WE ALL enjoyed watching Princess Margaret getting roaring drunk and telling filthy limericks to then US president Lyndon B. Johnson on TV series The Crown.
The problem is, as The Sun exclusively revealed, it never actually happened.
Like many of the scenes in the Netflix drama, writer Peter Morgan made up the entire story for dramatic effect.
While the trip to the White House did take place, Morgan has no idea if the Queen’s sister really did behave so outrageously and there’s certainly no evidence she made up shocking rhymes about using sticks of dynamite as sex toys.
It’s not always easy to tell which parts of The Crown are accurate depictions of history, and which are figments of its writer’s imagination.
Now in its third series, with Olivia Colman starring as Her Majesty and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, the show has a habit of playing fast and loose with the truth.
In his new book, The Crown Dissected, respected royal author Hugo Vickers unravels fact from fiction.
Here are some of the most glaring inaccuracies in series three of the hit drama.
Episode 1: Churchill’s death
At the start of season three, we see the Queen visiting a very sick and aged Sir Winston Churchill (John Lithgow), following his stroke in January 1965.
Fiction: The pair share political insights about Harold Wilson and have a poignant moment. As he falls asleep, the Queen tidies away his spectacles and fondly kisses him on the forehead before saying “Bless you, Winston.”
Fact: It never happened. The Queen didn’t visit Churchill after his stroke and certainly didn’t kiss him – something Vickers describes in his book as “pure schmaltz”.
By this time the former prime minister was “senile and incapable of coherent conversation” so that touching exchange could not have taken place. The Queen did however attend his funeral.
Episode 4: The ‘disastrous’ documentary
It’s 1969, man is about to land on the moon and the Royal family are keen to keep up with the changing times and appear more media-friendly.
They agree to take part in an ahead-of-its-time reality TV show titled, rather unimaginatively, Royal Family.
Almost 40 years before The Kardashians, the Windsors allow TV cameras to follow them around for a fly-on-the-wall-style documentary in episode four.
Fiction: When the show is aired, press reviews tear it apart, saying it is a disaster for the Royal Family. The Queen is absolutely furious and bans it from ever being shown again.
Fact: In real life the documentary was well received by critics and the public loved it. It was watched by 400 million people in 130 different countries, including an estimated 68 per cent of the British population.
The then Private Secretary, Sir William Heseltine, said, “It was a fantastic success.”
At the time it was repeated both on the BBC and ITV, but it is true that it’s no longer allowed to be seen.
Episode 5: The Queen’s ‘affair’ with Lord Porchester
One of the season’s most controversial episodes insinuates that Queen Elizabeth once had an affair with her horse trainer Lord Porchester, a long-time personal friend.
Fiction: In the show, after her horse, Apprentice, loses at Royal Ascot, the Queen travels around Europe and America with “Porchie” for a month, visiting a number of equestrian farms.
On her return to the UK, she is quizzed about the trip by a suspicious Prince Philip (played by Tobias Menzies).
“If you have something to say, say it now,” she tells him. “Otherwise, if you don’t mind, I’m busy.”
Fact: There is no evidence to suggest an affair ever took place. It’s just unfounded gossip.
The Queen has never gone abroad for a whole month for private breaks, as she sees that as neglecting her duties at home.
What is true is that the Queen is a passionate equestrian and, were she not a monarch, may well have had a career breeding racehorses.
Episode 9: The conspiracy to keep Charles and Camilla apart
It has taken the public decades to warm to Camilla and accept that her relationship with Charles is the real deal.
But it seems the royals weren’t too happy about the couple either.
The Crown suggests that when Charles met Camilla in 1972 and fell madly in love with her, the Royal Family were so against their union that Lord Mountbatten and the Queen Mother secretly came up with a plot to prevent it.
Fiction: In the show, Charles is sent away overseas and the royals sit down with Camilla’s family and Andrew Parker-Bowles, who she‘d recently split up with, to orchestrate his marriage to Camilla instead.
When Camilla decides to marry Parker-Bowles, Charles is told by Mountbatten and – melodramatically – crumples at the news.
Fact: This conspiracy never happened. In reality, the Queen Mother and Mountbatten didn’t get on, so they would never have come up with this scheme together.
What’s more, at the time Camilla is said to have been deeply in love with Andrew.
We don’t know how Prince Charles reacted to news of Camilla’s impending nuptials; he was serving overseas at the time. There’s certainly no evidence that he collapsed with the shock.
Episode 10: Princess Margaret scandal and ‘overdose’
Towards the end of her marriage to Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret took up with toyboy Roddy Llewellyn.
And when she and Snowdon split, their divorce became the first royal divorce since Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves.
Fiction: When paparazzi pictures of Roddy and Margaret on holiday in Mustique emerged, it drove the nail into the coffin of the failing marriage. In despair, Margaret attempted suicide by taking a large quantity of sleeping pills.
Fact: Despite what the episode portrays, a bearded press photographer did not find his way on to Mustique and take snaps of Roddy rubbing sun cream into Princess Margaret’s legs.
Margaret did, in fact, take an ‘overdose’, but it wasn’t until 1978, when Roddy got fed up of her and fled to Turkey. And the truth is, she never intended to kill herself. She was just being a drama queen. Margaret was, by all accounts, said to be a great actress.
“I was so exhausted because of everything that all I wanted to do was sleep… and I did, right through to the following afternoon,” she later said.
The Crown Dissected by Hugo Vickers is published by Zuleika