‘The Crown’: Did Britain want Queen Elizabeth to abdicate to Charles?


In the opening minutes of the new season of Netflix’s “The Crown,” we learn about a poll of the British public suggesting half of them think Queen Elizabeth II should abdicate in favor of Prince Charles.

An aide tells Charles, played by Dominic West, that the poll will come out while Charles is on vacation in Italy with his wife and sons, which the aide is encouraging the press to call a “second honeymoon.” Later, royal aides try in vain to hide copies of the Sunday Times from Queen Elizabeth II.

So did that really happen? Did the public really want the queen to abdicate? And was there really a “second honeymoon” to Italy?

There really was a Sunday Times poll with the abdication question, but most of the details have been changed, no doubt to add Hollywood drama.

Netflix’s fifth season of “The Crown” showcases many of the public-facing scandals faced by the royal family in the early 90s, like Charles and Diana’s split. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

The poll came out in January 1990, not August 1991 as it does in the show, and nearly half said the queen should consider abdicating in favor of Charles. But, importantly, they said she should consider “eventually,” not necessarily at that very moment. The “eventually” has been left out in the show.

Other things left out: The real poll was largely positive about the royal family — only 6 percent thought abolishing the monarchy would leave Britain better off — and…


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