While social media has made it harder for modern royals to escape the ever-watchful eyes of the public, it used to be easier to keep secrets under wraps back when Her Majesty the Queen was a young monarch. And, while we all know some of the scandals involving the British royal family, there are some you may have missed from years gone by.
Now as Netflix’s smash-hit show The Crown returns for a third season this weekend, the curtains have once again been pulled back, allowing the world a glimpse at what really happens behind the palace walls.
This season fans will say goodbye to Claire Foy who effortlessly portrayed Queen Elizabeth II for two seasons during the years of 1947 to 1964 and welcome Olivia Colman into the role as a more mature monarch. Meanwhile, the role of Prince Philip who was originally played by Doctor Who star, Matt Smith, will be handed to Tobias Menzies, and an older Princess Margaret will be portrayed by the brilliant Helena Bonham Carter.
The first two seasons of the royal drama followed the journey of a young and impressionable Princess Elizabeth who soon became Queen and was forced to deal with memorable moments in history such as the Profumo affair, the Suez Crisis, Winston Churchill resigning as prime minister and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, deciding not to marry Peter Townsend.
Now, in the series’ third season, the audience can expect even more scandals while the royals scramble to cover it up – or as Princess Margaret so elegantly describes the monarchy in the trailer: “We paper over the cracks.”
This season will cover the largest portion of history yet, from 1964 to 1977, and will kick off in the heat of the largest spy scandal of the 20th century in which Anthony Blunt, the art-historian in charge of the Queen’s personal collection, was exposed as a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring, a group who provided intel to the Soviets early on in the Cold War. It will also follow the Queen’s sombre visit to the Welsh town of Aberfan which suffered devastating loss in 1966 when a rush of coal slurry flooded the town and killed 144 people – most of whom were children.
Although audiences and royal fans are undoubtedly itching to see Princess Diana in the series, they will be disappointed to know that she won’t appear until season four. However, filming has already begun and the role has been officially handed to young British actress, Emma Corrin who bares an uncanny resemblance to the people’s princess.
While there’s no Diana, season three will give us a glimpse of the now-infamous initial meeting between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, then Camilla Shand, with the trailer giving the audience a glimpse of the now Duchess of Cornwall in the bathtub smoking a cigarette.
The couple originally met in the early ’70s and were said to be very much in love before Camilla went on to marry Andrew Parker Bowles in 1973 and Prince Charles married Princess Diana in 1981. It can be assumed that the infamous affair will be a focus of the following season, however season three will definitely lay the foundations to prepare the audience for the slow implosion that was the royal love triangle.
Princess Margaret’s love life will also be a main topic throughout this season with her strained marriage to Lord Snowden and extramarital affairs, first with Anthony Barton and then Roddy Llewellyn, who was 18 years her junior, coming to the surface. The trailer also shows Helena Bonham Carter sitting in the bath tub wearing her tiara which reflects the iconic photo that was originally taken by her then-husband Lord Snowden.
Princess Margaret wearing her wedding tiara in the bath, 1962 pic.twitter.com/C1UypF3vTn
— History Photographed (@HistoryInPics) August 1, 2014
The season will also cover several deaths including that of the Duke of Windsor who was set to be king before being exiled from the royal family for courting divorcee Wallis Simpson. It will also show the funeral of Prime Minister Winston Churchill – played by John Lithgow, who took out the Emmy for Most Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role.
As the Queen celebrates her Silver Jubilee for 25 years on the throne during season three, there is definitely more to come from the series. With a total of six seasons and the cast due to change once more after season four, the suspense will continue as to how historically accurate The Crown continues to be.
Season three of The Crown will be available to watch on Netflix from November 17.