The Crown is accused of misrepresenting the famed 1997 Balmoral photo

Netflix’s The Crown is accused of misrepresenting famous 1997 photoshoot featuring Charles, William and Harry to make it look like riposte to Diana’s romance with Dodi Al-Fayed

  • Netflix’s hit series The Crown has been accused of falsely portraying the famed 1997 Balmoral photo shoot
  • However, a Mail expert gives the scoop behind the photoshoot and the errors in the TV series
  • FOR MORE ON THE CROWN: Don’t miss our brilliant new podcast, The Crown: Fact or Fiction with Robert Hardman and Natasha Livingstone. Listen now on Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts

A famous photoshoot of Prince Charles and his two sons in 1997 is misrepresented in Netflix’s The Crown as a response to Princess Diana’s new romance, a Mail podcast has revealed.

In the second episode of ‘The Crown: Fact or Fiction,’ Mail royal expert Richard Kay disclosed that he was present at the photocall in Balmoral that is portrayed in the hit series.

It took place about two weeks before Princess Diana was killed in a car crash and saw Prince William, then 15, and Prince Harry, 12, posing on the banks of the River Dee with their father.

The final series of The Crown tries to present the photoshoot as a ploy by palace officials to respond to recently published pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed kissing on a yacht.

The character in the show call a local photographer and he is shown arriving to take the pictures in private, which, according to Kay, could not have been further from the truth.

‘We had been told three days, I think, before the pictures of Diana and Dodi had even been published that the palace were going to hold a photocall of Charles and his sons, who were going to arrive at Balmoral early,’ Kay told the podcast.

The original picture of Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry at River Dee on August 12 at the Balmoral estate

The recreated photo depicted on season six of the Netflix series The Crown 

‘I think in all there were about 40 of us: camera crews, photographers and a handful of reporters,’ Kay added. 


The second episode of The Crown’s sixth series presents the photoshoot as a rainy, windswept day, when in actuality, the Press and the Royals basked in sunshine.

Kay continued: ‘They performed, I guess that’s the best way to put it. Charles was very pleasant, wished us all a good day, the boys were awkward, but they were young and didn’t like this kind of thing.’

A palace official who organized the event was even asked at the time whether the photocall was a response to the Diana and Dodi pictures, Kay recalled.

He said: ‘She absolutely angrily denied it and pointed out that it had been organized before the pictures had even emerged of Diana and Dodi so it was not a quid pro quo.’

Mail writer Robert Hardman and the Mail on Sunday’s Royal Correspondent Natasha Livingstone also unpicked scenes from the episode showing Diana raising awareness of the impact of landmines.

The Crown shows the princess making a trip to Bosnia to meet with survivors of the deadly buried weapons, recreating her famous walk of a mined area.

In fact, Diana did not walk through a minefield in Bosnia at all. Instead, the pictures that have become instantly recognizable were taken during a trip to Angola to promote the vital work of the Halo Trust, in January 1997- months before the scene in The Crown was set. 

Princess Diana in St. Tropez, France, on Mohamed Al Fayed’s yacht in July 1997

Princess Diana and Prince Harry on holiday in St. Tropez. Harry and William were vacationing with their mother before they joined their father in Balmoral 

Hardman also revealed the ‘comedy press conference’ portrayed in the series that showed Diana being bombarded with questions about her personal life never took place.

In the show, she wore a badge that said ‘ReliefAid,’ which is a charity based in New Zealand that has nothing to do with landmines.

At the time, she was actually raising awareness for the Landmine Survivors Network and wore a badge that said ‘British Red Cross.’

Her Angola mission was to support another anti-mine charity, The Halo Trust. 

Princess Diana was seen walking through a minefield in Angola to promote the vital work of the Halo Trust (left). Actress Elizabeth Debicki ,who plays Diana in season six of the royal drama, re-enacted the Princess’ walk as she wore a different logo badge (right) 

Princess Diana in Angola. Insiders at the Halo Trust felt it was ‘a shame’ that Netflix bosses chose not to include them, as the series could have promoted the charity to The Crown’s global audience of 73 million viewers

Insiders at The Halo Trust felt it was ‘a shame’ that Netflix bosses chose not to include them, as the series could have promoted the charity to The Crown’s global audience of 73 million viewers. 

Livingstone said ReliefAid were ‘totally baffled when I contacted them about this’ as they had ‘never worked in Angola and do not do mine clearance.’

She continued: ‘The Halo Trust said they were not asked or consulted about the scene and would have been delighted if their logo was featured in the show.

‘It’s another opportunity where [The Crown has] faked things, for reasons that are unclear.’

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