Queen Elizabeth II thought Margaret Thatcher “stays too long and talks too much” and ignored her at a gala, according to the journals of a society diarist.
Season 4 of The Crown depicts the former British Prime Minister and the queen, played by Olivia Colman, at odds over class, work ethic and royal tradition.
The Conservative politician, played by Gillian Anderson, cuts close to the bone in one conversation, saying she had sacked ministers whose “privilege and entitlement” meant they “lacked grit.”
The real life differences between the two female leaders at the top of British society during the 1980s are laid out in the journals of Kenneth Rose, a newspaper diarist who moved in royal circles.
An entry from September 1985, previously published in the Daily Mail, reads: “Jean Trumpington to dine.
“She relates how, when she went to take her leave of the Queen as a Baroness-in-Waiting on being promoted to be Under-Secretary in the Department of Health and Social Security, the Queen said of the PM: ‘She stays too long and talks too much. She has lived too long among men’.”
Baroness Trumpington was a Conservative Lord whose family were close friends with Edward VIII, when he was Prince of Wales during her childhood, the BBC reported.
Later in his diaries, Rose felt he had found more definitive proof of the queen’s less than positive view of Thatcher.
An entry for June 1, 1997, read: “To Headington for tea with [philosopher] Isaiah Berlin. We talk of relations between the Queen and her Prime Ministers.
“The Queen is careful never to reveal what she thinks of each, although it is generally known that she and Margaret Thatcher had sharp disagreements on the importance of the Commonwealth.
“Isaiah now has an important piece of evidence.
“Both the Queen and Thatcher came to a gala at Covent Garden, but sat in different parts of the house.
“In the interval, the Queen let it be known that she did not want to meet Mrs. Thatcher—who was sent to an upper room for drinks, as was Isaiah.
“Thatcher then said she would like to say goodbye to the Queen, a request that was ignored.”
The former Prime Minister’s memoir Margaret Thatcher: The Autobiography cuts a very different tone to the Netflix series, which showed awkward tension between the two leaders at their first meeting.
Thatcher writes: “Anyone who imagines that these meetings are confined to social niceties is quite wrong; they’re quietly business-like and Her Majesty brings to bear a formidable grasp of current issues and breadth of experience.
“And, although the press could not resist the temptation to suggest disputes between the palace and Downing Street, I always found the queen’s attitude towards the work of the government absolutely correct.
“Of course, stories of clashes between ‘two powerful women’ were just too good not to make up.
“In general, more nonsense was written about the so-called ‘feminine factor’ during my time in office than about almost anything else.”
The Crown also depicts an awkward visit to see the queen in Balmoral in which Thatcher failed to fit into the formal world of royal life in the early days after her election.
With a bruised ego, the politician is then seen returning to Buckingham Palace to convey news of a cull of politicians in her cabinet.
The exchange is depicted as tense and sees Thatcher recite a poem by Chartist Charles Mackay, to demonstrate she was not afraid of making enemies.
The real-life Thatcher genuinely kept a copy of the poem, No Enemies, in a scrapbook, The Times of London reported.
Thatcher’s personal assistant, Cynthia Crawford, previously told the BBC some words in the poem were underlined.
Crawford said: “She would read them over and over again for inspiration.”
The poem features the line: “He who has mingled in the fray of duty that the brave endure, must have made foes.
“If you have none, small is the work that you have done.”
Also accurate in The Crown‘s depiction is Thatcher’s tendency to turn up to Balmoral without suitable footwear, The Guardian reported.
The Queen’s biographer Ben Pimlott also claimed Thatcher was always eager to leave and, just like in the series, would depart Balmoral early at 6 a.m., the newspaper reported.