On location with “The Crown”

Windsor Castle. | Photo by Anton Ivanov via 123RF.
Windsor Castle. | Photo by Anton Ivanov via 123RF.

On location with “The Crown”

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

One of my favorite shows to binge-watch during a chilly fall weekend (okay, more like a day) is “The Crown” on Netflix. Filled with plenty of royal intrigue and scandal, “The Crown” follows the saga of the House of Windsor and struggles of the British monarchy. Beginning with the marriage of the future Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Philip in the first season, the show's fourth season chronicles the doomed relationship of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. The upcoming fifth season will be released on Nov. 9. While the series features plenty of drama based on real-life events, the exquisitely ornate palaces become their own character. Because many of the actual locations are still in use, many scenes are filmed in other locations around the U.K.

Buckingham Palace. The official residence of the British monarchy, it takes many different locations to get the scenes just right. Most of the interior is filmed at Lancaster House, Wrotham Park and Wilton House. Lancaster House is just five minutes from Buckingham Palace. Located in Salisbury, Wilton House has also been prominently featured in several movie adaptations of Jane Austen novels such as “Emma” and “Sense and Sensibility.” The outdoor shots were filmed at both the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich and Moorpark Mansion.

Westminster Abbey | Photo by coward_lion via 123RF. 

Westminster Abbey. As the young Elizabeth walks down the aisle on her wedding day, it feels like an almost perfect replication of the imposing Westminster Abbey in central London. However, filming actually took place closer to RAF Lakenheath at Ely Cathedral. This stunning house of worship dates back to the 7th century when a monastery was founded on the site. The current iteration of the church was built in 1083 and became a cathedral in 1109.

Windsor Castle. Since Windsor Castle is one of the primary residences of the royal family in real life, it’s pretty difficult to get permission to film (don’t even think of taking out your phone on an interior tour unless you want to get yelled at). Most of the scenes that take place at this iconic castle are filmed at Belvoir Castle and Burghley House, both of which are near RAF Alconbury. St. George’s Chapel (where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were wed) is replicated at the beautiful Southwark Cathedral in London.

Balmoral Castle | Photo by iweta0077 via 123RF.

Balmoral Castle. The favorite Scottish royal hideaway is featured heavily during the second and fourth seasons of “The Crown.” Filming for this massive estate took place at Ardverikie House, just on the other side of Cairngorms National Park from Balmoral. Interior shots were captured at Knebworth House and Hedsor House—the latter also doubling as the interior for the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street.

Caernarfon Castle. Throughout the beginning of season three, we see the internal and emotional struggle of Charles assuming the title of Prince of Wales. In reality, the prince’s investiture took place at the regal Caernarfon Castle in northeast Wales. These episodes were filmed at the actual location of the event, with the showrunners able to recreate the investiture almost perfectly.

Hylands House | Photo by Paul Wishart via 123RF. 

American Landmarks. During the third season, Princess Margaret is shown visiting the White House in Washington, D.C. Rather than shoot on location in the U.S., filming was done at the stately Hylands House. In the current season, Diana marks her American debut with a trip to New York City. However, the Big Apple you see is actually a spot in northeast Manchester.

Although several of the places featured in “The Crown” aren’t open to the public, you can delve into your imagination and see the opulence at many of the filming locations.

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