There has been much controversy over what’s fact and what’s fiction in the fourth season of “The Crown”, and a former royal insider is coming forward to explain what the new season got wrong in its depiction of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Darren McGrady, who spent 15 years as personal chef to the royal family, opens up to Us Weekly about how what appears on the screen differs from what he actually witnessed.
“My goodness, they really went for the artistic license,” he said. “I liked the first queen [Claire Foy], the second one [Olivia Colman], I’m not so keen on. She doesn’t smile enough in there.”
One big error he points to is the scenes in which Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Diana (Emma Corrin) are in Australia during their 1983 Down Under royal tour.
“You see them in Australia sort of arguing and fighting, but, you know, they were happy there,” he said. “And the same as, you know, Balmoral Castle [in Scotland], when we had the Ghillies Ball.”
During that ball, he added, “I remember standing there watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana dancing together, and they were spinning and spinning, and the princess loved to dance. So she took advantage and she was spinning the prince faster, and then he was laughing louder and louder. And when I see ‘The Crown’ and see that and think, ‘You don’t know the whole truth.’”
Another detail in the fourth season is the Queen’s obsession with poached salmon, which he admitted was pretty accurate.
“The queen loved poached salmon, absolutely she did,” said McGrady. “Especially at Balmoral. I mean, if you think, the Queen Mother and Prince Charles would be out fly fishing in the river, bringing fresh salmon in — it didn’t get much better than that.”
He also recalled what happened after he told the chefs at charity events — mistakenly, it turned out — that Diana’s favourite dish was poached salmon.
“About four weeks later, the princess came into the kitchen and she said, ‘Darren, I’m starving. What’s for lunch?’ And I said, ‘Lunch is almost ready,’” he said. “She said, ‘Oh, please tell me it’s not poached salmon. What is it right now? Everywhere you go, everyone serving poached salmon!’ And I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re telling everyone poached salmon.’ As soon as she’d gone, I called the kitchen and said, ‘She loves chicken, grilled chicken!’”