history lessons

See How the Actors on The Crown Compare to Their Real-Life Counterparts

The Crown Season 1 Photo: Netflix; Getty Images

Netflix’s most expensive original series yet, The Crown, portrays the real-life fairytale of Queen Elizabeth II’s life, complete with ball gowns, sparkly tiaras, and many, many corgis. But the series, premiering November 4, is more of a coming-of-age story about a princess quickly thrown into a life of rules, standards, and expectations when her father, the king, dies unexpectedly. Ahead of the premiere, we’ve put together a little guide to all the main historical figures on the show to help you keep the facts straight, and judge how much the actors look like their real-life counterparts.

After her father died of cancer in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, by her side. At 89, the Queen has served through 12 Prime Ministers and U.S. Presidents, and she’s still ruling today with her collection of four corgis. She holds the record for the longest reign in British monarchy history. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
As the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret is best known for causing a great scandal in her 20s, when she fell in love with Group Capt. Peter Townsend of the Royal Air Force, who worked as an equerry for her father, King George VI. There was immense pressure from her family and the press for Margaret to break off the relationship, and in the end, her family won. She married Anthony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer, in 1960, and they had two children together, but divorced in 1978. She did not remarry, but allegedly had affairs with famous men like Mick Jagger and Peter Sellers. She once told Jean Cocteau, ”Disobedience is my joy.” Margaret passed away on February 9, 2002 at the age of 71. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
King George VI ruled for 16 years, becoming king (and also the last emperor of India) after his older brother Prince Edward abdicated in 1936. He died of cancer in 1952, leaving the throne to his daughter, Elizabeth. He was a beloved ruler known for his heroism and war efforts during World War II. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Married to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth ruled alongside her husband for 16 years until he passed away in 1952. Elizabeth became the first British-born Queen consort since Tudor times. The Queen Mother passed away in her sleep on March 30, 2002, at 101 years old. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Queen Mary, otherwise known as Mary of Teck, was the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. Both of her sons, King George VI and Prince Edward, served as king, but Prince Edward abdicated the throne to marry a woman his family disapproved of. Queen Mary died on March 24, 1953. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
As Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, advised Queen Elizabeth during the start of her career. He enforced tradition, advising Elizabeth against taking Prince Philip’s name. He became a friend to the queen, and they bonded over a shared interest in horses and polo. Churchill died on January 24, 1965. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met at a wedding in 1934, but the third cousins didn’t marry until 1947. Philip has stood alongside the Queen for nearly 70 years, giving up his successful career as an officer in the Navy, specifically as first lieutenant and second-in-command of the destroyer H.M.S. Chequers.  Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Alan Lascelles, better known as Tommy, served as a private secretary to the royal family for 27 years through four successive sovereigns: George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and present day Queen Elizabeth. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 94. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Anthony Eden begrudgingly served under Winston Churchill in government until 1955 when Churchill stepped down as Prime Minister, opening up the position for Eden. After months of pressuring Churchill to remove himself from the role, and only 18 months in office, Eden resigned in 1957 after making a crucial tactical mistake regarding the Suez Canal. Eden died January 14, 1977. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Uncle to Prince Philip, Lord Mountbatten, better known as “Dickie,” served in the Navy and was the last Viceroy of India under King George VI. He tried to push Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth into changing the royal name to Mountbatten to improve the status of his family name. Queen Mary and Winston Churchill eventually convinced Queen Elizabeth to go against her husband and Lord Mountbatten, sticking to House of Windsor. Lord Mountbatten died of an IRA bomb in 1979. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Prince Edward, brother to King George VI, abdicated the throne after 11 months of rule in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American. The Church and royal family looked down upon divorce and would not let Prince Edward marry her unless he abdicated and lived in exile. Prince Edward became the first monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne in British history. He died on May 28, 1972. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Jock Colville served as the principal private secretary to Winston Churchill and two other prime ministers as well as spending two years as the secretary to Queen Elizabeth before she took the throne. Colville died on November 21, 1987. Photo: Netflix; Getty Images
Richard Butler, better known as “Rab,” held numerous positions in government before he became president of the board of education in Winston Churchill’s wartime coalition in 1941. Butler oversaw the Education Act, which initiated free secondary education for the first time in the United Kingdom. Butler became a life peer, meaning his title could no longer be inherited, and died on March 8, 1982. Photo: Netflix, Getty Images
Before marrying Lady Anne Coke, British aristrocrat Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner, was initially intended for Princess Margaret. The Princess’s love affair with commoner Peter Townsend destroyed any marital hopes on Tennant’s end, but they remained close friends. Tennant died on August 27, 2010. Photo: Netflix, Getty Images
Group Captain Peter Townsend served under King George VI before becoming romantically involved with his daughter, Princess Margaret. Because he divorced his first wife, the royal family and church saw him as an unfit suitor for the Princess. The two became engaged around the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, but ultimately it broke off because Princess Margaret was not willing to give up her royal perks. Townsend remarried eventually, but Princess Margaret still considers him her great love. Townsend died June 20, 1995. Photo: Netflix, Getty Images
The Crown: Your Guide to the Key Figures