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The scary royal kidnapping story that was left out of The Crown

Cyan Turan
Photo credit: Des Willie / Netflix - Netflix

From Cosmopolitan

Last month season three of Netflix's budget-busting smash hit drama, The Crown, arrived on our screens. With it came a new cast - including Olivia Colman as The Queen, and Helena Bonham-Carter playing Princess Margaret - as well as a host of new storylines from the years this season covers: 1964-1977.

This new drop of episodes also introduces Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles and Erin Doherty as Princess Anne. Both have been widely praised for injecting the period drama with a dose of wit and humour.

But while the show gives us a closer look at Princess Anne's rumoured relationship with Andrew Parker-Bowles in the early seventies, The Crown misses out one very significant episode in her life, which occurred in 1974, when she was 23.

Anne had recently married her husband Mark Philips and the couple were driving back to Buckingham Palace in a Rolls Royce on 20 March 1974, when she was stopped by a van. A man got out and shot Anne's policeman in the shoulder, and attempted to kidnap the young Princess. Other witnesses who tried to intervene were also shot, and the kidnapper, Ian Ball, revealed his plan to hold Anne to ransom for £2 million.

Photo credit: Des Willie / Netflix - Netflix


According to reports, Ball then directed Anne to get out of the car, to which she is said to have replied: "Not bloody likely!" So royal. Eventually a former boxer came to Anne's rescue and led her away, and Ball was arrested. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping and is still to this day detained at Broadmoor Hospital.

Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images

The incident was a huge news story at the time, so why didn't The Crown choose to dramatise it? Royal expert Angela Mollard told The Express that according to Robert Lacey, who is a historian on the show, they couldn’t fit everything in.

“They had to choose what was significant, and while he acknowledged that was an incredibly important story, he said it just didn’t fit with the timeline, the stories they wanted to tell and the characters they wanted to develop.”

In an interview with Sky News, the show's historian, Lacey reminded viewers that The Crown isn't a documentary:

“If people think they are watching a documentary they are going to make that mistake. People should start out with the realisation that they are watching a wonderful drama.”

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