Mahjong Gold 2: Pirate Island Mahjong. To start with, we should say that creating an album is very easy (the program will lead you through all the steps) and the whole process will take you half an hour at the most. Wedding album maker gold with serial key.
Is The Crown true to life? A royal expert’s analysis of season 4, ep.1-5 An episode-by-episode guide by the royal historian Hugo Vickers, taken from his book The Crown Dissected. Copied from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-the-crown-true-to-life-season-4-episodes-hwxzkdsm3#
Episodes 6-10 https://www.reddit.com/TheCrownNetflix/comments/jvymsf/is_the_crown_true_to_life_a_royal_experts/
This season covers the period from May 1979, when Margaret Thatcher is elected Britain’s first female Prime Minister until the Christmas of 1990, shortly after she has been drummed out of office. In writing these chapters, I take on board the statement made in pre-publicity by Peter Morgan: ‘We do our very, very best to get it right, but sometimes I have to conflate [incidents] . . . You sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth
[my italics].’ I appreciate that this is television, and that it is not a documentary, but it is about real people, and sometimes about real situations. As before, I will report factual errors, some trivial, some more serious. I noticed that the timeline was considerably awry in this season, and that by making one incident follow quick on the heels of another, the truth was unfairly ‘conflated’ for dramatic effect. I am sorry to say that truth is frequently forsaken.
Fundamentally this season is about the relationship between the Queen and Mrs Thatcher, and between the Prince of Wales and Diana. This creates a new problem for anyone watching it, as in both these relationships, there are numerous contradictions, there has been much side-taking and it is possible to slant things in a variety of different ways. Nevertheless, even with that taken into consideration, there are truths and untruths, and these I intend to explain.
I found that Season 4 was more subtle and cunningly divisive than in the earlier episodes. It occurred to me when I completed my first viewing that pretty much every character is dislikeable. The Queen is glum and schoolmistressly, the Queen Mother is given some truly horrible lines, Princess Margaret is downright rude, Mrs Thatcher buttoned up, and so on. Diana is well played by Emma Corrin (who at times even turns into her) and she seems to be the heroine of this series, largely portrayed as the victim of a heartless family. Episode 1 Gold Stick
Why not start as you mean to go on – with a massive howler? It is the Trooping of the Colour on Saturday 16 June 1979 – it has to be as we see Lord Mountbatten riding as Colonel of Life Guards – Gold Stick – for the last time. But the Queen is in the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of Grenadier Guards with the riband of the Garter, whereas it was the colour of the Scots Guards being trooped that year, and on that day she wore the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of Scots Guards (a thistle, not a grenade on the collar) and the dark green riband and star of the Order of the Thistle – and no plume in her cap as it is the central of the five regiments of guards. Prince Philip should also have worn a green Thistle riband – not a blue Garter one, as he did in June 1979. The continuity department has slipped up over Charles Dance. He rides to the parade wearing a breastplate – but appears on the balcony for the flypast without it. He would not have had time to change.
To be fair, they get most medals and Orders right during this series, including Orders of Australia when appropriate, which proves they can do it if they try.
The themes in this episode are Mrs Thatcher becoming Britain’s first female Prime Minister, the assassination of Lord Mountbatten by the IRA, the first meeting of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, with hints that all is not well in the marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.
Gillian Anderson plays Margaret Thatcher with a particular voice, which the real Mrs Thatcher sometimes used – as though she is addressing her interlocutor in a speech, rather than conversing naturally. I got the impression that we were not being encouraged to like Mrs Thatcher. She is played more confidently here than the nervously respectful person she was in relation to her sovereign. Charles Moore, her official biographer wrote: ‘Mrs Thatcher was anxious about meeting the Queen in the way most ordinary citizens would be, worrying about what to wear, when to curtsey and how to avoid being late. She needed frequent reassurance.’
In she comes to Buckingham Palace (always through the middle ceremonial gates rather than the right-hand ones) for her first audience. It was interesting to find the Prince Philip character referring to her disparagingly as a chemist, since in real life he rather admires scientists. (I would suggest they were higher in his esteem than most professions.) The Queen would never have listed her choices for the cabinet, even for fun.
The Royal Family arrive en masse at Balmoral. So it is August 1979. Princess Anne’s marriage is in trouble. In this series, her accents are immensely clipped. The etiquette adviser has also muddled the cast over the way members of the Royal Family approach the Queen. The Royal Family have well established ways in which they greet each other. One such is kissing a hand, a chivalrous gesture, usually instigated by a man. Men in royal families greet married female relations that way and also elderly spinster aunts, etc. In real life, Prince Charles kisses the Queen on both cheeks. He then kisses her hand, rather than giving a Coburg bow (a quick neck bow), which he and other cast members do in this series – not hard to get right. This is even done in private. This mistake happens over and over in this series.
It is not often that we see members of the Royal Family, but when Prince Philip met the Queen Mother outside St Paul’s Cathedral for the memorial service for President Eisenhower in 1969, he arrived last as he was representing the Queen. He came up, they shook hands as he bowed and kissed her hand simultaneously, and then she swept him up, as it were, and he kissed her on both cheeks.
As to the assassination of Lord Mountbatten at Mullaghmore, this portrayal will not appeal to the families of those who died and who have responded so nobly since – in the interests of advancing peace in Northern Ireland.
Mountbatten did not engineer the marriage of Andrew Parker Bowles to Camilla Shand. They needed no help from him. In this episode, he writes Prince Charles a note, which will be delivered posthumously – no such note was written.
Peter Morgan deployed a symbolic stag in his film, The Queen, which some found a fantasy of symbolic genius but others deemed tiresome. Here, as the IRA killers take position, we get cutaways to blood sports at Balmoral, shooting and stalking – and the Prince Charles figure viciously killing a salmon he has caught in Iceland. Presumably we are meant to muse on the bloodthirsty Royal Family slaughtering living creatures left and right, while one of their own (who throws a lobster back into the sea to breed for the future) is himself blown to a thousand pieces.
We are shown scenes of members of the family and others receiving the news of Mountbatten’s death. Mrs Thatcher is brought out of a cabinet meeting at Downing Street. It was a surprise to find the cabinet sitting on a Bank Holiday Monday in August, in the middle of the parliamentary summer recess.
The death of Mountbatten prompts a scene in which the Prince Philip character berates Prince Charles for potentially wallowing in mawkish grief. According to this scene, Prince Philip was resentful of Mountbatten transferring his affection and interest from him to Prince Charles. The Crown seldom misses a chance to besmirch the character and motives of Prince Philip. It is not for me to say what was in the head of the real Prince Philip, but my understanding is that he thought Mountbatten’s influence on Prince Charles to be somewhat unhelpful, and I remember that earlier in that very summer (1979) the real-life Prince Philip had expressed amused irritation at the way Mountbatten continually interfered in everything (in a conversation with Lady Alexandra Metcalfe). Which is not to suggest for one minute that the real Prince Philip was not greatly affected by the assassination.
Time is ‘out of joint’ (Hamlet) in respect of the list of Prince Charles’s girlfriends, this in 1979, with Mountbatten at the table. They name Anna Wallace, who did not appear on the scene until 1980 (so not 1979), and dropped out in the summer of that year; there is mention of Sarah Spencer (1977) and repetition of the nonsense that the family squashed the chance Prince Charles had to marry Camilla Shand, who in reality was always going to marry Andrew Parker Bowles and had done so in 1973.
Charles and Diana first met properly at Althorp in 1977 (here implied to be 1979), though the Royal Family had known the Spencers forever. In recent times, Cynthia, Countess Spencer had been a Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen Mother between 1937 and 1972. Viscount Althorp (later Earl Spencer from 1975), father of Sarah and Diana Spencer, had been the equerry on the Commonwealth tour of 1953-54, and the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, had attended his wedding to Hon. Frances Roche in Westminster Abbey in 1954. So the fabricated scene in which Prince Charles spots Lady Diana Spencer, trying to hide as a tree, does not entirely wash because even if he did not recognise her, he would have known who she was. Until they moved to Althorp, the family had lived at Park House, Sandringham, a fairly substantial residence very close to Sandringham House, and to St Mary Magdalene Church (and not a ‘cottage’ as described by the Prince Philip character in the next episode).
From what has been written, we know that Diana was drawn to the sorrow of Prince Charles, when she observed his grief at the murder of Lord Mountbatten and that she had the chance to tell him that in the summer after the assassination – 1980. On 17 May the same year, Lady Sarah got married. In this episode, Prince Charles rings her to ask her permission to invite Diana out. But no. He did not ask her out. This episode ends with him doing just that. Episode 2 The Balmoral Test.
This episode is based on the entirely false premise that the Royal Family use Balmoral to lay social traps for their guests to see if they pass the test – and no doubt viewers will be amused to see the Thatchers being subjected to this – shown up as socially inadequate, falling into every predictable trap placed in their path. The Lady Diana Spencer figure is also put through this process, but passes with flying colours. It is of course ludicrous to suggest that the Queen and her family would treat guests in this way, and a real-life guest has pointed out: ‘NO WAY would HM and the rest of her family berate Margaret Thatcher or her husband. They in fact bend over backwards to make people feel welcome and at home.’
By and large the episode is based in Scotland, opening with a scene in which a Japanese businessman has bought some shooting from neighbours to Balmoral, and seriously wounds a fourteen-point Imperial stag, which stumbles off camera. As related, Peter Morgan likes the symbolism he finds in stags, the stag reappearing as the plot unfolds.
In London, the Charles figure takes the Diana figure to the opera on a date, overseen by Diana’s maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, here played as a ferocious old harridan by the Scottish actress Georgie Glen. (The real Lady Fermoy was much more surface gentle.) This was set in the summer of 1980 (not 1979 when the Thatchers go to Balmoral). No such occasion took place. It leads to an invitation from Charles to Diana to come up to Balmoral. Meanwhile, Mrs Thatcher tackles her stuffy old cabinet of public-school ministers, all of whom are against her.
So, on with the secret tests. The Thatchers arrive at Balmoral. (This is clearly their first visit, so in reality 8 September 1979, the weekend after Mountbatten’s ceremonial funeral). The servants are superciliously rude to them despite calling the Prime Minister ‘Ma’am (!)’ – I would have thought ‘Madam’. We see Denis offering a tip at the wrong time, Mrs T. insisting on unpacking her own suitcase, having no outdoor shoes, coming down in evening dress to find the Royal Family drinking tea, unchanged, and later being subjected to a ridiculous parlour game designed to further humiliate them. The Queen invites Mrs T. out stalking, criticising her for what she is wearing, and when Mrs T. returns to the castle, the Princess Margaret figure is intensely rude to her and picks her up for saying ‘I beg your pardon’, and condemns her as ‘common’ to her face. But they don’t show the audience – a chat with the Queen in her private sitting room, a feature of the real-life visits.
I wondered when the old business of Queen Victoria’s chair would be thrown in. It is. The actual chair is still in a drawing room at Balmoral, but is a very low, winged armchair. It is true that no one is to sit in it – but it would hardly have been placed at a desk – and Queen Victoria was tiny, so there is no way that Margaret Thatcher would have chosen it when she settled down to work. Had she done so her chin would have been where her elbows should be. (Reasonably recently the real chair has been moved to a place where people are less likely to sit in it.)
The Braemar Games, with men tossing the caber, prompt Denis Thatcher to denounce the Royal Family as living in ‘half-Scottish, half-Germanic cuckooland’. (Having once had a long conversation with the real Sir Denis in 1997, I can attest that that is very far from what he thought about the Royal Family.) And so the Thatchers plead urgent business in London and leave early. They did no such thing.
The film-makers could have consulted Carol Thatcher’s biography of her father, in which he described the form of the Balmoral visit:
There was a house party and some of the people who’d been shooting didn’t come in until later and then there were more drinks – because they’re very generous with drink – and then we went in for dinner. In their language it’s probably very informal but nevertheless you’re on tiptoe. There’s the usual sort of after-dinner conversation over coffee and then the Queen withdraws fairly early . . .
Back in London, Mrs Thatcher sorts out her cabinet and later quotes Charles Mackay (No Enemies) to the Queen. According to Charles Moore’s official biography, she did use that poem in speeches. Peter Morgan is sounder on politics than when dabbling in the minutiae of Royal Family life – witness his play, The Audience, though Charles Moore, writing before this series was released, made the valid point in his biography of her: ‘Far from being, as some docu-dramas and plays have depicted, little speeches in which Mrs Thatcher laid down the law to the Queen, what she said was usually an anodyne recitation of current business.’
Prince Charles arrives in a Rolls-Royce. By now we have Camilla urging him to invite Diana to stay. (So we have jumped a year to the summer of 1980). There is a strong theme throughout the series that Charles only ever wanted Camilla – before and during his marriage. Then Diana arrives as Mrs Thatcher leaves. In reality, Lady Diana Spencer stayed part of that summer with her sister Jane, whose husband, Robert Fellowes, was one of the Queen’s private secretaries, so they occupied a house on the Balmoral estate. She was invited to Balmoral in October 1980, at a time when the Queen was not there.
But in this episode, all the Royal Family are there, as is Diana’s grandmother, Lady Fermoy. The staff call her ‘Ma’am’ (surely ‘M’lady’ before her marriage) and Prince Philip attempts to bond with her, taking her out early one morning (unlikely) to polish off the wounded stag (waiting an inordinately long time before firing but fortunately the stag poses politely). (This is when he calls Park House, Sandringham a cottage.) Prince Charles, perpetually played as a sad wimp by Josh O’Connor, appears jealous of the bonding between his father and the young girl.
Then we get Prince Philip razzing Charles in the hanging room as the stag is skinned and telling him to get on with marrying Diana. This is a long-held myth. Somewhat later there was a letter in which Prince Philip suggested to his eldest son that he should make his mind up one way or another, either go ahead or not compromise Diana by keeping her hanging on. In real life, Prince Charles interpreted this as an edict to marry her. Jonathan Dimbleby addresses this in his authorised 1994 biography. I know a family relation who saw the letter and confirmed that it was in no way an ultimatum.
However, since this episode is all about tests at Balmoral, Diana passes (‘Rave reviews from the whole ghastly politburo,’ Charles tells Camilla), Princess Anne supports the idea of marriage and, back in London, Mrs Thatcher secures a new cabinet (although the famous cabinet reshuffle was 14 September 1981). Prince Charles is left with his main concern – having to surrender Camilla. We go out to the overture of La traviata, the dead stag’s head hung on the wall at Balmoral and we see a slightly smug Diana. Episode 3 Fairytale
This episode begins with Prince Charles looking miserably out of a window, and a happy Diana in her little car. Then we see the Royal Family waiting by their telephones to hear if Prince Charles has proposed to Diana or not. He has proposed. In this episode, he does it in the nursery of Windsor Castle (perhaps to symbolise cradle snatching) before packing her off back to her flatmates in London. She runs the gauntlet of the press (I well remember the daily scenes like that), but after the flatmates have screamed their excitement, they are somehow able to go out on the town to a nightclub like Annabel’s without a newsman in sight. In the next scene, Diana chooses an engagement ring, with the Prince Charles figure complaining that she has hit on the most expensive one.
Clearly the girl needs to be schooled. . . In to see the Queen comes Sir Martin Charteris. The actor, Charles Edwards, must have a good agent, since he plays Charteris all the way through Seasons 3 and 4. The real Sir Martin had retired to become Provost of Eton at the end of 1977, but this one stays on and is still there in episode 10. Nor does Charles Edwards’s character age at all – by episode 10 the real Sir Martin would have been 77. This one appears blessed with the gift of eternal youth. He suggests that Diana move into Buckingham Palace.
It is crazy that the Diana figure would make so many gaffes of ‘protocol’ on entering the Queen’s drawing room, considering she had been brought up in royal circles. This precedes the engagement interview.
Of course we get the embarrassing ‘in love? . . . whatever in love means’ line in the engagement interview. In real life, Lady Diana giggled nervously. In this episode, she looks stony-faced. (It is perhaps worth saying that not one newspaper picked up on that phrase at that time. It has been much repeated and reported since then of course.) Altering the timeline – Morgan allows himself to conflate incidents, remember – Prince Charles hooks it back to Highgrove rather than attending the real-life dinner given by the Queen Mother for the couple that night. And literally the next day – rather than towards the end of March – he heads off to the Antipodes and the US for five weeks.
At the airport he tells Diana that Mrs Parker Bowles will be getting in touch with her. He gives her a peck on the cheek and off he goes. So Camilla prepares to enter the fray.
There follow nauseating scenes when harridan Lady Fermoy trains Diana in the ways of royal protocol – almost a take-off of those reality TV shows where some battered old battleaxe tries to give girls who do not have the benefit of Diana’s aristocratic background lessons in elocution and deportment. She suggests that after marriage ‘certain members of the Royal Family will have to curtsey to you’. For the record, HRHs do not curtsey to each other, only to HMs. She tells her granddaughter about the various pages of the backstairs (plural) etc. when there is only one. The information she dispenses is inaccurate. In real life, Diana needed no such schooling.
More credible are Diana’s dance lessons and lonely skating excursions around Buckingham Palace – the trolleys of letters, the flowers that arrive, her loneliness and her kitchen bingeing and throwing up. No one will answer her internal palace telephone calls. These scenes capture well what we now know to have been the unfolding saga. Throughout this episode, her loneliness is stressed.
Prince Charles has not rung from Australia but Camilla gets in touch. A huge Rolls-Royce takes Diana to lunch. The lunch scene is to establish that Camilla knows the Prince better than Diana. Well, yes. From Diana we have been told that at a certain point Camilla establishes that she does not care for Highgrove and thus she will have that territory for herself.
This heralds the ‘Fred’ and ‘Gladys’ bracelets saga. Jonathan Dimbleby wrote that in fact he called Camilla ‘Girl Friday’. When the Prince returns, he goes straight to Camilla. I appreciate that it is hard to untangle facts and timelines, but it was my understanding – based on Dimbleby’s authorised biography – that he only saw Camilla once after the engagement, and that that was to say goodbye to her. As Dimbleby put it: ‘His feelings for Camilla Parker Bowles had not changed, but they had accepted that their intimacy could no longer be maintained.’
Edward Adeane is played as the ultimate grey suits man – hostile to the Princess and fobbing her off at every turn. In real life, Adeane was a likeable, kind-hearted man, shy and even a bit afraid of women in the repressed way of the confirmed bachelor of his day. He did not relate to Diana, and of course she did not share his interest in fishing or shooting.
I remember how thin Diana looked at the wedding rehearsal in St Paul’s Cathedral. In real life, the Prince and Diana arrived together, but here of course they arrive apart and Diana confronts him about the Gladys bracelet. It is true, however, that Princess Margaret was rather dismissive about the romantic elements in that marriage – ‘Charles loves someone else’ – as it is put here.
As detected before, the film-makers clearly hate the Queen Mother, giving her uncharacteristically savage lines.
In this episode, the Queen chooses a curious example of how things work out in arranged marriages, suggesting that the Duke of Clarence was the love of Queen Mary’s life and that after his (timely) death a few weeks after the engagement (1891-92), she took George V as second best – ‘Prince Charmless’. The truth was, as her biographer, James Pope-Hennessy, described it, Princess Mary’s reaction to the idea of marrying Clarence had ‘all the brutal force of a douche of cold water received full in the face’.
Finally, we see Diana at Buckingham Palace the night before the wedding – in truth she was at Clarence House. Diana looks miserable on her wedding day and Charles utterly desperate. Episode 4 Favourites
This episode highlights the unfortunate disappearance in the desert of the renegade Mark Thatcher, son of the Prime Minister, as he takes part in the 1982 Paris Dakar car rally. It gives the film-makers the chance to point out that Mark was the favourite of Mrs Thatcher’s twins. In real life, Mark’s disappearance turned into a national crisis with a massive rescue operation instigated on his behalf. He turned up, safe and sound, without having had an inkling of the fuss he had caused. Naturally Mrs Thatcher was considerably concerned by the danger of losing him. She breaks down at her audience with the Queen. Fair enough. And we see tensions between the Carol Thatcher figure and her mother (this Carol most unlike the real one).
This prompts an episode in which Prince Philip teases the Queen as to which of her four children is her favourite. He tells her that Princess Anne is his. The Queen then visits each of hers in turn.
First up is Prince Edward, who has been bullied at Gordonstoun, then Princess Anne, who is unhappy in her marriage (true), has had her protection officer removed from her service (Peter Cross sold his story to a tabloid in September 1985, prompting his ex-wife to describe him as ‘a very convincing liar’), but they seriously misunderstand Princess Anne if they think she would complain of her lack of positive press or be resentful of the attention that Diana got by doing nothing more than putting on a particular frock. The real Princess Anne and her parents have the admirable quality of not caring a jot about such things. They do not care about the press; they just get on with the job. My understanding is that the arrival of Diana on the scene liberated Princess Anne to be an executive princess, rather than a clothes horse – in the mind of the media. Like her father, she got on with the job.
Then Prince Andrew arrives by helicopter – no hand kissing of course. There are references to Koo Stark but she does not appear in person. He is played as a more articulate person than we have come to know him from his appearances in interviews over the years.
The Queen then visits Prince Charles at Highgrove. We see him yelling with alarming ferocity through a locked door at Diana, who refuses to come down. She is heavily pregnant with Prince William. Again no hand kissing when he meets the Queen, who emerges from a royal Rolls. The staff are lined up outside the house. Unlikely. He explains Highgrove as his Xanadu and then expounds his problems with Diana, well explored over the years in tabloids and books. (It is well known that she had bouts of unhappiness in late 1981 and in 1982, until the birth of Prince William – and beyond.) He professes he only hunts with Camilla but talks to her whenever he needs to. The Queen advises him to focus more on the well-being of the mother of his future child. Fair enough, but of course there were no such lunches.
Later, the Queen looks at an album, and subsequently tells Philip that their children ‘are lost each in their own desert’. Prince Philip declares that Andrew is her favourite. This episode is designed to stress what a bad mother the Queen has been and that she knows it. It ends with HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes heading to the Falklands War. Episode 5 Fagan
The Crown sometimes employs real-life footage and real newspapers to tell their story. The intruder incident is introduced in this way, and we even see news footage with the real Willie Whitelaw in it. This was, of course, an extraordinarily dramatic occurrence – that a stranger was not only able to get into Buckingham Palace – twice – but right into the Queen’s bedroom. For the record, the second intrusion took place on 9 July 1982.
So I cannot – and do not – take particular issue with this episode. But it is a pity that the Queen is blamed for the second intrusion by telling Martin Charteris not to report the first one, but I suppose they always have to put her in the wrong. The episode is based on the earlier recollections of Michael Fagan himself (well played by Tom Brooke) and since we do not have the Queen’s version, this rests as the accepted truth. On this occasion, the film-makers have followed that version faithfully. The episode also produced the one line I really admired, which made me laugh – when after the intruder had been taken away by two policemen, the Queen coolly asked if she could now have her cup of morning tea.
It now transpires that the film-makers did not consult the real-life Fagan. When traced to Islington by The Daily Telegraph, he said there was no such conversation, that the Queen ran from the room, and that her page came in and took him off for a whisky until the police arrived on the scene.
A few small points – in June 1982, the Queen took part in the Birthday Parade when the colour of the Coldstream Guards was trooped (and for what it is worth, in real life, she got soaked on parade by heavy rain). The costume department gives her the white/green/white plume of the Welsh Guards (!) – it should have been a red plume, but she is still in the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of Grenadier Guards. It would have been so easy to change the badge on the collar.
It was interesting to see buses passing along the Mall, but OK, the Michael Fagan character could hardly have taken a taxi. And continuity got confused about the sentry boxes. Sometimes they are inside the Palace railings as they have been since about 1960, but in one scene here, they are outside the main gates.
What a pity that the film-makers did not show the other dramatic incident of the early 1980s – when, in June 1981, the Queen was riding to the Birthday Parade – a man fired blanks at her. The way she controlled the horse and rode through the entire parade without a blink says more for the real-life Queen’s courage than any other incident in the reign, except perhaps how she handled the intruder.
One final vignette. The Falklands War has been won (victory announced on 14 June 1982). When Mrs Thatcher reports the final victory, she heads straight to the victory parade. It was considered that, in so doing, she usurped the Queen’s role as sovereign by taking the salute from Mansion House. In real life, that parade took place on 12 October 1982, four months after the end of the war. At that time the Queen was abroad on a four-week tour of the South Pacific. The Queen had presided over the thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral earlier in the summer.