'The Crown' designer went undercover on Buckingham Palace tour to recreate the Queen’s abode

·3-min read
Emma Corrin as Diana in The Crown. (Netflix)
Emma Corrin as Diana in The Crown. (Netflix)

The Crown’s production designer has detailed the lengths he went to in order to recreate Buckingham Palace – revealing he posed as a tourist and took a tour of the Queen’s abode.

While the Queen and Prince Philip’s private quarters are permanently off limits to the public, selected State Rooms are open to in non-pandemic times.

Speaking to the Royal Television Society, Martin Childs explained that when the Palace declined to help the drama’s set design team, he took an unorthodox approach and booked himself onto a tour.

Read more: Every question you have about The Crown answered

Childs then used his intel to design 15 sets that were used for Buckingham Palace scenes.

An exterior view of Buckingham Palace in London. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Certain Palace rooms are included in public tours (Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

“All I could think about was how we could turn these rooms into spaces where action could happen, where people could have conversations, where we could maintain an interest,” he said, reports The Times.

“Whenever I was in a room I was looking through doorways into the next room, to see what interesting frames it would make on the screen.”

The tour also allowed him to build a mental picture of the Palace’s layout.

Read more: The TV we were obsessed with in 2020

He continued: “The one thing I knew was that the upstairs apartments were built in an enfilade, which meant four rooms in a row connected by doors rather than by a corridor.

“As soon as I knew that about the private apartments, the Queen’s bedroom and dressing room, and Philip’s bedroom, then I had an architectural metaphor for an extraordinary marriage.

“It meant they could close doors on one another, there’d be distance between them, there would be closeness when they wanted it.”

Martin Childs at the 22nd Annual Art Directors Guild Awards held at Ray Dolby Ballroom on January 27, 2018 in Hollywood, CA, USA (Photo by JC Olivera/Sipa USA)
Martin Childs, pictured here in 2018, is an Academy Award winner (JC Olivera/Sipa USA)

Childs is an Oscar-winning production designer, whose previous projects include Shakespeare In Love, Calendar Girls and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

While series four of The Crown drew criticism for its writers’ liberal use of creative license and inaccurate portrayals of Royal drama, the show has remained a huge hit with fans and awards bodies.

At this year’s Golden Globes, The Crown scooped the Best Drama Series accolade, while its stars Josh O’Connor, Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson all walked away with individual prizes.

Goldsmiths Hall, pictured, was used for interiors of Buckingham Palace. (Des Willie/Netflix)
Goldsmiths Hall, pictured, was used for interiors of Buckingham Palace. (Des Willie/Netflix)

Prince Harry also surprised fans by jumping to the programme's defence during his recent appearance on James Corden's Late Late Show.

"They don't pretend to be news. It's fiction. But it's loosely based on the truth. Of course, it's not strictly accurate," he said. "It gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that.

"I'm way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife, or myself. That is obviously fiction – take it how you will. But this is being reported on as fact because you're supposedly news."

Watch: Emma Corrin honours Princess Diana in her Golden Globes speech

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