (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

A childhood friend of the late Queen Elizabeth II has said The Crown makes her ‘so angry’ as she feels it’s ‘unfair’ to members of the Royal Family.

Lady Glenconner, who was a maid of honour at the Queen’s Coronation and a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret for many decades, criticised the Netflix drama in an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

She described the show as a ‘complete fantasy’ and feels that, despite the streamer’s warning that it is a ‘fictionalised drama’, she feels people will still believe it is true.

‘I don’t watch The Crown now as it just makes me so angry and it’s so unfair on members of the Royal Family,’ she said.

Lady Glenconner referred to an episode in series 2 which implied that the Duke of Edinburgh was blamed for his sister Cecilie taking the flight that resulted in her death in a plane crash in 1937.

She said this was ‘completely untrue’, adding: ‘I think to say something like that about people is terribly hurting. I mean, nobody wants to have their relations trashed like that.’

HM Queen Elizabeth II with her maids of honour, Green Drawing Room, Buckingham palace, 2nd June 1953. In selecting six Maids of Honour instead of pages to bear her velvet train throughout the Coronation ceremony, the Queen followed the precedent of Queen Victoria. Lady Moyra Hamilton (now Lady Moyra Campbell), Lady Anne Coke (now The Rt Hon The Lady Glenconner), Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill (now Lady Rosemary Muir), Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (now Lady Mary Russell), Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (now The Rt Hon The Baroness Willoughby de Eresby), Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (now The Rt Hon The Lady Rayne). (Colorised black and white print). Artist Cecil Beaton. (Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

Lady Glenconner was the Queen’s maid of honour at her Coronation (Picture: The Print Collector/Getty Images)

The former lady-in-waiting also branded scenes involving the late Queen’s sister as ‘ridiculous’.

In the third series, Princess Margaret was shown trading dirty limericks with US president Lyndon B Johnson in 1965, to which Lady Glenconner said: ‘Of course, she never did that’.

She recalled how Helen Bonham Carter also came to visit her and chatted with her for two hours to learn details about Princess Margaret ahead of portraying her in series 3 and 4.

After the series aired, she saw Bonham Carter again and the actress asked her: ‘What did you think?’, to which Lady Glenconner told her: ‘Well, rather disappointing.’

Pictured above, Lady Anne Coke stands with Colin Tennant at Holkham before their wedding day (Picture: PA Archive/PA Images)

She recalled that Bonham Carter replied: ‘I know but the thing is, I’m an actress and I have to do what’s written for me.’

Lady Glenconner is far from the first person to share their distaste for The Crown.

Dame Judi Dench and former prime minister Sir John Major also recently criticised reported storylines in the new series, which launched earlier this month.

Last month, Dame Judi, 87, argued The Crown had begun to verge on ‘crude sensationalism’ and Sir John, 79, is said to have described some of the forthcoming scenes as ‘malicious nonsense’.

Dominic West plays King Charles in the fifth season (Picture: Netflix)
Elizabeth Debicki takes over from Emma Corrin as Princess Diana (Picture: Netflix)

A spokesman for Sir Tony Blair described another scene, in which King Charles is reportedly shown trying to recruit the politician as an ally to protect his future, as ‘complete and utter rubbish’.

Netflix added a disclaimer to the description of the trailer for series 5, but stopped short of adding the message to the trailer itself.

Asked about the disclaimer label being used by Netflix, Lady Glenconner said: ‘The trouble is that people, especially in America, believe it is completely and there’s nothing much one can do about it really.’

For the latest series of the show, Imelda Staunton has taken over from Olivia Colman as the Queen, with Dominic West, playing the then Prince of Wales, now the King.

Elizabeth Debicki stars as Diana, being handed the baton by Emma Corrin and Lesley Manville plays Princess Margaret.

The Crown is streaming now on Netflix.

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