Prince Charles and Camilla's staff say 'The Crown' got the couple all wrong: 'I was a real Diana fan until I met the duchess'

Prince Charles and Camilla's staff say 'The Crown' got the couple all wrong: 'I was a real Diana fan until I met the duchess'
Former and current royal staff say "The Crown" doesn't accurately portray the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.Chris Jackson/Getty Images
  • Former and current royal staff members told Insider that "The Crown" does not accurately portray Prince Charles and Camilla, saying they are much kinder in real life.
  • Deborah Mitchell, who has worked as a facialist to the Duchess of Cornwall, said she "was a real Diana fan until I met the duchess."
  • Mitchell added that she didn't expect the royal to be "absolutely lovely" when they first met 14 years ago.
  • Grant Harrold, former butler to Prince Charles, said the show is wrong to portray him as shouting and screaming: "In seven years of working for him, he never raised his voice to me."

The fourth season of Netflix's "The Crown" shows the love triangle between Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor), Princess Diana (Emma Corrin), and Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell).

The historical drama has received mixed reactions for its portrayal of Charles and Camilla's affair, something that the Prince of Wales admitted to in real life. The royal spoke about his separation from Diana in a 1994 interview, saying he had remained faithful until the relationship "became irretrievably broken down, us both having tried."

While the events portrayed in the show occurred more than thirty years ago, the couple has received major backlash from some fans. Charles and Camilla's joint Twitter account recently disabled replies after receiving a flood of pro-Diana comments.

Insider spoke to royal staff members, who say the criticism the couple has faced isn't fair - and that "The Crown" doesn't accurately represent their true characters.

The Duchess of Cornwall is a much kinder person than the show portrays, according to her current and former staff

"I was a real Diana fan until I met the duchess, I really was," Deborah Mitchell, facialist to the Duchess of Cornwall for 14 years, told Insider. "I wasn't expecting that she would be absolutely lovely in real life. She's a very thoughtful person, she's very much for women's rights, and when she does any charity work, she does it because she wants to. Not because she has to, or for the fame. She doesn't do anything for any other reason than that it's the right thing to do."


Mitchell, founder of Heaven Skincare, has spent a lot of time with both the duchess and the Prince of Wales at Highgrove, their country home, and other royal residences across the country for work purposes and social gatherings.

She says the series fails to show the different sides of Camilla's personality - including her compassion for others.

Mitchell recalled one instance when she visited the duchess in Birkhall, Scotland. She said she didn't realize how cold it would be there, so she hadn't packed warm clothes - but Camilla came to the rescue.

"The duchess walked in with this brown jumper on, and I said to her that it was lovely," Mitchell said. "That day, she sent one of her people out to get the jumper and give it to me."

Former royal butler Grant Harrold shared a similar sentiment. The Scottish butler and etiquette expert, who worked for the Prince of Wales from 2004 until 2011, says Camilla isn't "cold" and "manipulative" like the show suggests.


Harrold told Insider that he was only one year into working for the prince and duchess when he attended the royal family's famous Ghillies Ball at Balmoral Castle. The duchess realized that he was anxious about attending the prestigious event, and helped to calm his nerves.

"I was trying to work out how not to go, as I was worried I would do something wrong," Harrold told Insider. "The duchess said, 'If you go, I'll dance with you.' Because she knew that would calm me down."

Recalling the ball itself, Harrold said: "In this ballroom, it's a huge ballroom - it can hold 150 people - when the royal family came down, she made a beeline across the room to find me to dance with her. This is what people don't see."

Camilla understands that public perception 'might be different' from reality

Similarly, Harrold said the show gets Charles' character all wrong.

The royal butler said that while actor Josh O'Connor has mastered his former employer's voice and certain mannerisms, it is inaccurate to show the royal "shouting and screaming all the time."


"In seven years of working for him, he never raised his voice to me - not once, never. And we were close, I was around him a lot," Harrold said.

"He's not at all the way they portrayed him," Mitchell added. "He's strong, powerful, and compassionate. And I think he'll make an amazing king."

Netflix recently put out a statement saying that it won't add an official disclaimer before each episode of "The Crown," after receiving criticism that it wrongly represented fictional scenes as fact.

"We have always presented 'The Crown' as a drama - and we have every confidence our members understand it's a work of fiction that's broadly based on historical events," the spokesperson told Deadline.

While Mitchell believes the show is wrong not to officially remind viewers that some scenes are fictional, she said the Duchess of Cornwall isn't as concerned about the public perception.


"I can't say what she's told me, as that's breaching confidence. But I can say when people do say negative things, she understands that their perception might be very different. She can only be the way she is, and the words can only come out of her mouth kindly," Mitchell said.

Netflix declined to comment when contacted by Insider. Clarence House did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.