The Crown season five: Wait, did Prince Charles actually try to overthrow the Queen?!

Surely not!

With The Crown, you know it’s never going to shy away from drama. The series has long been known for addressing scandals and stirring up talk as it blurs the lines between fiction and real life. Episode one of season five goes straight in with quite a shocking claim, that when he was Prince, Charles was actively attempting to overthrow the Queen. Ummm, what?!

In the show, we see Prince Charles revelling in headlines questioning his mother’s popularity and age, and he even has secret meetings with the prime minster to discuss the current state of the monarchy, and makes subtle comments that the Queen should be replaced with someone more in touch and younger. But, the big question is, did this actually happen?

Season five episode one of The Crown on Netflix asks if Prince Charles did try to overthrow Queen Elizabeth

via Netflix

So, when he was Prince, did Charles try to overthrow the Queen?

Right, The Crown seems to hint at some sort of controversy where Prince Charles was trying to replace his mother on the throne. We see newspaper headlines suggesting the Queen is outdated, and Prince Charles getting invested in polls surrounding his and his mother’s popularity in comparison with one another. The result of one public vote seems to support the idea of Queen Elizabeth abdicating early, so Charles can take over. And the show suggests Charles was pretty happy about all this.

We also see Charles set up a secret meeting with the prime minister at the time, Sir John Major, to discuss the newspaper articles, public feeling, and the idea of Charles being able to overthrow the Queen.

Right now, it appears quite unclear as to whether this happened in real life, but reports are edging towards saying it didn’t happen at all. Buckingham Palace has always denied the Queen had any plans during her reign to step down, and, speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the former prime minister called the storyline in The Crown a “barrel load of malicious nonsense”.

However, there were headlines in 1991 questioning if the Queen should abdicate. The Mirror at the time said: “Is It Time For Her To Hang Up Her Crown?” and The Express printed: “With Prince Charles waiting in the wings, is it time for her to step down and enjoy a happy and glorious retirement?”

Season five episode one of The Crown on Netflix asks if Prince Charles did try to overthrow Queen Elizabeth

via Netflix

A statement from Sir John Major’s office added: “Sir John has not co-operated in any way with The Crown. Nor has he ever been approached by them to fact-check any script material in this or any other series. As you will know, discussions between the monarch and prime minister are entirely private and – for Sir John – will always remain so. But not one of the scenes you depict are accurate in any way whatsoever. They are fiction, pure and simple.”

Major has also written in a letter to the Daily Telegraph in which he says the show’s portrayal of the Queen is “profoundly hurtful to a family who are still grieving for the very person on whose life the entire drama was founded.”

So, to summarise, it looks as though there was question at the time about the Queen’s reign, but it’s always been denied that Prince Charles and Sir John Major actively entertained this.

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

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