King Charles in The Crown: separating fact from fiction in the portrayal of Prince Charles

Netflix's The Crown focuses on the Royal Family and their private lives, but how much of this historical drama is accurate?

King Charles in The Crown
(Image credit: Future: Netflix/ Canva / Getty)

King Charles, or as he was previously known, Prince Charles, has always been a key member of the Royal Family and a focal character in the Netflix show, The Crown. 

The latest seasons of The Crown paid particular attention to Prince Charles' changing position as he moved away from his childhood and adolescence into becoming a senior member of the Royal Family. The show also didn't shy away from delving into his highly publicized romantic attachments, marriage to Princess Diana, and affair with Camilla Parker Bowles

But how much of The Crown is accurate? Is the portrayal of the young King Charles fair or simply manufactured for drama in the Netflix show? We separate fact from fiction and explain which scenes are accurate and which are made up.

The Crown

(Image credit: netflix)

Season 2

FACT - Prince Charles did hate Gordonstoun

It has been widely reported that Prince Charles did hate Gordonstoun, the school that he attended because his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, went there when he was younger. 

In letters from a young Prince Charles to the Queen, the Prince said, "The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness, they are horrid. I don’t know how anybody could be so foul." In another, he reportedly said, "I hardly get any sleep in the House because I snore and I get hit on the head all the time. It’s absolute hell."

In later life, Prince Charles said in the House of Lords, "I am always astonished by the amount of rot talked about Gordonstoun and the careless use of ancient clichés used to describe it." However, when it came to sending his own children to school, he chose to send Prince Harry and William to Eton, a private boys school based in Windsor. 

Prince Charles

(Image credit: Netflix)

Season 3

FACT - Charles' Investiture speech to the Welsh people was controversial

In the show, Prince Charles's Investiture Speech in Wales was sympathetic to the people of Wales' wish to retain their national identity and independence from the United Kingdom. 

In the show, the Prince says, "Wales has a history to be proud of, and it is completely understandable that the Welsh wish to hold on to their heritage, their native culture, their identity, their disposition, and their personality as a nation. It is important we respect that. Wales has her own identity, her own character, her own will. Her own voice." This leads to frustration from the Queen who didn't appreciate the political message from her son.

In real life, that is not exactly what the Prince said, but the speech did cause some waves for its political stance and was considered to be rather controversial. 

"It is with a certain sense of pride and emotion that I have received these symbols of office, here in this magnificent fortress, where no one could fail to be stirred by its atmosphere of time-worn grandeur, nor where I myself could be unaware of the long history of Wales in its determination to remain individual and to guard its own particular heritage," said Prince Charles in his real life speech.

Season 4

FALSE - Charles did not meet Diana while she was dressed as a tree

In The Crown, Charles is introduced to a 14-year-old Diana, while he is courting Sarah Spencer, Lady Di's older sister. The Prince meets Diana while she is dressed as a 'Mad Tree' for her school's production of A Midsummer's Night Dream. Their encounter is brief and soon after chatting the young Lady Spencer sneaks creeps away and tells Charles to keep their meeting private. 

In real life the encounter was not quite like this. It is true that Charles met Diana when she was just 14 and he was 26, and he did know Diana through her older sister, but the costume and 'Mad Tree' element was sadly a fictionalized part of the show. Perhaps this was to make their first encounter more exciting, or to demonstrate Diana's age when she first met the Prince.

Princess Diana's portrayal on The Crown is also not entirely accurate, and there are many elements that were fabricated for the show. 

The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

FACT - Charles does enjoy eggs with every meal

In one scene in the fourth season, Princess Diana and Camilla go for lunch and discuss Prince Charles' bizarre eating habits. Camilla comments that the Prince likes to have a soft boiled egg with every meal, and kicked up a fuss when a kitchen wouldn't serve it to him at lunchtime. In the show, Camilla tells Diana, "They made the cardinal mistake of refusing to put a soft boiled egg on top."

Apparently, it is 100% true that the King does like to have an egg with every meal! However, the King prefers to have a soft coddled egg mixed with a salad. 

Graham Tinsley, a former manager of the Welsh Culinary Team, who catered for royal state banquets explained, "The [King] requires a side salad for every meal - and this salad was very precise. Normally, a soft-boiled egg takes around five minutes. So imagine this coddled egg… it's going to be very, very soft."

Graham then explained the salad that the Prince of Wales would eat with the egg, "The royal required a coddled egg that was peeled and hidden beneath salad leaves. He would then mash his salad leaves into the eggs to make a dressing – a bit like mayonnaise."

The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

FALSE - Charles did not receive a letter from Lord Mountbatten confronting his romantic involvement with Camilla

In the very first episode of season 4, Lord Mountbatten confronts Prince Charles and tells him off for his romantic involvement with Camilla, who was married to Andrew Parker Bowles at the time. In the scene, Lord Mountbatten also writes a letter telling Charles to marry 'some sweet and innocent well-tempered girl with no past'.

Speaking about the decision to fabricate this scene, Peter Morgan, the creator of the show, explained in a Podcast, "I made up in my head – whether it’s right or wrong – what we know is that Mountbatten was really responsible for taking Charles to one side at precisely this point and saying, ‘Look, you know, enough already with playing the field. It’s time you got married and it’s time you provided an heir',"

"I think everything that’s in the letter that Mountbatten writes to Charles is what I really believe – you know, based on everything I’ve read and people I’ve spoken to, that that represents his view," said Peter. "We will never know if it was put into a letter, and we will never know if Charles got that letter before or after Mountbatten’s death but in this particular drama, this is how I decided to deal with it."

The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

FACT - Prince Charles was having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles

It has been widely publicized that the affair portrayed in The Crown between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles was accurate. While of course the conversations between the pair have been fabricated for the show, the fact that Princess Diana was aware of this affair during their marriage was also true.

Reports have suggested that Princess Diana once 'boldly confronted' Camilla to 'demand her husband back' and asked the Prince to stop seeing her for the sake of their marriage. In the Princess' BBC interview with Martin Bashir which has been highly criticized and is under investigation, Diana said that there were 'three people' in her marriage - referring to herself, Prince Charles, and Camilla. 

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.

Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.