The Crown Season 5: Fact Checking the Most Dramatic Moments


How are the Windsors and the Romanovs actually connected?

The sixth episode of season five opens in World War I–era Britain, when King George V (Richard Dillane) receives a letter from the British prime minister suggesting that the government was willing to send a ship to Russia to save their Russian relatives, the Romanovs, who had recently been overthrown in the Russian Revolution.

Later, an imprisoned Tsar Nicholas II (a.k.a. Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov) is awoken by a soldier who informs him that he and his wife Tsarnia Alexandra (a.k.a. Alexandra Feodorovna) are being moved, causing Nicholas to exclaim, “It’s cousin George!”

Their hopes were unfounded, however, as just minutes later, their entire family is murdered—thus revealing that the royal family refused to help.

The episode later finds Queen Elizabeth II preparing for a meeting with Boris Yeltsin, the president of the Russian Federation. It is revealed that Elizabeth and Prince Philip are related to the Romanovs, which motivates Philip to do some digging.

So, how are the families intertwined?

Maria Feodorovna, the sister of Queen Elizabeth’s great-grandmother Queen Alexandra, married Czar Alexander of Russia. Maria’s eldest son, the aforementioned Nicholas, was the last ruler of Russia—and also the first cousin of King George V, Elizabeth’s grandfather.

As The Crown depicts, George did in fact refuse to help save Nicholas, despite the two sharing a strong relationship.

Did Diana give Queen Elizabeth’s notice after her explosive Panorama interview?

Not exactly.

Season five shines light on Diana’s infamous 1995 interview with Martin Bashir (Prasanna Puwanarajah) on the BBC documentary series Panorama, in which she discussed the dissolution of her marriage with then-Prince Charles. 

The series shows Diana herself giving Queen Elizabeth a head’s up about the explosive interview, but that’s not what happened at all.

“It’s hard to beat the scenes depicting Diana allegedly summoning up her courage and dropping on the Queen the bombshell news that she had secretly recorded an interview with Martin Bashir for Panorama,” Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson told The Telegraph Nov. 8.This part of the story was made up, and therefore might reasonably earn the ire of The Crown‘s scholarly-exact detractors.”

How can he be so sure?

“I know it was made up because I was there,” he said, “and I can tell you that the Princess absolutely failed to summon up the necessary courage and delegated the job to me.”



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