10 Places from The Crown you can actually visit when it is safe to do so!
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1. Windsor Great Park
 

HM The Queen horse riding in Windsor Great Park
From Princess Margaret’s tragic flight into the arms of Peter Townsend to the Duke of Edinburgh’s duck shoot with King George VI, Windsor Great Park has been a regular backdrop for the glamourous characters of The Crown to play out their emotional dramas.

But Windsor Great Park is also a great place to catch a glimpse of real life royalty too! You’ll need good eyes though, as the Park is one of the largest in the world and covers a whopping 4,800 acres!  During Royal Ascot season you can watch the royal family proceed from the castle to the racecourse along the Long Walk, and even off season you can occasionally spot Queen Elizabeth on horseback.  The best thing about the Great Park is that it's totally free too!


2. Virginia Water
 

Virginia Water | Edward VIII/Alan Jennings
To those of us who have never known another monarch other than The Queen, it comes as a surprise to learn that she was never meant to be monarch.  She only became the heir after her uncle, Edward VIII – portrayed brilliantly by Alan Jennings in the first two series of The Crown and the wonderful Derek Jacobi thereafter – abdicated in 1938.

In fact Edward did not abdicate from within Windsor Castle, but in his private weekend house, Fort Belvedere.  Today Fort Belvedere is still privately owned by the royal family, so it’s not open to the public, however you can enjoy one of the gorgeous lakeside walks adjacent to the house in Virginia Water.  With stunning views and some amazing things to see along the way, you can walk in the footsteps of Edward and Wallis Simpson and wonder if they discussed abdication while taking the lakeside air.


3. Frogmore House and Gardens
 

Frogmore Mausoleum
While we’re on the subject of Edward and Wallis Simpson, who can forget that dramatic moment when Edward VIII was laid to rest?  The camera shifting between the grief-stricken Duchess of Windsor, an anxious looking Queen and the Prince of Wales, himself torn between love and duty.

You may not know that both Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson are buried in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, in the Mausoleum Gardens of Frogmore House.  Just once a year these gardens are open to the public so you can catch a glimpse of where the enigmatic couple were finally laid to rest.  Frogmore was also the much-loved country home of Queen Mary and a favoured spot for a royal stroll, so you can imagine for yourself the anxious conversations which may have buzzed with the bees along the elegant hedgerows.


4. Windsor Castle
 

Windsor Castle - Royal Colection Trust
From the Prince of Wales’ proposal to Lady Diana to the solemn moment when the young Princess Elizabeth was told she was to be queen, Windsor Castle saw its fair share of drama in The Crown, alongside a host of wonderfully posh drinking and gossiping (que savage remark by Princess Margaret). 

In fact the real Windsor Castle has been the Monarchy HQ for almost 1,000 years and has witnessed dramas which would make The Crown look tame by comparison.  It is still the weekend home of Her Majesty and is open to the public to visit.  It's not just the state rooms on view either; if you visit in the winter months (usually between September and March) you can see the Semi-State rooms which are still used by The Queen and her family when they are entertaining.  Legend has it you can still hear the faint rattle of the ice in Princess Margaret’s G&T.


5. St George's Chapel
 

St George's Chapel
It was a defining moment in the early series.  A young Queen Elizabeth looked on forlornly as her father was laid to rest in St George's Chapel, as the steely voice of Dame Eileen Aitkens warned, “But duty calls.”  Since then the chapel became a regular backdrop for the show, memorably as a young Prince Philip decided he needed to shake up the monarchy.

In real life, St George's Chapel is one of the most spectacular buildings you will ever visit.  As well as its sheer architectural beauty, it is also the burial place for some of the most famous kings and queens in history including Henry VIII (the one with six wives), Charles I (the one who had his head chopped off) and Queen Mary herself (the current Queen's grandmother).  Because of where it's located you have to visit as part of your visit to Windsor Castle, however there are a number of brilliant guides who can tell you all about its amazing and ancient history.


6. All Saints Chapel
 

All Saints Chapel, Windsor Great Park
One of the more understated themes of The Crown is the royal family's Christianity. From a young Queen's search for spiritual guidance in series two to the Duke of Edinburgh’s attempts to restore his lapsed faith in the third series, the theme of faith weaves in and out of the storyline.

Church outings are a big feature in the royal calendar, and in addition to St George's Chapel and a private chapel in Windsor Castle, Her Majesty is known to worship at the All Saints Chapel in Windsor Great Park.  It was the favoured church of The Queen Mother and most recently was the wedding venue for the surprise marriage of Princess Beatrice.  It's so private that you can't often visit, however it does open a couple of times a year as a venue for the Windsor Festival.


7. Royal Windsor Horse Show
 

Royal Windsor Horse Show in Windsor Great Park
It was the moment we’d all been waiting for: the handsome Prince Charles in his car, the gorgeous Lady Diana, looking sweet, young and very 80s in her colourful cardigan.  It was the meet cue of cinematic history, all against the busy backdrop of the Royal Windsor Horse ShowThe Crown captures the essence of the horse show perfectly: busy, exciting and informal.

In real life the horse show is a wonderful experience, even if you are not an avid horse fan.  The whole event takes place in the Home Park of Windsor Castle, so you’re literally in The Queen's back garden.  We can’t know for sure if that’s where the Prince of Wales decided to marry Lady Di, but you can certainly imagine it!


8. Guards Polo Club
 

Guards Polo Club
We all knew it was coming!  The moment we were introduced to Camilla Shand – the future Duchess of Cornwall – cheering on the handsome prince at his polo match!  Through series three and four it seems the polo field was the chosen playground for the royals; the speed and drama of the game the perfect metaphor for the royals as they struggled with the world around them.

In fact you can experience a very real touch of royalty at Guards Polo club in Windsor. Founded by the Duke of Edinburgh and patronised by The Queen, the polo club has seen some very real royal polo matches over the years, and continues to be the number one place to see a match in the UK, so if you want to cheer on your own royal polo prince, then Guards Club is where you need to be!


9. Theatre Royal Windsor
 

Theatre Royal Windsor
In a wonderful touch of irony, the theatre features big time in The Crown.  How often were we treated to a young Queen looking serious or sad, surrounded by roses as dramatic music played?  Or the first date between Charles and Di, parodied at the end of the series when Diana, after a last ditch attempt to rekindle her marriage by dancing for the Prince, declares that she simply loathes him.

While we don’t know the real details of the private lives of the royal family, we do know that they are great theatre lovers.  The Theatre Royal Windsor retains a royal box for Her Majesty and her family.  They have performed ‘at royal command’ ever since King George VI visited in the 1930s, and today they can boast that they have performed for almost every member of the royal family.  You can experience that touch of glamour for yourself by enjoying a performance, or opting for one of the theatre’s history tours, which takes you behind the curtains!


10. The Windsor Guildhall
 

The Windsor Guildhall
The one thing which comes across more than anything else is that The Prince of Wales is madly in love with the Duchess of Cornwall.  Even series four, which looks at more of the unpleasant parts of the royals’ private lives, was able to portray the sizzling attraction between the two.

Although not yet featured in The Crown, if you want to see where Charles and Camilla finally tied the knot in 2005, visit the Windsor Guildhall.  Guided tours are available through the museum, and there are also monthly private evening tours where you can enjoy a glass of fizz, learn all about this fascinating 300-year-old building and see for yourself the place where the Prince and the Duchess were finally married.

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