Does Queen Elizabeth II Watch The Crown? What She and the Royals Think

Let’s just say she had some thoughts.

Does Queen Elizabeth II watch The Crown—and does she even like it?

Though she’s never publicly spoken about the show, in 2017, the Sunday Express reported that the monarch watched all 10 episodes of the first season. Her dedication was credited to her youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. They organized Saturday night viewings for Her Majesty.

“Edward and Sophie love The Crown,” a senior royal source said. “It has been a longstanding arrangement that they drive to Windsor at the weekend to join the queen for an informal supper while watching TV or a film. They have a Netflix account and urged her to watch it with them. Happily, she really liked it, although obviously there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatized.”

However, with the seasons that’ve followed, her outlook on the show has purportedly become progressively worse. When it came to season 2, she reportedly wasn’t a fan of how Prince Philip (then played by Matt Smith) was shown as unsympathetic towards a young Prince Charles, who was unhappy at his boarding school, Gordonstoun.

“The queen realizes that many who watch The Crown take it as an accurate portrayal of the royal family and she cannot change that,” a senior courtier said. “But I can convey that she was upset by the way Prince Philip is depicted as being a father insensitive to his son’s well-being. She was particularly annoyed at a scene in which Philip has no sympathy for a plainly upset Charles while he is flying him home from Scotland. That simply did not happen.”

And in September 2019, the queen’s communication secretary Donal McCabe sent a stern statement to The Guardian months before the season 3 premiere about the household’s view of the dramatized events of the show.

Your article… may have the unfortunate consequence of leading your readers to believe that the television series The Crown is made with some sort of endorsement by the royal household, or an acceptance by the royal household that the drama is factually accurate.

We appreciate that readers of the Guardian may enjoy this fictionalized interpretation of historical events but they should do so knowing that the royal household is not complicit in interpretations made by the program.

The royal household has never agreed to vet or approve content, has not asked to know what topics will be included, and would never express a view as to the program’s accuracy.

Well, that’s a little awkward. But here’s hoping she at least appreciated Colman’s inaugural season?

What do the Queen and the royal family think of season 4?

Is hate too strong of a word? If we’re to believe the palace insiders identified as Charles’s “closest confidantes” that spoke to the Daily Mail, it’s The Crown‘s take on Diana and Charles’s relationship that has left them less than impressed.

“This is drama and entertainment for commercial ends being made with no regard to the actual people involved who are having their lives hijacked and exploited,” said one source. “In this case, it’s dragging up things that happened during very difficult times 25 or 30 years ago without a thought for anyone’s feelings. That isn’t right or fair, particularly when so many of the things being depicted don’t represent the truth.”

They added that the series “paints the Prince and [Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles] in a very unflattering light” going as far as to compare the drama to a reality show.

The source continued: ‘There is no sense of telling carefully nuanced stories–it’s all very two-dimensional. This is trolling with a Hollywood budget. The public shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this is an accurate portrayal of what really happened.”

In defense of showrunner Peter Morgan, he has never claimed that every event in The Crown should be taken as fact. Since its premiere in 2016, he’s admitted to taking creative license and making up moments in the series that are inspired by factual events.

“We are creating a work of fiction, albeit based in some reality. But ultimately, there’s only so much research you can do,” Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles, told Town & Country. “After a time, you just got to crack on and create something for yourself.”

With that being said, what about the other royals?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

During Oprah’s landmark CBS interview with the couple in March, the duo both admitted that they’ve “watched some of it,” when speaking about the show.

During a February appearance on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, Prince Harry shared that he’d like actor Damian Lewis to play him in the series and addressed The Crown with a modicum of positivity.

“They don’t pretend to be news,” he told Corden. “It’s fictional, but it’s loosely based on the truth. Of course it’s not strictly accurate, but loosely, it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that.”

Harry continued, “I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself. Because it’s the difference between. That [The Crown] is obviously fiction, take it how you will, but this [the press] is being reported as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”

However, it may be worth noting that Harry and his wife, Meghan, signed a multi-year production deal with Netflix—which streams The Crown. The amount the couple received for the deal was never disclosed, but The New York Times reported the two were seeking $100 million at one point during negotiations.

Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles

A source told Vanity Fairthat Camilla will definitely be streaming season 4, and Charles has at least watched early seasons.

“I imagine she’ll be tuning in with a glass of red wine to watch it, she has seen the previous series,” the source said. “She has a wonderful sense of humor and this won’t fuss her in the slightest… I don’t think she has any real issue with it. Her feeling is very much ‘never complain, never explain.’”

Princess Anne

The princess herself said in a 2020 documentary that she has seen early episodes of The Crown and found them “quite interesting,” but hasn’t watched as of late. However, the famously blunt royal did have some thoughts on Erin Doherty’s confession that Anne’s signature coif took hours to replicate.

“I read an article the other day about the, I don’t watch Netflix and The Crown, but the actress was talking about how long it took them to do their hair like I did. And I’m thinking, ‘How could you possibly take that long?’ I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”

Princess Eugenie

The queen’s granddaughter and the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson reportedly has seen the show, according to Express. She was overheard at a party saying: “The music is wonderful, the story is beautiful, and you feel very proud to watch it.”

Zara and Mike Tindall

Zara, Princess Anne’s daughter and another one of the queen’s granddaughters, is said to watch with her husband, Mike Tindall. “She’s brilliant, the one who plays the queen. I think it’s a great show in terms of how they delivered it,” he said.

Which royals absolutely do not watch The Crown?

The famously blunt Prince Philip reportedly wants nothing to do with the show. The evidence came straight from The Crown‘s original Duke of Edinburgh, Matt Smith.

In 2017, Smith told The Guardian that his friend in the film industry was attending a dinner hosted by the queen and her husband. Philip asked him, “Are you involved in this… Crown thing?” The friend told him no, but later asked if the duke watched. The prince responded, “Don’t. Be. Ridiculous,” so there’s that.

And in 2019 during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Olivia Colman revealed that one of the world’s most popular royals also isn’t a fan.

“I met Prince William at a dinner, and he asked what I was doing at the moment before he quickly added, ‘Actually, I know what you’re doing,'” she said. “I was so excited and asked, ‘Have you watched it?’ His answer was a firm, ‘No.'” But aside from that, she added he was “very charming and very lovely.” Via an anonymous source, The Daily Mail reported Prince William’s thoughts on season 4, in November.

“The Duke of Cambridge is none too pleased with it,” they said. “He feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money.”

The reason why some members of the famous family have no interest in the Netflix hit? As Daily Mail royal biographer Robert Lacey told the Radio Times in October, the line between fact and fiction may be too blurry.

“Whenever any of them are asked about The Crown, they always deny watching it,” he said. “And that may be because imagination can convey a truth that the facts themselves cannot. I would say that The Crown comes the closest to actually re-creating the reality of royal life. It is not a documentary, but there is an enormous team of historical researchers who examine every detail intensely, to make sure that what we see people feeling and thinking on screen feels right.”

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