COTE DE TEXAS: The Crown – Set Locations Part III

The Crown – Set Locations Part III

 

 

Cote de Texas’ Part I and Part II about Netflix’s new series, The Crown, examined the set locations that stood in for Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Sandringham.

Today, Part Three starts with – Marlborough House and ends with Balmoral, Windsor Castle, and a few others!

One of the stars of The Crown’s Season One is Queen Mary, the current Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother.  Queen Mary is not nearly as well known as Elizabeth or her mother, but she was quite an interesting woman.  At one time, there were three living queens in England:

1.  Queen Mary

2.  Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and

3.  Queen Elizabeth

Queen Mary died right before her granddaughter Elizabeth’s coronation.

Queen Mary on the left.  Dame Eileen Atkins on the right plays Queen Mary for The Crown.  Dame Eileen definitely got the Queen’s curly, frizzy hair down perfectly.  Queen Mary’s coif was more like a poodle’s than a monarch’s. 

 

Dame Eileen Atkins as she normally looks, with beautiful straight hair!  Wow.  It’s amazing how much younger she looks with this hair do!

 

A rare photograph of the three English Queens at the funeral of King George VI.

The young Princess Mary – engaged to not one, but two heirs to the throne of England!

Queen Mary was born Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes (WHEW!!!) – but she was known simply as Mary of Teck or plain “May,” since she was born in that month in 1867.  She was a great-granddaughter of the mad King George III and as such was closely related to both Queen Victoria and her future husband.   She even grew up in Kensington Palace – where Queen Victoria did.   Originally May was engaged to the Crown Prince Albert Victor, but he tragically died six weeks later.  Apparently she was such a catch, Queen Victoria arranged for her to become engaged to the next crown prince, who later became George V.   Both her fiancées were her 2nd cousins, once removed.    May and George were a true love match and the couple remained devoted and faithful to each other which was highly unusual in their time.   They eventually became parents of five boys and one girl.   While waiting to inherit the crown, the couple lived in a set of apartments at St. James Palace, and later at Marlborough House in London.   They also had their country house, the small York Cottage on Sandringham, where they lived until Queen Alexandra died and they then moved into the big house on the estate. Of course, when George was crowned, they moved to Buckingham Palace.

Dressed for her son King George VI’s coronation!!

 

After Queen Mary’s husband, King George V died, she moved back to Marlborough House, where she remained until her death, 17 years later.    Marlborough House was once where royals waiting to inherit the crown lived, and also where Dowager Queens lived until they died.

 

Queen Mary with her sons, the two future Kings of England – Edward VIII and George VI.

 

Netflix’s The Crown features Queen Mary in many scenes involving her granddaughter and her son, the Duke of Windsor, who had abdicated his throne for his love of Wallis Simpson. David, as the Duke was known to his family, later wrote of his mother Mary as having “icy cold” blood in her veins.  Was she really that formidable?   She and the King did have a reputation as being very strict, cold, distant and hands-off parents. 

And then there was this.  One of the most interesting factoids about Mary was her tendency to “claim” personal possessions of friends and family as her own.  When out visiting, she would search for pricey items that she felt had been taken or borrowed from the Royal Collection and she would request they be returned.  Today, it is said that when Queen Mary came to visit, her hosts would have to hide away their most prized possessions in order to keep them!

Queen Mary did love jewelry and was always draped in diamonds and pearls.  The largest of the diamonds are referred to today by Queen Elizabeth as “Grannie’s Chips.”   Mary was one in a long line of Royals for whom duty to the crown was resolute and unwavering.  She never recovered from her son’s abdication and the fact that he had turned his back on his royal duties.

She died at age 85 from lung cancer, another Royal chain smoker, although she is one of the last of the royals to smoke.

  Queen Mary with the two small Princesses, Margaret and Elizabeth along with their mother.  I love how the very serious, young Elizabeth is doing the perfect Royal Wave, just like her grandmother!

 

One thing I found odd about The Crown’s depiction of Queen Mary was her accent.  Queen Mary was of German descent, but she was born in London.  In the movie she speaks with a distinct German accent!  If fact, this must be widely questioned, because if you google “Did Queen Mary have…” Google will automatically finish with “a German accent” meaning that many others in the world are asking the same exact question.

The answer is NO.  She spoke with an English accent.  Like all children whose parents do have an accent, sometimes the child will pick up an inflection of the accent and perhaps the Queen did.  But you can listen to Mary’s actual voice here and it sounds very English to me!  What do you think?  Listen HERE.

The Crown filmed several significant scenes that took place at Marlborough House, where Queen Mary had moved after she moved out of Buckingham Plaza from 1936 until her death in 1953. 

Where exactly IS Marlborough House?

 

Here is a look at the palaces – to the left on The Mall is Buckingham Palace.  Then, there are several important Royal palaces, all in a row.   You can see Clarence House where Prince Charles lives now and the Queen Mother once lived.  To its immediate left is Lancaster House, which The Crown filmed in – it stood in for Buckingham Palace.  To the right of Clarence House is St. James Palace and then Marlborough House where Queen Mary lived as both a Princess and as a Dowager Queen.

 

Looking from the opposite direction is a good aerial view of Marlborough House.  And right next to it is first, the large St. James Palace, and then Clarence House.  This is a surprise to me – look how tiny Clarence House actually is!!  I knew it was small, but for the Prince of Wales to live there – it does seem rather small, especially compared to Lancaster House and St. James Palace and Marlborough House.

And here is a very beautiful view of the palaces on The Mall.  In case you are wondering where Kensington Palace is – it is behind Buckingham Palace, past Hyde Park.  It’s quite a distance from this close conglomeration of royal palaces. 

 

Marlborough House – has an odd layout due to the fact that it sits right behind a row of houses.  The front courtyard is reached through a gate at the back of the houses.  On the other side of Marlborough House, it overlooks a large park that faces The Mall.

 

Marlborough House is almost 300 years old and looks very different from how it was first designed.  Here, you can see a rather beautiful, small, two story house.  Notice the beautiful niches with large sculptures on both floors of the facade. 

The house was designed by Sir Christopher Wren who was commissioned by the Marlborough Family.  Queen Anne had granted the lease on the land to the first Duke of Marlborough so that he could build a city palace.  The Duchess asked only that the palace be cheap and plain since their country house, Blenheim, was to be so lavish!   Marlborough House was noted for its red bricks that had come from Holland.  Five Dukes of Marlborough and their families lived here.  Once the lease was up, the house was then bought back by the Crown.   Since then, it has been lived in by three Dowager Queens, three Princes of Wales, and a future King of Belgium, amongst others.

 

Here, Marlborough House is shown after a renovation when a third floor was added to the wings of the center section.  This changed its simple, beautiful symmetry forever.   Above is the front side of the house, showing the courtyard.  Later, yet another floor was added to the wings and to the center section of the house.    

Before they ascended to the throne, Edward and Alexandra and their large family lived in Marlborough House for over 40 years.  After they moved out, Mary and George moved in.  And in what would prove to be a true cycle, Mary and George then ascended to the throne and Queen Alexandra moved back into Marlborough House where she stayed until her death.   The house remained empty until Queen Mary also became a Dowager and moved back in 1936.   She would be the last royal to live there and thus the cycle was finally broken.

   

King Edward VII's family at Marlborough House, in 1890.  Seen here are his children who grew up here - from left - The Duke of Clarence, Maud, the Queen of Norway, Queen Alexandra, the Princess Royal (Duchess of Fife), King Edward (then Prince of Wales), Prince George (later King George V) and Princess Victoria. 

Queen Mary was first engaged to The Duke of Clarence, on the left.  When he died six weeks later – she then became engaged to his brother Prince George, in front.    I hate to be so superficial, but Prince George was a much better looking man than his brother!   In the end, it all worked out because Mary and George were soul mates and remained faithful throughout their long marriage.  I do wonder if Mary secretly wanted to marry George anyway?

 

  After Alexandra and King Edward moved out of Marlborough House to Buckingham Palace, Mary and George moved into Marlborough House.  Here they are at a garden party there in 1907.  Queen Mary is with three of her children, the future Duke of Gloucester, Mary, Princess Royal,  and King George VI. 

 

 

Today, Marlborough House, shown from the south, garden side – you can see there are now four floors on the wings and three floors on the center section.   These additions have made a huge difference to the interior of the house – its staircases were hurt the most.  Today, the exterior niches are empty, unfortunately, and notice there are now two additional niches along with an oval plaque on the fourth floor!

And today – the North side where the courtyard is.  You can see on the roof, the skylight, along with the third floor, and then the fourth floor.   Also, the entire front of the house on the 1st and 2nd floors was added on to it – it is the projection from the main section of the house.  You can see the addition to the main building from the aerial view best:

In this view – you can plainly see the section that was added onto the main house in the mid 1800s to make more room for Alexandra and Edward’s large family. 

The original floorplan shows the large courtyard with the two wings – and the main building.  You can see how really small the original building was and that is probably why it has been added onto so many times.   The two staircases and the room in between the stairs are the main decorated rooms in the house.

And this revised plan shows the addition of a series of rooms made to the front of the house on the courtyard side.

 

Here is the gate that leads into the courtyard to Marlborough House.  Very tight quarters – as there is a row of houses directly behind Marlborough House. 

Marlborough House Interiors:

The newly added entrance, shown in 1912.  This is one of the block of rooms added to the front courtyard side.

 

Today:   This is how the same room looks – very official, not like a private house anymore.  For some reason, the pretty iron stair rails were removed.  Through the door is the main, square Saloon.

 

The main Blenheim Saloon.  1912.  The saloon was painted when the house was originally built.  The paintings tell the story of the Marlborough family and the battles the first Duke was in.  It’s so interesting how this room was furnished to be used like a living room!  Above the door is the balcony.

And looking toward the fireplace.  Notice the round paintings with the sculptures underneath.  This room is so incredibly beautiful!  It looks like a perfect square and it is double height.

 

Today:  The same square room.   These new photos were taken from the Virtual Tour so the proportions are off a bit.  But here, you can see how beautiful this room is with the fireplace and doors.  The black and white marble floor adds so visually.   

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The balcony with the painting on it leads to two rooms on the second floor.    The square room has four crystal chandeliers – one in each corner.

 

And the top floor balcony – leading into a room.  These three windows overlook the courtyard side.  The saloon’s ceiling never changed heights.  You can see from the aerial views that the roofs of the two additions were built up around the saloon.   The changed ceiling heights were a factor in the stairways though.

 

A night view of the painted ceiling showing the four chandeliers.   So pretty.   The ceiling mural was actually moved here from another building, The Queen’s House – Greenwich, and it had to be cut down a bit to fit into this space. 

Today, the Royals use Marlborough House for events and receptions.  Here, in the Saloon, the Queen listens to a concert.

 

Side Note:  The ceiling mural at Marlborough came from The Queen’s House – Greenwich, a house built in the 17th century by Inigo Jones.  You can see the ceiling of the house – without the mural!!  Isn’t this strange?!?  It stayed like this for almost 400 years, until its anniversary, when an artist was commissioned to paint the ceiling. 

 

Here is how it looks today – finished in a contemporary gold leaf design.  The artist Richard Wright is standing on the balcony.  To read more about the art work (which has to be seen up close to appreciate) – go HERE.

 

At Marlborough - the two staircase rooms flank the square Saloon.  This is one side of the saloon, with its painted walls.

 

  A scene of yet another Marlborough battle.

 

 

Another floor of the staircase room.  Notice how beautiful the stone steps are.  

 

Notice how these paintings look like the niches on the facade of the building.

 

The Drawing Room – full of Victorian decor during Queen Alexandra’s time.  Love the Victorian roundabout!    It looks like they wrapped the columns somehow?  Strange!   At one time the room was divided into three areas, but later was made into one large room.

Here is Queen Mary at Marlborough dressed for the coronation of her son George VI and Queen Elizabeth. 

 

Today – the same Drawing Room is set up as a conference room.  What a shame!!!

Now this is interesting – here is the master bedroom.  This is how it was decorated for Queen Mary – when she lived here as the Princess of Wales, waiting to inherit the title.  Notice the canopy.  The chandelier.  The carpet.  The chaise longue. 1905.

 

And here is the same room – in 1910.  After Mary moved out of Marlborough House to become Queen, the Dowager Queen Alexandra moved back into her old bedroom – which she completely redecorated.  Notice the carpet, the striped wallpaper!  the curtains, headboard, the canopy, the cross!   I love the clock above her husband’s portrait.  I don’t like the chandelier – at all.  Alexandra loved photography and took pictures herself – she has them displayed in all of her houses.   Is that her jewelry in the long display chest?  Which decor do you like better?  I’m going with this room!

 

And so…now, to The Crown.

While Marlborough House is a small palace, the few public rooms are a riot of color with painted walls and ceilings and black and white marble floors.  What house could The Crown chose to stand in for it and replicate it?

The production team chose Hatfield House to stand in for Marlborough House, along with a few other locations too.  Hatfield House is an incredible country estate – located in Hertfordshire.  It is Jacobean and was built in 1611 for the Cecil family, who still occupy the estate.    Behind Hatfield House, there is also the original Royal Palace, which you can see here, to the back left of Hatfield.  This palace was actually the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I!!!  It was built in 1497 and was later seized by King Henry VIII for his own use.  His other children also lived there – besides Elizabeth, King Edward VI and Queen Mary I  both spent much time at the Royal Palace.  As you might suspect, much royal intrigue happened upon these lands.  Elizabeth I’s heir did not like the estate and gave it to his chief minister Robert Cecil which is how the Cecils came to own the land.   The house is in possession of many of Queen Elizabeth I’s artifacts and the famous Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth hangs in the Marble Hall.

So…this is what life looks like if your great-great-great-great-great-etc. grandfather was close friends with Queen Elizabeth I.    Sigh.    My great-great-great-great-etc. grandfather was friends with the tailor from the schtel in Poland!   haha.   Oooh.  I’m cracking myself up. 

From this view, Hatfield does look a tiny bit like Marlborough House because of the red brick.  Notice the contemporary water sculpture which was recently commissioned. 

The first floor of Hatfield House.   Scenes were filmed in the Marble Hall and Staircase on the ground floor.  On the first floor, scenes were filmed in the winter dining room, the library, King James drawing room, and the long gallery.

Hatfield House was chosen by the production team to stand in for Marlborough House, and for several rooms in Windsor Castle, and for a government building.

But first – the facade of Marlborough House was played by…Marlborough House!  Yes!!!

The Crown: What was really interesting is that whenever they showed the exterior of Marlborough House, they actually used the real Marlborough House.  For instance, above - when the Doctor came to see Queen Mary – they filmed him driving into the real Marlborough House courtyard!!   Obviously, the production got permission to film there – which was so surprising to see!   Did you miss that detail?  I did too until I had screencapped this scene!

 

The Crown:  And here, when the Duke of Windsor came to visit his mother, he first gave a press conference.  And this was filmed in the courtyard of the real Marlborough House.

 

Filming The Interiors of Marlborough House:

Hatfield House:  THE ADAM & EVE STAIRCASE. Named for the pictures of Adam and Eve that hang there.  The stairs are from the 17th century while some paneling is from the 19th century.  A few scenes were filmed on these stairs.

 

The Crown:   And here, filmed on the same stairs, the servants get ready to greet the Duke of Windsor as he comes to visit his mother, Queen Mary.

 

Hatfield House:  1886.  The main Drawing Room as it was in the Victorian age.  Huge paintings lined the walls.

 

Hatfield House:  And today.  This room was probably why Hatfield was chosen to stand in for Marlborough House.  The wall to ceiling paintings and the riot of color in this room does remind one of the Blenheim Saloon at Marlborough House.   This is called the King James Drawing Room – because of the life size statue of James I, presented by the King, which stands on the mantle.  Made of stone, the statue is painted to look like bronze.  King James I visited Hatfield House in 1611.  Notice the tapestries that line the walls – the paintings are placed on top of them!

 

Hatfield:  Another view of the room with its floor to ceiling paintings.

 

Earlier this century, when Country Life photographed the house – it was furnished like this.  Notice how fewer paintings hung in the room back then.  And the room was much blander back then.

 

The Crown  - filming in the King James Drawing Room.

 

The Crown:   Here, in 1945, the dowager Queen Mary meets with her son, the Duke of Windsor for the first time in 9 years.  Much of the furniture was cleared out of the room during filming, but the pieces that remained on film came from this room.

 

The Crown:  A view from the other angle.  This room is just stunning.  Much larger than the Saloon in Marlborough House, it does remind one of that room with its painted walls and ceiling.

The Crown:  And later, Cousin Ernst calls to tell Queen Mary what Louis Mountbatten is plotting!  This is when Queen Mary uses a German accent which confused so many people!

Real Life:  The 1945 meeting – Queen Mary and The Duke of Windsor were photographed out in the garden at Marlborough House at their first meeting in nine years.  Neither looks too happy.

The Crown:  Here Queen Mary eats in the Drawing Room – and learns that her son George VI has just died.  That green damask on the chairs and curtains is quite vivid!

 

Hatfield:  Another room used in The Crown is The Winter Dining Room, which, centuries ago, was once a bedroom.  In the 1780s, it was turned into a dining room.  This room was used by the family during the winter months.   A gorgeous set of tapestries surrounds the room.  This house is loaded with original tapestries.  They are worth a small fortune.  In olden days, tapestries served as a type of heater – to keep the cold damp out of the interiors.

 

The Crown:   And here, for the movie, Queen Mary’s bedroom was set up in the Winter Dining Room!  This is the second dining room that the production team turned into a bedroom!   After they removed the dining table, they used the rug, the tapestries and some of the furniture – and brought in the huge bed for the Queen.

 

The Crown:  The two Queens sit in front of the fire.  The sofa and side chairs were brought in for the movie.  That is quite some fireplace!!!

The Crown:   It is a grand room for the Queen and quite believable that she would sleep in such a room.  The damask chairs came with the room.   As for the bed…does it look familiar????

The Crown:  Yes, it’s the same exact bed used for her son, George VI’s bed at Sandringham.

OK – complaint time!!   Apparently Netflix spent $100 million on this production.   How much could it have cost to rent a second bed from a Props Company?  It’s the little details like this that make a show seamless and perfect.  If you are looking at a bed thinking…. “is that the King’s bed?” – you aren’t going to be caught up in the movie’s plot!!    But plain as day, it is the same bed as the one used in Sandringham.    I’m noticing that more and more sets are repeated too during The Crown. The production team will use one room in a stately house for a scene, then reuse the same room in another scene.   There’s no need for that – with all the houses they rented – surely they could find enough rooms so that they don’t have be repeated, two and even three times.

The Crown:   Even though they shared the same bed, at least Queen Mary had her own bed linens.  The King’s were printed linen, hers were silk.

Hatfield:  Seen in an earlier century - The Long Gallery  runs along the south side of the house.  The ceiling is gold leaf.

Hatfield – Here, Queen Victoria came to visit Hatfield House in 1846.  Of course!  King Henry VIII and Elizabeth had lived here! 

 

Hatfield House:  How the hall was once furnished – when Country Life photographed it.  Instead of being a gallery – it was more of a room.

 

The Crown:  The Long Gallery was used for this scene when Queen Mary walks down the hall – but this is no longer supposed to be Marlborough House.  She is now in Windsor Castle – going to see David, her son The Duke of Windsor in the library at Windsor.

Notice that the gallery is now no longer furnished like a room.

 

Hatfield House: The library has over 10,000 books – many from the 16th century.   It used to be two rooms – until 1782 when the wall between the rooms was removed.  The mantel includes a mosaic portrait of Robert Cecil - it was made in Venice in 1608.  The chairs date from 1782 and were recently recovered in Nigerian goatskin to match the original red leather!!  Notice the pilasters along the front of the bookcases.  Such a beautiful library.

 

The Crown:   The library at Hatfield House was used to stand in for Windsor Castle.  After the Queen walks along the Long Gallery – she reaches the Library at Windsor Castle where her son and his girlfriend Wallis await.  He wants to give one final speech to his countrymen but she is against it. 

 

The Crown:   David doesn’t listen to mommy and the Library is turned into a radio station where he broadcasts his final message to his subjects.

 

Hatfield:   The Marble Gallery was built in 1611 and it remains the same today as it was all those centuries before.   Over the years, it has been used as a place to have both banquets and balls.

 

Hatfield House:   The most famous item in the room is the Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1 seen hanging between the doors.

  

The Crown:   The production team used the hall to represent a government building.  Here, Elizabeth gives a speech to the government saying she will be taking the name of Windsor and not Mountbatten.

 

The Crown:  Elizabeth II stands in front of Elizabeth I’s painting.   This might have been very striking in symbolism, except for this:

 

The production used the same Marble Hall and placed Prince Philip in front of the same portrait.  Here in a meeting with the members of the Coronation Committee, of which he was head, Philip speaks to the committee.  The problem is I don’t know if he is supposed to be in the same room as Elizabeth was when she spoke to the government about taking her name or if this is supposed to be another room entirely.  Production Team?  Any clue?

As far as I can tell – that’s all the rooms that were used at Hatfield House – the majority of which represented Marlborough House – and also a few stood in for Windsor Castle and the government offices.   So many movies have been made here at Hatfield House – most recently:   Mr. Holmes, Paddington, Anna Karenina, My Week with Marilyn (!) and The King’s Speech – among many, many others.

A quick word about the stately houses.  Many of the houses that are used in The Crown are stately houses,  built during the times of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I and later.  Royalty at that time would go on what were called “Progress” tours, where they would visit the countryside – and Queen Elizabeth or King James, etc. would stay in these stately houses during these tours.  The bigger, the more extravagant, the better.   This is why there is usually a royal connection with all these stately houses – many were built as lavish and large as they were just so royalty would come and stay.

Here is a painting of Queen Elizabeth I on a Progress Tour.  This is how she would travel, on display, so the people could see her.  I suppose one day in the future people will see the horse drawn carriages that the Queen uses now and will think it looks very strange.

 

In the first two parts of The Crown blog stories,we have seen where they filmed Buckingham Palace, Clarence House,  Sandringham House and now Marlborough House.  Next up is Windsor Castle. 

Windsor Castle:

Very few scenes were actually filmed at Windsor Castle.  As stated above, scenes of the Duke of Windsor at Windsor Castle’s library were filmed at Hatfield House.  There were a few scenes filmed showing Elizabeth and Margaret as young girls at Windsor Castle.

I have never written about Windsor Castle and to do so now would require a book, so I won’t!  In short:  Windsor has such a long and detailed history, having first been built on this land in the 11th century.  When Elizabeth II came to the throne, she decided to make Windsor Castle her primary country estate.  Again, what will Prince Charles do when he inherits the throne?  Will he continue to weekend at Highgrove or will he move to Windsor?  I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays put at Highgrove and turns Windsor Castle over to England. 

The castle is located on the Thames River and it is divided into three wards, Lower, Middle, and Upper.  The famous round castle is in the Middle Ward and the Private Queen and State Apartments are in the Upper Ward.  You can see her private apartments – they are in the section that overlooks the garden on the very right of the above photograph.

 

 

During the Blitz of London in WWII, the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, stayed at Windsor Castle with its fortified walls – where it was believed to be safer than Buckingham Palace.

In 1992, the Queen’s Annus Horribilus – Windsor caught on fire on November 20th (my birthday!) and burned for over 15 hours, damaging over 100 rooms.  The fire and water damage was extensive – it took five years and over 37 million pounds to restore Windsor Castle. 

The fire – the most damage was in the State Apartment wing and a bit of the Private Apartment wing.  The fire spread through the voids in the upper parts of the ceilings.  Already under restoration at the time of the fire, much of the finest art work and furniture was already moved out, which was a godsend.

 

The stunning Green Drawing Room had water damage as opposed to fire damage.  Today it is totally restored.

 

And here is the Queen in her private apartment at Windsor with her toile slipcovers!!!  Love!!!!

 

And another picture of the Royal couple on their toile sofa!  Couldn’t resist – those white socks, too cute! 

 

In The Crown – whenever they showed a scene at Windsor Castle – they first showed an actual picture of the castle like this so you would know the scene was taking place at Windsor:

 

The very few scenes shot at Windsor took place in a few different locations.   As previously seen, the Duke of Windsor’s scenes were filmed in the library at Hatfield House.  Other scenes were filmed at Audley End.

 

This charming mansion, Audley End, was used to film a few key scenes of the girls.

Audley End is an interesting “Prodigy House” – which is a nobleman’s house that is fine enough to be a palace, but isn’t.   From the Tudor, Elizabethan and Jacobean periods only, Prodigy Houses were built big enough to hopefully attract Queen Elizabeth I to stay there, as she traveled through the country.   Audley End in Essex was one such house.  It was built so that Elizabeth would come and visit.   The house was once two-thirds larger than it is today, but over the centuries, parts of it were torn down.   First built in the 1500s, later Capability Brown designed the grounds and Robert Adam built new neoclassic rooms.

                                

The Great Hall at Audley End – centuries before today, it was furnished with just a few chairs and tables.  Love the dog!

 

Today:  Looking in the opposite direction.   This room looks exactly the same today, centuries later. Twin stone stairs lead to the second floor.   Stone floor, cream with black.   The Robert Adam neoclassical suite of rooms are from a different era than this section of the mansion.

 

The Crown:   Several scenes took place in the Great Hall at Audley End which stand in for Windsor Castle.  These scenes were mostly of Elizabeth studying how to be a proper Queen.  Here the two princesses take classes next to the fire and the two space heaters!  They are learning etiquette here. 

 

The Crown:  And a view of the opposite direction, showing the arched red door.  The girls study with the their tutor at Windsor Castle. 

 

And there is this room at Audley End.  This is the original nursery suite that was used in past centuries.  The suite was abandoned decades ago, but the house recently restored the suite, creating a darling attraction for the tourists.

The site covers several rooms.  The Crown chose to use this room to recreate the girl’s room at Windsor Castle:

 

The Crown:  And here, the grown Queen Elizabeth requests her childhood notebook be found – which the footmen are seen doing here in her old nursery – that is actually the Audley End restored nursery.  Not sure where that fabulous bed came from. 

 

And of course, there is BALMORAL:

Last year, I wrote a long blog story about Balmoral, the private royal residence in Scotland – to read it, go HERE.

When the time came to film in Scotland, the crew chose to shoot the outdoors scenes in the northern country, but the interior scenes were actually filmed in England.

Balmoral, the private estate of the Queen, located in the Highlands of Scotland.  The Queen spends the late summer year here and usually, her Prime Minister comes for a short stay, which is shown on one of the episodes. 

The Crown:   Exterior shots of Balmoral were filmed at this estate, Ardverikie.  It is interesting that the producers chose this estate to film at because it has a very real connection to Balmoral!!

Before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Balmoral – they first stayed in a few different houses in the area. The Marquess of Abercorn, "one of the trend setters in the emerging interest in deer stalking in Scotland"  and a Groom of the Stool to Prince Albert (don’t ask me what that is!) rented Ardverikie for years.  The Queen and Albert came to stay with the Marquess.  It was right after this stay that Victoria and Albert bought Balmoral – just an hour away from Ardverikie.  Her doctor had recommended the clear Scottish air for Victoria – as the air and the water were so unhealthy in England, as we saw in the Great Smog episode.

Ardverikie does look remarkably like Balmoral, just smaller.    Unfortunately, the estate was used only for the exteriors, nothing was filmed inside.

 

The royals love Balmoral – where they eat outdoors in the freezing air of northern Scotland.  The Queen Mum had her own house on the estate and she also had a tiny cottage where the family would have picnics.  Here is the Queen Mum at her cottage with her corgis, having a picnic.  It looks freezing!

 

 

The Prince and Anne, the Princess Royal, at a picnic at Balmoral.   Philip is said to be an expert at bbq.

 

The Crown:   The series filmed several scenes in the Scottish Highlands.  These are the prettiest of the series, as the landscape is unparalleled.

 

The Crown:   The royals fly fish on the River Dee and here the actors recreate a happy scene, although The Duke of Edinburgh is rarely shown to be happy in the series.

 

The Crown:   The Queen and PM Anthony Eden take a drive in the Highlands.  Again, these scenes are gorgeous and show off Scotland’s rugged beauty.

 

The Crown:  The Queen and Eden step out of the jeep to talk on top of this mountain!!

 

The interiors at Balmoral were filmed here at – Knebworth House:

Knebworth House was first built in the 15th century in Hertfordshire.   Over the centuries, it has been expanded on and then reduced and then remodeled.  Its interiors stood in for Balmoral, since the exteriors of Balmoral were filmed at the look-alike Ardverikie castle.

 

Knebworth House: The entrance is filled with suits of armor.  This house was chosen to fill in for Balmoral because it does look Scottish, although it is really located in Hertfordshire. 

 

The Crown:  The Prince and Princess Margaret have a private conversation in the entry hall.  The help pretends not to listen.

 

The Crown:   Princess Margaret walks from the Drawing Room into the entry.

 

Knebworth:  The Great Hall with its stone floors was the setting for a lively ballroom scene.  This hall has a different type of wainscot – it looks like brick sized stone with black grout.

 

The Crown:   The Queen hosts an annual Ghillies ball at Balmoral.  Here, the ball was filmed in the Great Hall at Knebworth House.

 

The Crown:   The band is up in the gallery, while the guests dance a Scottish reel.

 

And here is the real Balmoral ballroom – how it looked in the 1880s.   This ballroom looks very similar to the hall at Knebworth.  Good pick, Production Team!

 

Knebworth House:   The saloon is a long room that is L-shaped.

 

The Crown:  It looks like the Production team did not change a thing for the scenes in this room.  They kept it exactly the same.  Several scenes were filmed in this saloon.

 

The Crown:   The Queen finishes her talk with her new Prime Minister Eden – who has a secret drug addiction.  I love those red velvet chairs.

 

The Crown:   The family sits in the back of the L portion of the room.  The bar is set up behind the sofa.   The Queen Mum and Princess Margaret were known to like a daily drink or two or three.  The production team added the bar.

 

And then there was this.  The production team used this same library to represent two different houses.   First, they used this beautiful library at Wrotham Park to stand in for the library at Buckingham Palace.   The scenes with Queen Elizabeth and her older male tutor were filmed in this library.

 

And then, they used the same exact library to represent the library at Balmoral.  By filming only the bay window, it doesn’t look like the same room.  But – eagle eyes spotted it!  Here Princess Margaret watches the TV newsreel while it reports that PM Eden is back home – and he does come directly to Balmoral.  It’s interesting to note that The Crown uses the film reels to announce events, as seen by this clip.  We are told Eden is back in England, which explains why he shows up in the next scene at Balmoral. 

Knebworth:   There is this one bedroom at the stately house...

 

 

The Crown:  …which was used for Philip’s room at Balmoral.

 

The Crown:   And then, there was stunner – the secretary’s beautiful, small bedroom where he took a quick phone call.   That gorgeous wallpaper!  I didn’t think I would find where it was filmed and didn’t even try to since the scene wasn’t connected with a stately home.

Knebworth:  So, it was exciting to glimpse THAT exact bedroom at Knebworth!  In person, the room isn’t nearly as pretty, the carpet needs replacing and the linens look worn, while the curtains are faded and limp.  But – the production team cleaned it up a bit, added new silk striped bedding and pillows and photographed it so that the carpet wasn’t seen.

Besides Balmoral, there was another Scottish story revolving around the Queen Mother. 

The Castle of Mey:

The Crown:  Slains Castle stands in for the Castle of Mey, the Queen Mother’s castle in the northern most tip of Scotland.  It is so far north that it is a five hour drive from Balmoral, which is very isolated itself!  

 

The Crown:  Above, Slains Castle overlooks the North Sea in the Highlands of Scotland.  Today, it is a ruin, and it was here that the exteriors of Castle of Mey before it was restored by the Queen Mother were filmed.

Today:  The Castle of Mey as it now looks, completely restored by the Queen Mother.

The Duke of Windsor, Paris:

In Paris, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived in this beautiful manse in the Bois de Boulogne region.

The Facade:

The Crown:  To recreate their house, the production team used several locations.  First, there is the facade of the house shown above.  In the movie the house looked like this.  But in real life, it looks a bit different: 

 

The Crown:   Here is how the facade actually looks, bigger and more imposing than on the screen, which the Production Team probably wanted to downplay since the Duke’s house was not nearly this big.  The exterior is a Buckinghamshire house built in 1883 for Alfred Rothschild – called Halton House.   When built, Halton House was widely panned by critics who didn’t like the too French facade and it was called an "exaggerated nightmare."   With no heirs, Alfred Rothschild left the house to his nephew who also hated it so much, he promptly sold it in 1918.  Today – the RAF owns it!  It is used as a mess for the RAF and for film locations, of course.

 

The Interiors:

The Crown:   Once the film shows the Halton facade – the camera enters into this foyer – in a completely other house – The West Wycombe Estate (maybe the prettiest house used on this film – it’s gorgeous!)    Notice the Duke and Duchess of Windsor on the staircase.  This is a funny scene where the former royals do an interview with a magazine – for badly needed money.

West Wycombe Estate:   And here is the foyer as it actually looks.  GORGEOUS!!!!   Madonna chose to use this house as a major location for her own movie “W.E.” also about the Windsors (which I really like, btw.)  It’s a shame that more of the house wasn’t used for The Crown!

The Crown:  In this night scene, during a Mask Party the couple had, the yellow marble entry was used once again.

 

And here, is the actual foyer of the house where the Windsors lived.  It does look similar to the one used in the movie.  It is so beautiful, isn’t it?  Their house was so fabulous.

The Crown:   Most of the scenes of the Windsors Paris manse were actually filmed on the same soundstage that the Queen’s private quarters in Buckingham Palace were filmed. 

 

The Crown:   Here is the Windsor’s drawing room that was constructed entirely on the soundstage – where the private Buckingham Palace rooms were also built.  Notice the same wide dark plank floors – that’s always a dead giveaway that the scene was built on the soundstage!  The famous settee of this set looks Swedish to me – not French.

The Crown:  Here, at the party to watch the coronation, the scene was filmed on the soundstage’s drawing room.

 

And here is a photograph of the Windsor’s actual drawing room.  You can see the film tried to recreate it.

 

The Crown:   This scene in the bedroom was slightly vulgar.  Sharing a cigarette in bed, the Duke makes a proposition for the Duchess.  All I could think of – please, lord, don’t let the Queen be watching this!!!!  Please!!!!  You can tell this was filmed on the soundstage because those rooms all lack the fabulous architectural detail found in the true mansion locations.  Pretty bed though!  And it’s French, not Swedish!!

The Crown:  Here, the famous pug pillows on the settee were recreated for the movie.

 

In real life, here is a picture of the Windsor’s bedroom with the pug pillows.  Notice how this room was almost exactly recreated for the movie – the alcove around the bed formed by the doors, the French settee, the French bed, and the light blue walls.  Good job Production Team!!

The Crown:  Here is another view of the bedroom – showing how big it was built out on the soundstage.   The butler holds the mirror for the Duke.  Something tells me that this is probably something that really did happen.

 

And in real life, the Duchess’s bedroom – showing the other side with her sitting area.  I just love her bedroom!  So classic and timeless. 

 

The Crown:  At the end of their coronation party, the Duke plays bagpipes outside his French house – which was filmed in the Halton House gardens. 

 

Louis Mountbatten:

Prince Philip’s uncle was the very handsome and debonair Louis, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was also the last Viceroy of India.  Both Louis and his brother were mentors to Philip.  Queen Elizabeth was also related to Louis who was a direct descendent of Queen Victoria, as she was his Great-Grandmother.

Prince Charles was, as well, very close to Mountbatten – who had wanted Charles to marry his granddaughter.  Mountbatten’s OTHER granddaughter is India Hicks – the designer/social media personality who lives in the Bahamas.  India wrote that she and her mother were watching The Crown and I felt so badly for her mother – watching the way her dear father was portrayed.  It must have hurt to watch The Crown and see the long departed Queen Mary chastising her father behind his back.

 

Both the Queen and Philip and Charles and Diana spent part of their honeymoons at Broadlands the estate where Mountbatten lived.   Here are the Royals at Broadlands on their honeymoon.

Here, the royal couple returned to Broadlands to celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.   Today, the Queen and Prince and Charles and Camilla are both very close to the current Earl and his wife, although they separated for a few years, which sparked a sensational tabloid story.

 

And here, a photo of the stately Broadlands.  What house did The Crown choose to stand in for Broadlands?

 

The Crown:   The production team chose Loseley Park, a Grade I house.  And unusually for The Crown, both the facade and the interiors of Loseley Park were used to replicate Broadlands.  Above, at a shooting party, Louis walks up to his house, Broadlands.

Like many other English stately houses, Loseley Park has Royal connections.  The house was built in the mid 1500s to replace a former one that stood on the property – because Queen Elizabeth deemed it too small and inadequate for her to stay and visit.  She did eventually approve the newly built house and she came to Loseley Park to stay, as did James 1. 

 

This is Broadland’s Drawing Room, a gorgeous space decorated in part by the iconic David Hicks, son in law of Louis Mountbatten. It was Mountbatten’s heir who hired Hicks – who then admitted he had been waiting over 20 years to get a chance to decorate the house.  Here

 

Loseley Park:  And here is the house that was chosen to stand in for the magnificent Broadlands.  Loseley Park is very pretty, but…but…in my opinion, it can’t hold a candle to the real Broadlands.  

 
Loseley Park:  Look at that mantel!!!!!!   It’s a bit scary!!!  It’s a pretty room though – the windows are so nice. My favorite part of the room are the two oval portraits that flank this window!

Loseley Park:  The other side of the drawing room. 

 

The Crown:   And here, at one of the scenes shot at Loseley Park for The Crown - a weekend shooting party.

Loseley Park:   The crown jewel in the Jacobean house is the Great Hall.  The large portrait is of the original owners.  Hanging in this room is a very rare portrait of Anne Boleyn.  

The Crown:  A very important scene was filmed in this room – where Louis Mountbatten toasts to the Royal’s new name Mountbatten, not Windsor.

 

And here are a few minor scenes that I found:

There are several “Private Member’s Clubs” in London.  Once, only men were allowed inside, but more recently women have been admitted to these clubs.  Some clubs were more academically minded, with large libraries.  Others were more for pleasure - eating and drinking were their main attractions.    They are all housed in magnificent buildings located on Pall Mall.  Above is one such club - The Athenaeum – that houses an incredible library.

Another room in that club is a large library/drawing room with pink carpet and curtains with celadon walls.

The Crown:  And it was in this beautiful room that a party was filmed – where Princess Margaret stands in for her sister and gives a speech that is deemed embarrassing to the royals.  Once the Queen comes back in town, Margaret is given a lecture for her behavior at this party.

  The Crown:  The room is so pretty with tall book shelves, mirrors, green walls and yellow columns – in between windows with pink curtains.

Another members only club on Pall Mall is called The Reform Club.   The beautiful building is seen above.  I do wonder how many private clubs in all are located on Pall Mall? 

 

The central atrium in the Reform Club.  So ornate.  I can only imagine how much it must cost to belong to a club such as this!

 

The Crown:   The scene where PM Anthony Eden goes to Cairo to meet with Nasser was filmed at The Reform Club.  It is rumored that this story line is going to play a big part in Season Two.

  Here are a few books that go along with the story:

A new book written by India Hicks and her mother which details Lady Pamela’s incredible life.  To order, click on the book.

 

An earlier book written by Pamela Mountbatten about India and her family.  To order, click on the cover!

 

And India Hick’s latest book.  Now does her name make more sense?   To order, click on the cover!

 

This is THE book about the Queen’s jewels.  Pricey, but if you are into jewels – this is the one book to own! 

 

This is a much older book, and much cheaper  – I own it and use it for research.  It’s beautiful and timeless.  The cover is a classic.

The Queen’s best friend and cousin.  She just passed away.  She probably knows the Queen better than almost anyone.

#1 NEW BOOK OUT ON AMAZON!!  I haven’t seen it yet – but it looks so great.  Fifty trailers in Palm Springs, all different – made into homes.  Order today – just click on the cover.

 

Looking for gifts, antiques, accessories?  Visit Maison & Co!!  HERE.

45 comments :

  1. You really should write a book. Your research is phenomenal.
    Funny that you pointed out the space heaters. Scrolling down, I had started to wonder how they managed to heat those huge volumes of space. And then I hit the space heaters.
    I want to add that I have been doing curtains for weeks and have relied heavily on your past posts for guidance. Thank you so much!

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  2. Thank you for a wonderful post and superb pictures! The King James Drawing Room as filmed for The Crown series is particularly wonderful.
    It's not surprising that Queen Mary spoke German fluently, as was shown in the series during her meeting with her German relative who was there to let her know about Mountbatten's plans. Both her parents were really German (though her mother was also a member of the British Royal family) and they would often all have spoken German in private at home. Queen Victoria was of German extraction on both sides and her husband, Prince Albert, was German. Their children spoke fluent German en famille (as well as English) from early childhood - most also spoke fluent French. Albert of course spoke with a German accent and most of his children were considered to have slight or in some cases moderately heavy German accents. In the clip you've linked to, Queen Mary doesn't sound German - but she doesn't sound like an upper class English native speaker either. More like someone who has attained native speaker proficiency level - though her accent, intonation and stress were a little different from those of the purely English upper classes of those days.
    Have always been interested in her as many years ago we knew her niece quite well. She was the daughter of Queen Mary's brother, Prince Alexander of Teck (who gave up this German title during WWI) and Queen Victoria's last surviving grand-daughter, Princess Alice. We often used to stay with her at her house in Windsor Great Park. She was a great raconteur.
    Queen Mary was so well played by Eileen Atkins - she captured the dignity, strict personal control, intelligence and concern for George VI and his children. While Mountbatten was clever, dashing and something of a charmer - his ambition and strategic planning to bring his branch of the family to a pre-eminent position was much disliked by "top" members of the Royal Family of those days.
    It probably explains why Prince Philip was so misguided and unrealistic about his role as consort. Blind Freddy would have known that the consort to a Queen has only a ceremonial and public relations role (important support though that is, apart form his duties as husband and father). But Philip found this difficult to come to terms with, even though he had known for years that he'd been selected by Mountbatten for this role. Perhaps because Mountbatten had encouraged him from his youth to think he could be the power behind the throne (as in fact Prince Albert came to be to a large extent with Queen Victoria). As the series reveals so well - this led to serious difficulties in their marriage after Queen Elizabeth came to throne, as he struggled to try to assert himself and his authority. Best wishes, Pamela

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    1. How fascinating!!! catching up on the comments this weekend. I can't believe you know her niece so well, or at all!!!! Very interesting. Thanks for all the information. !!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. We knew her and her wonderful husband (very down to earth and charismatic) when we lived in England while my husband was studying at Cambridge. They were already quite old then but went on to live well into their 80s, Lady May died only about 12 years ago I think. They both had strong personalities and were fascinating speakers. You had to decide over the dining table which one you were going to listen to as they sometimes both spoke at the same time, telling quite involved separate stories. My hubby generally listened to her husband and I listened to her. Though of course sometimes the conversation was general at small dinners/meals. Lady May, as a great grand daughter of Queen Victoria, was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon to George VI (then Duke of York) and the Queen as a girl was a bridesmaid at Lady May's wedding.
      One evening while we were staying with them we returned to their house quite late from a regimental dinner but neither had remembered to bring their house keys. They both got quite a bit annoyed with each other. Since the servants were all asleep, no one answered the door and we stood outside in the cold. Lady May's husband finally began picking up pebbles from the gravel and kept throwing them at the attic windows (way above) to wake the servants. Luckily he'd been a good cricket player and some of his pebbles connected and had the desired effect. I couldn't stop laughing. I'm sure this would have become one of their lesser stories. Pamela

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  3. I love your posts, but have had enough of your mean-spirited comments regarding personal taste and even Queen Mary's natural hair! Dear heavens, I'm sure you are perfect with never a flaw in your life. That's it for me. I'll unsubscribe. Yikes, glad I don't live anywhere near you!

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    1. omg! haha. Have you ever seen MY hair? It's exactly like Mary's! I call it a bad hair life. I'm sorry you feel this way, but part of blogging is offering a critical viewpoint or opinion. Otherwise it would be very boring.

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  4. Superb! What a wonderful analysis of it all....you better get yourself on a plane and head over to experience it! You are pretty amazing woman!

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  5. The Brits call space heaters "electric fires," and they are used extensively to augment the heat for the rooms of the royal household. Remember that there might not be central heating in houses which are sometimes hundreds of years old, and fires don't warm an entire room. The Groom of the Stool position still exists today, albeit in an entirely different function. It began under Henry VIII. A 'close stool' was, in essence, a toilet, which was rather like an adult version of a potty chair. Remember that there was no plumbing in the 16th century. The groom of the stool's function was to escort and assist the rather rotund and unhealthy Henry to er, perform his bodily functions, shall we say? Rather a nasty job, but the most intimate of the court positions. The position evolved into something entitled Groom of the Stole, a sort of dresser, but is now called Groom of the Stool again, albeit not for that purpose. Luckily for the person who holds the title, they are not required for the role played by the man in Henry's time, but it is still held by a upper member of the royal household.
    Joni, these posts are really delightful, and are enlightening for many who might not be familiar with the ins and outs of royal life. Thank you for your hard work, and for the many photographs.

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    1. thanks for the info! I should have stopped to look it up, but sometimes I just have to plow through or it would never be finished. How did you know this!!?!!?!

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  6. Joni, fabulous post! The detail and the time you take to take us on such wonderful "house" tours...amazing! Loved this series, and love seeing the various castles and "houses" in different time periods. Thank you! Although I specialize in French antiques at FrenchGardenHouse, the English antiques shown also are quite able to make my heart beat faster.

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  7. Wonderful series of posts and such fun to peak into all the stand in "houses"too - thank you!

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  8. Amazing & delightful, as always. I enjoyed every frame and word. And I must say this: whatever comment you make or opinion your express is never taken as mean-spirited by me.....this is your blog and you may say whatever you wish, whenever you wish, without apology. Good heavens! Love you, Joni...and Happy New Year!

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  9. You did such research for this post; thank you. Someday, I hope you will mention Queen Mary's dolls house. A gift from the people, built by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Built to a 1:12th scale, filled with items made by top artists and craftsmen of the time, to serve as an historical document on how a royal family might have lived during that period in England. It is Fantastic!
    Thank you,
    Deri

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    1. I should! It's at Windsor. I've never seen it, but I love those doll houses that royals had made. they were incredible.

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  10. Wonderful research and eagle eyes. You missed your calling as a production assistant. Now wouldn't that be a fun job on such grand historical dramas?

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  11. Great posts - loving them all - speaking of great brits, Houston lost one in Brian Stringer. He made so many Houston homes and decorators.

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    1. I know. My sister in law is good friends with he and Kathi. It's the end of era. He was one of a kind. What an eye that man had!!!! So talented.

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  12. http://www.reformclub.com/home/membership/fees - The Reform Club fees. Not too pricey but perhaps membership is the difficult part. Love all your comments and posts!!

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  13. Ahhh, Joni, once again you've knocked it out of the park. Your devotion to detail shows in every single word and photo. I have loved this series so very much. I got onto GoogleMaps and had to see how all the residences related to each other as to distance, and I was quite surprised they are so close together in London. I've visited a few, like all tourists, but this series has absolutely captivated me. Claire Foy was on late night last evening ahead of the Golden Globes, whe is so young & absolutely perfect in this role. In person, she appears very animated, not at all like The Queen. Brilliant posts, as usual. Happy New Year! Go Texans !!!

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    1. Claire is so different!!! I know!!!!!!! She holds her arms and hands exactly like elisabeth. the only thing is she seems a bit more feminine. QE always seemed more handsome than beautiful to me. I'm just so happy she finally appeared in public today. Apparently she had a very nasty cough.

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  14. I am astonished at the amount of work you must have put into this post. You must have had great fun and much interest in its doing, and it shows in your examination of all the rooms and all the historical detail you have shared! Thank you!

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  15. Joni,
    After scrolling through another of your extensive posts, I was just wondering how you do it; spending hours, undoubtedly, searching and assembling these extensive stories? I don't even have a blog, and I have a really hard time keeping up with housecleaning, laundry, shopping, errands, cooking, friends, husband, sleep, and everything else that sucks time in life. It's overwhelming these days; I just can't keep up! How do you do it? Do you have household help?
    Sheila

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    1. I dont sleep much and blogging is my job I guess. I do have a housekeeping once a week. But it's just Ben and I and we tend to be rather low maintenance. haha.

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  16. Dear Joni,
    Thank you so much for the fun post! According to Christopher Simon Sykes, the reason the entrance to Marlborough House is placed to the side of the house is because the Duchess had quarrelled with Sir Robert Walpole (prime minister and the builder of Houghton). In order to spite her, he bought up all the lots on Pall Mall in the front of Marlborough House that would have given the house a dignified entrance. He also removed the privilege so she could not enter through St. James' Park, therefore she was required to place the entrance on the side which barely had enough clearance for her coach and horses.
    Have a wonderful New Year!
    Lisa Singleton Boudiette

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    1. haha! that is hysterical. Love this!!!

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  17. Dear Joni,

    The BBC's online channel BBC iplayer is showing a documentary about George V and Queen Mary called 'George V and Queen Mary, The Royals who saved the Monarchy'. Not sure if you can get it in America as it might be geoblocked, but it is available on youtube if you want to watch it. Lots of fascinating background information about Mary.

    Also, she wasn't exactly the most eligible catch. The British royals, like other royal houses, only married other royals and there was a dearth of eligible women of the right rank. May was the lowest rang that a royal could be because her father was only a 'serene highness' as opposed to a 'royal highness' and her parents were poor relations dependant on Victoria's largesse. Other Royals looked down on the family for their poverty and especially their rank.

    Victoria needed to find a suitable royal bride with German AND English ties so May got lucky. Twice. And i think being rescued from a life of penury and being elevated to the highest royal position/rank, better than those snobby royal relations forged her devotion to duty and loyalty to the British crown. After her own lucky elevation, i think she couldn't reconcile herself to David's deserting his position. Not just to country and crown, but also relinquishing his status for someone who wasn't royal and worse someone who wasn't an aristocrat. It would have been so uncomprehensible to anyone in her circles. The British royals had only just began to allow their kids to marry outside the royal club, even aristocrats like the Queen Mother were seen as marrying down,necessity rather than desirable, so for David to go so far down was truly shocking.

    Btw, the link you've attached is George V's voice NOT May.

    Finally, whilst the royal family spoke English in public, they were raised speaking German at home. Including May. Contemporaries of all of that generation of British royals said that their public speaking voices were english enough, but in private, when relaxed or with each other, their accents had a strong German lilt.

    A Historian

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    1. ETA: Groom of the stool = a person who helps the monarch (or in this case Prince Albert) with bodily functions and abslutions. This was a very desirable post to have at court because of the intimacy involved and being the person with intimate knowledge of the King's person/condition etc. Such knowledge was priceless and worth a fortune to anyone who plotted against the King, including foreign rulers and also the privy council's structuring of policy, domestic and foreign. It also gave the person a chance to speak to the King privately without interference from courtiers etc, a chance to influence them.

      A Historian

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    2. A Historian
      If you continue listening to the link, you will find that Queen Mary's speech follows her husband's address.
      Yes, May and her brother Alexander were Serene Highnesses, as was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg. After his marriage to Queen Victoria he was accorded the title, Royal Highness. But he had to live down the same negatives as the Tecks in their generation, having also been regarded as of lesser rank than the British Royal family and quite hard up. It's true that the Victorian royals were raised speaking German at home but at the same time they also spoke English en famille - they were a bilingual family and the parents understood the importance of their children speaking fluent English from the earliest age. In Victoria's family the children also learned to speak French. For their parents' 12th wedding anniversary, the children with Princess Vicki as the lead, acted scenes from a play by Racine. Pamela

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    3. Should read Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Pamela

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    4. Thank you Pamela, didn't get that far.

      One of the biographers/talking heads in the documentary i recommend says that during his research, he met people who were descendants of ex-royal staffers of the Victorian royals who confirmed the German lilt to their english accents. It was stronger in private than in public. May having grown up with her Victorian cousins allegedly had a similar lilt to her voice.

      Re-rankings in the royal club. It must be a nightmare for non-royals who join because these people take their rankings seriously. The Russian royal family, such as it exists today, will disown anyone who marries below their rank. Not just in terms of commoner vs royal, but a 'Royal Highness' marrying a 'Serene Highness'. One can only imagine the snobby attitudes to the Monaco royals for being low ranked 'Serene Highnesses'

      A Historian

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    5. Thank you both1!!!!!! Love all the info. I"ll try to find that show today!!!!!! thank you so much.

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    6. Yes, so true. Agree about the Grimaldis. If you look into their family tree and behaviour of a couple of generations back and also the founding members (in particular how they acquired Monaco and were styled princes - there's a picture proudly, or at least without shame, displayed in the palace in Monte Carlo of a couple of men in monks' habits with daggers hidden, but just showing under the necklines). There are a number of factors why they would be sniffed at by the British Royals and the Russians. Think the only real reason they now have so much celebrity, in comparison with other minor princes, is that Rainer married Grave Kelly, so admired and loved around the world.
      The Russian royal family must have great difficulty finding enough "Royal" Highnesses to marry into! Probably risk becoming in-bred and dotty. The murder of the last Czar and his wife and children was a great crime but when you read Russian history and visit the palaces you can so easily understand why there was a revolution. Just one fairly frivolous example, the Czarina loved fresh flowers and plants - so every day a special train used to travel from the Crimea carrying them for her. Rather endearing in a way - but on the other hand appalling. Pamela

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    7. Ooops! Rainier! Pamela

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  18. I just wanted to leave a comment here to thank you for all the detailed, thorough work you put into these tours and history lessons. I've always enjoyed your lessons on the great homes and their histories. I loved the Outlander posts you've done, the "Ellen" posts, Robert Pattison homes, and all the British & Royal homes you've covered and I am embarrassed to say I have never left you a comment to tell you how much I have enjoyed them and appreciate your work. But alas, better late than never! Your series on "The Crown" has blown me away. Thank you again for taking such time and care in these tours.

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    1. Thank you so much!!!! You are sweet. Much appreciated. I still love Twilight tho. haha!!

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  19. Salute to Claire Foy and "The Crown" for both wining Golden Globe awards. So well deserved! And salute to Meryl Streep!!! Best wishes, Pamela

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  20. Spectacular! Thank you so much for this stunning post! I will be revisiting this again!I am looking forward to watching "The Crown."
    Anne-Marie

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