Did Prince Philip actually take Diana deer stalking in Scotland?

In The Crown, Diana helps Prince Philip shoot a stag


At long last, season four of The Crown has dropped on Netflix. It covers Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s relationship, right from the first time they meet (when she was, ahem, 16), to their wedding and beyond.

Episode two sees both Margaret Thatcher and Diana be put through their paces in the Balmoral test, as a way of the royal family scoping them out at Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish castle. Apparently the Balmoral test is real. In the episode of The Crown, Diana passes the Balmoral test after Prince Philip takes her deer stalking and she helps him shoot a stag, but how true is this to reality?

What was Diana’s Balmoral test, and did she actually go deer stalking with Prince Philip like in The Crown?

The Balmoral test is like an initiation into the Royal Family. Diana revealed to a biographer that when she took the test, she was “shitting bricks”. However, she ended up passing the test.

“The anticipation was worse than actually being there. I was all right once I got in through the front door,” she said.

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In The Crown, a stag is injured on the grounds of Balmoral, and the Royal Family spend several days trying to find and shoot it. After Diana arrives and makes a good impression at dinner, she is woken up early the next morning and taken on a hunting trip by Prince Philip. The two seem to get on well, she spots the deer, he shoots it, everyone cheers when they bring it back to Balmoral, yay. We’re all happy, apart from of course the deer, and the poor horse they force to lug its dead body all the way home.

However, it seems Diana didn’t actually go deer stalking with Prince Philip as part of her Balmoral test – although it’s not entirely implausible.

Former royal butler Grant Harrold told The Daily Record: “”If [the Queen] invites you to Balmoral, then you are being invited to spend time with the royal family in a personal setting. You are going to be out on the hills with the Queen or other members of the Royal Family, perhaps fishing, hunting or doing other country pursuits.”

According to the Express, Diana was criticised back in the 1980s when she was accused of wounding a stag while deer stalking with Prince Charles shortly before their wedding. Apparently she vowed never to take part in the bloodsport again, and turned against it.

The Crown season four is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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• This is what the relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher was really like

• How did Prince Charles and Diana actually meet and how big was their age gap?

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