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This is what your favourite characters from The Crown were like in real life

Margaret really was a party gal


Much has been written about the more significant royals like Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Princess Diana and Prince Charles. But what about the more minor ones you didn’t know much about before watching The Crown? Was Princess Margaret as wild as she was portrayed in the film? Was Tony Armstrong-Jones actually that fit? And was John Armstrong even real? This is what your favourite minor characters from The Crown season 3 cast were like in real life:

*Warning: Potential spoilers ahead*

Princess Margaret (played by Helena Bonham Carter)

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Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden

The Queen’s younger sister Margaret was a controversial figure of the British royal family. She lived a luxurious life and apparently began having breakfast in bed in her mid 20s. After three hours of getting ready for the day. she would have a “vodka pick-me-up”, right before eating her four-course lunch.

Margaret’s wedding to Antony Armstrong-Jones really was broadcast to 300 million people. And it cost a fortune. Her marriage ended in 1976, when her affair with Roddy Llewellyn was made public. Her divorce from Antony Amstrong-Jones in 1978 was scandalous for the time. People say that Princess Margaret’s legacy was trying to establish a public acceptance of royal divorce.

Margaret smoked since she was 15 and smoked heavily until she had to have her left lung removed in 1985. She gave up smoking but continued drinking. She died in 2002, aged 71. She suffered a stroke which resulted in cardiac problems.

Antony Armstrong-Jones (played by Matthew Goode)

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Photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowden), Los Angeles, 1980s. Photo by Chris Gulker.

Antony Armstrong-Jones was married to Princess Margaret for almost two decades. He was the first “commoner” in 400 years to marry into the British royal family. Right before marrying the princess, he fathered an illegitimate child.

Their marriage was full of cheating. Antony has a series of affairs with various women while he was away on assignments. The princess also had flings with numerous men. However they finally decided to divorce when Margaret was spotted with Roddy Llewellyn who was 17 years younger than her. They were photographed being “intimate” in their swimwear on holiday in the Caribbean.

Despite divorcing, they remained really close friends until Margaret died in 2002. He continued taking the official portrays of the royal family even though he had nothing to do with it any more. He then married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg in 1978. They divorced in 2000 after it was revealed that he fathered another son with the Country Life magazine editor while he was in his 60s. He died peacefully in his Kensington home aged 86 in 2017.

Harold Wilson (played by Jason Watkins)

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Harold Wilson was a British Labour Prime Minister who served from 1964 to 1970 and then from 1974-1976. He was one of the most progressive British politicians. His government ended capital punishment, decriminalised certain laws against homosexuality and legalised abortion under medically-related circumstances. He also helped launch The Open University in 1969 to allow for more flexible teaching and research in the UK. He famously refused to send British troops to the Vietnam War.

According to The Telegraph, Wilson loved his weekly audience with the Queen: “Harold Wilson described the meetings as the only times when he could have a serious conversation, which would not be leaked, with somebody who wasn’t after his job.” Queen Elizabeth came to 10 Downing Street to mark his resignation, she only ever did this for one other Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

Olivia Colman (who plays Queen Elizabeth in series three), thinks the Queen was left-wing like Wilson. She told The Times: “I think she’s a leftie, but I think what’s extraordinary and wonderful about her, she can be everything to anybody. Whatever you want her to be, she sort of is. I want her to be a leftie and think she is because she loved Harold Wilson.”

Princess Alice of Battenberg aka. Princess Alice of Greece (played by Lucy Russell)

The great granddaughter of Queen Victoria was the mother to Prince Philip and the mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. She grew up in the UK, the German Empire and the Mediterranean. She lived in Greece until the exile of the most of the Greek royal family in 1917. She returned to Greece a few years later, but then was forced into exile again.

In 1930, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent a long time in a Swiss sanatorium. She spent most of her remaining life doing charity work in Greece and sheltered Jewish refugees in Athens during the Second World War. She is recognised as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel’s Holocaust memorial institution.

After the military imposed rule in Greece in 1967, she was invited to live in Buckingham Palace in London. She died two years after.

John Armstrong (played by Colin Morgan)

Erm, so the Guardian journalist didn’t actually exist! The Times reported: “There was no ‘John Armstrong’ and even were he to have existed, he would not have written a damning front-page Guardian review of the documentary, not least because the documentary went out on a Saturday and was old news by Monday’s paper. The paper’s TV reviewer, Stanley Reynolds, merely noted that Her Majesty was ‘a delightful surprise.’

“You will not, by now, be flabbergasted to hear that the dying Princess Alice did not give an interview to ‘John Armstrong’ of The Guardian or, so far as I can see from Hugo Vickers’ biography of her, to anyone else.”

Princess Anne (played by Erin Doherty)

Princess Anne is the second child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. She was the first member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games. She’s known for her equestrian skills.

She was involved in the love triangle between Andrew Parker Bowles and Camilla Shand (who Charles later marries.) But her relationship with Andrew was far more casual than Charles and Camilla’s. The couple couldn’t get married anyway because Andrew is Catholic. They have remained friends since.

Andrew Parker Bowles (played by Andrew Buchan)

Andrew Parker Bowles is a retired British Army officer. He is the former husband of Camilla Parker Bowles, who is now the wife of Prince Charles. He was a player on Prince Charles’ Polo Team in the 1970s and 1980s, dating Princess Anne in the early 1970s.

When he married Camilla, they had two children. He wasn’t very faithful through their marriage and so the couple finally divorced in 1995. A year later he married his long-term mistress Rosemary Pitman. Andrew and Rosemary attended Prince Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005. He is a godfather to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Phillips.

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