Inside The Stunning Spaces Of Netflix’s The Crown
On November 4th, viewers all over the world got their first taste of Netflix’s latest series, The Crown. Brought to you by the team behind The Queen — the blockbusting 2006 movie for which Helen Mirren won a Best Actress Oscar — this is sure to be an incredibly addictive show. But before you check out the first few episodes of the buzzed-about period drama (or settle in for a marathon session) take a peek at the high-budget sets that were modelled on the real royal spaces. From the gilded halls of Buckingham Palace to the austere rooms of 10 Downing Street, the attention to detail is simply stunning.
The grand halls, state rooms, and public rooms of Buckingham Palace serve as the primary backdrop for Queen Elizabeth II’s rise to power in The Crown. Here, viewers get a look at her life as King George VI’s daughter and her budding relationship with Prince Philip, the future Duke of Edinburgh.
Dramatically illuminated with warm light and candelabrum, the Palace set looks almost as opulent as the real thing. The recreation of the famed bronze “grand staircase” — originally designed by architect John Nash — is particularly jaw-dropping.
The Palace’s state rooms, on the other hand, are appropriately austere, featuring plenty of portraiture and dark wood panelling. (Actor Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame, pictured above, gives a nuanced portrayal of a young Prince Philip.)
Lead actor Claire Foy plays the young Queen Elizabeth II. The first season covers her ascension to the throne and the early years of her reign.
The Palace’s private rooms serve to depict a more human side of the monarchy. They’re where Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) often meets with her father’s “equerry,” or official aide, former Royal Air Force Captain Peter Townsend (Ben Miles) — a romance that was the source of much controversy in real life.
Some of the most breathtaking scenes in The Crown take place in Westminster Abbey, where the real Queen Elizabeth married Prince Philip on November 20th, 1947. Ely Cathedral in Ely, Cambridgeshire, stands in for the famed Abbey, sharing some of its imposing Gothic architecture.
The final effect is majestic, with Foy at center stage playing a nervous, but resolute Elizabeth. In the scene, humbly-dressed members of the public stand on either side of the aisle — a nod to the austerity of post-war Britain.
Another key backdrop for the series is the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. Its quiet façade and official state rooms contrast starkly with the splendor of the Palace. Here, a newly appointed Winston Churchill (played by a gruff John Lithgow) poses outside Number 10’s iconic black door, giving his signature “V” for victory.
Many scenes involving Churchill take place in the building’s private quarters, where the politician is depicted discussing strategy. Traditional mahogany furniture and fine art match the handsome decor of the real 10 Downing Street.
Lush vacation homes also feature heavily in The Crown. Here, we see The Queen Mother (Victoria Hamilton) and Princess Margaret in a balmy sitting room decorated with tropical flowers and botanical prints.
Viewers can also look forward to a portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. Royal-aficionados will appreciate the series’ thoughtful recreation of the pointed wooden throne from the real ceremony.