fans of The crown noted how much technology has changed in the three decades since the events of Season 5.
For example, Princess Diana fears her landline phone could be tapped by British intelligence after hearing a click on the line. Meanwhile, his private secretary, Patrick Jephson, reminds him how difficult it would be to do when calls are routed through a central switchboard.
And a phone call between Prince Charles, played by Dominic West, and Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Queen Consort, is picked up by “radio amateurs” and sold to a newspaper.
Parts of the show’s storylines might seem somewhat confusing to younger viewers more used to cellphones.
British lawmaker Jess Phillips, Labor MP for Birmingham Yardley, tweeted: “Watching The crown and educating my son on how people could listen in from a separate phone in the house.
“He didn’t even realize that if someone called, all the phones in the house would ring,” she continued. “I don’t know how I feel about period dramas that take place in my lifetime. In a year, a parent will explain to their 10-year-old that people used to spend a lot of time on a site called Twitter…”
Among the Season 5 incidents is a now infamous private phone conversation between Charles and Camilla that is played out almost verbatim. Dubbed “Tampon-gate”, the encounter was captured in a leaked audio recording in which Charles, who was still married to Diana, told Camilla he wanted to be in his pants.
In the real recording, Charles said, “Oh, my God. I’ll just live inside your pants or something. That would be a lot easier.”
Camilla replied, “What are you going to become, panties?” Charles replied, “Or, God forbid, a Tampax. Just my luck!”
In the 1990s, amateur radio enthusiasts known as “radio amateurs” swept the airwaves recording things that interested them. One of them took over the conversation between Charles and Camilla and sold it to the British press, resulting in one of the most notorious royal scandals in recent history.
Diana’s close friendship with James Gilbey was similarly revealed when radio amateurs picked up a conversation in which he addressed her using the affectionate name “Squidgy”, although this incident is not featured in The crown.
Phone technology continued to play a role in the lives of royals when Princes William and Harry were both targets of phone hacking by a since-closed British tabloid, world news.
The newspaper’s editor, Clive Goodman, was sentenced to four months in prison in 2007 after intercepting William’s voicemail messages with the help of private detective Glenn Mulcaire.
More recently, Harry launched a civil legal action against the newspaper’s publisher, News UK, owned by Rupert Murdoch, alleging phone hacking and naming World news, wclosed in 2011, as well as The sunhis sister daily.
UK lawyers have admitted Harry’s phone was hacked into world news but to say that his request is out of time and to have admitted no wrongdoing in relation to The sun. The lawsuit came in 2019 and led to a flurry of filings in 2021 before going silent for more than a year.