Did Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Balmoral test’ really happen as shown in The Crown?

Thatcher was invited to stay at the Queen’s Scottish residence in 1981

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 30 November 2020 17:05
Comments
Margaret Thatcher interrupts the Royal Family at Balmoral on The Crown

The Crown is back and, once again, it’s proving a huge hit for Netflix.

Viewers have been tearing through the new season since its arrival on Sunday (15 November), with many praising Emma Corrin’s depiction of Princess Diana and feeling “conflicted” over Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher.

Many have been left wondering how accurate some the show has been with some of the key plot points – especially when considering showrunner Peter Morgan has taken artistic licence with historical facts in the past.

One such moment sees Thatcher being put through the wringer by the royal family after being invited to Balmoral with her husband, Denis, in 1981.

While there, she is shown to be a fish out of water and the butt of Philip and Margaret's jokes.

One scene sees her accompany the Queen on a hike across the glen dressed in bright blue and smart shoes, before she is forced to head back and change her clothes due to the mud. 

But, how accurate are the Balmoral scenes? 

Thatcher's biographer, the journalist Charles Moore, wrote in The Telegraph that while aspects of this visit are “surely wrong”, the “broad impression has the ring of truth”.  

The Queen’s biographer, Ben Pimlott, once stated that Thatcher viewed Balmoral as a form of “purgatory”.

Additionally, the book The Queen and Mrs Thatcher revealed that the prime minister thought of the location as a “different world”.

In the show, the Queen is depicted as being slightly miffed with the British prime minister, which is presumed to be a stretch. 

Their final encounter in the season is more emblematic of the friendship the pair would have until Thatcher’s death in 2013.

Find a rundown of the new seasons accuracy here.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in