Royally on point? Season 4 of The Crown took “artistic license” when exploring Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s relationship, former royal chef Darren McGrady exclusively told Us Weekly.
The Royal Chef at Home author, 58, who was the personal chef to the royal family for 15 years, revealed that the first three seasons of the Netflix series were more accurate than the fourth.
“My goodness, they really went for the artistic license,” he told Us in December while promoting his YouTube channel. “I liked the first queen (Claire Foy), the second one (Olivia Colman), I’m not so keen on. She doesn’t smile enough in there.”
McGrady noted that Queen Elizabeth II has a “great sense of humor” and is “always smiling,” which is not shown on The Crown.
After working at Buckingham Palace for 11 years, McGrady was the chef for Diana and Charles, 72, so he was surprised by some of the depictions of the former couple arguing during season 4.
“You see them in Australia sort of arguing and fighting, but, you know, they were happy there,” he told Us, referencing the pair’s 1983 tour to Australia and New Zealand. “And the same as, you know, Balmoral Castle (in Scotland), when we had the Ghillies Ball.”
Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in ‘The Crown.’ Des Willie/Netflix
The Eating Royally author added: “I remember standing there watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana dancing together, and they were spinning and spinning, and the princess loved to dance. So she took advantage and she was spinning the prince faster, and then he was laughing louder and louder. And when I see The Crown and see that and think, ‘You don’t know the whole truth.’”
McGrady laughed when asked if Queen Elizabeth, 94, is in fact obsessed with poached salmon, as the series claimed.
“The queen loved poached salmon, absolutely she did,” he said. “Especially at Balmoral. I mean, if you think, the Queen Mother and Prince Charles would be out fly fishing in the river, bringing fresh salmon in — it didn’t get much better than that.”
Princess Diana’s former chef Darren McGrady. Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
The chef noted that when he worked for Diana, he told one of the charities she was having lunch with that she loved poached salmon — but was later mistaken.
“About four weeks later, the princess came into the kitchen and she said, ‘Darren, I’m starving. What’s for lunch?’ And I said, ‘Lunch is almost ready,’” he recalled. “She said, ‘Oh, please tell me it’s not poached salmon. What is it right now? Everywhere you go, everyone serving poached salmon!’ And I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re telling everyone poached salmon.’ As soon as she’d gone, I called the kitchen and said, ‘She loves chicken, grilled chicken!’”
Throughout season 4 of the Netflix drama, Emma Corrin portrayed the Princess of Wales during her marriage to Charles (played by Josh O’Connor). Their storyline highlighted her battle with bulimia, the couple’s rocky relationship and Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The pair wed in July 1981 and had two children, Prince William and Prince Harry. They separated in 1992. Diana died in a car crash in Paris the following year. Charles, for his part, married Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, 73, in 2005.
For more from the royal chef watch the video above.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi
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