The Crown Season 4 causes pain for widow of Prince Charles’ old friend

Creators chose to feature a poignant death in this latest season

The Crown Season 4, Prince Charles and Princess Diana
(Image credit: Des Willie/ Netflix)

The Crown Season 4 might be more popular than ever, but there are some who might find its depiction of the not-too distant past a little difficult to watch.

The latest series has moved to focus more heavily upon Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their immediate circle. Prince Charles’ former press secretary has been reported as stating the Charles and Diana he sees in the show “are not the people [he] knew”. 

But it’s not just the use of dramatic license that could be upsetting. 

The inclusion of a particular scene in Season 4 has caused great pain to the widow of one of Prince Charles’ old friends, Major Hugh Lindsay.  

Who has The Crown Season 4 upset?

The widow of Major Hugh Lindsay, Sarah Horsley has opened up about her pain at seeing her husband’s death become a plot point in The Crown.

Mrs Horsley said that she requested that her husband’s death not be adapted for the show. Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, she recently revealed: “I wrote to them asking them not to do it, not to use the accident.”

Prince Charles, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen on January 3, 1988 at Sandringham in Norfolk

(Image credit: Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

However, despite Mrs Horsley’s letter, The Crown Season 4 nonetheless focused on her husband’s death in episode 9.

Who was Major Hugh Lindsay and how did he die?

Major Lindsay was not only a friend of Prince Charles, but also the Queen’s equerry - an officer of the British royal household. Major Lindsay was tragically killed by an avalanche whilst skiing with Prince Charles in Klosters, Switzerland in 1988. 

His wife Sarah was heavily pregnant with their daughter Alice at the time. 

The draped coffin of Major Hugh Lindsay, carried by soldiers, returns in England with Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York at RAF Northolt on March 12, 1988 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

How did Sarah Horsley react to the episode being made?

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mrs Horsley revealed she was “horrified” at being told the episode was happening. She said: “[I was] very concerned about the impact on my daughter.”

Mrs Horsley continued: "I'm very upset by it and I'm dreading people seeing it."

She added that she supposed members of the Royal Family “have to grin and bear it”. However, “For [her] it’s a very private tragedy.”

Mrs Horsley told the newspaper of how producers had sent her a “very kind letter”. They reportedly said that they understood her concerns and that they hoped she “would feel that they deal with difficult matters with integrity and great sensitivity”. 

Would Mrs Horsley ever watch the episode?

Whilst her husband’s death is not featured on screen, the voiceover news coverage of the avalanche from the time is included. 

“Perhaps at some point in the future, Alice and I will watch it quietly together,” Mrs Horsley said, though she acknowledged, “It will be tough.”

Episode 9 of The Crown Season 4 is called Avalanche and shows both the events surrounding the tragedy and immediately after, including the funeral of Major Hugh Lindsay. 

The Crown Season 4 is available to watch now on Netflix. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!