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How Much Do We Actually Know About Our Royal History?

How Much Do We Actually Know About Our Royal History?

10 February 2020  -  

There hasn't been a week when hit Netflix show The Crown isn't making headlines since season three launched. The successful series has captivated viewers across the world, exploring the lives of the much-loved royal family during the reign of our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

However, while many of us may know the names and titles of the people who have shaped Britain's history, the searches that viewers have made during the show's latest season, which aired in November 2019, indicate that their names might be all we know.

According to data compiled from interests on Google, British viewers of the show are not as confident in our royal history as we all assumed.

With this in mind, we at Just Go! Holidays decided to investigate how much – or how little! – we Brits actually know about the patrons of our royal history.

We discovered which family members spiked the country's interest based on searches that start with 'Who is…', and how long they trended for, starting from The Crown's season release date: November 17th. The results are based on a search interest score of 0-100, with 100 being the 'most searched compared to all other topics' and 0 meaning that there were not enough searches for precise data.

And what did we find? That while interest surrounding Queen Elizabeth never really dies down, popular names such as Prince Charles, Princess Margaret and, even Prince Philip baffle members of the public.


1. Who is Princess Margaret? 

Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret was the sister of Queen Elizabeth II who passed away in 2002. Searches for 'who is Princess Margaret' show a considerable increase compared to the months prior, and we can see that this search is losing interest quickly, showcasing the direct influence The Crown has on this key term.

Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was known for her more rebellious personality alongside the controversial relationships with which she was involved, particularly to Peter Townsend. Often considered to be the wild child, Margaret often enjoyed partying with a variety of celebrities, and her heavy drinking and smoking habits contributed to poor health issues later in life. She also experienced several strokes and many heart problems, leading to her passing in 2002.


2. Who is Princess Anne? 

'Who is Princess Anne' was a subject of interest when episodes of The Crown dropped in November, its peak reining high above the rest of the year.  

Princess Anne is the daughter of Elizabeth II, fourteenth in line for the throne and is known as 'Princess Royal.' Well known for her equestrian skills, she was the first royal to compete in the Olympic Games. She's also praised for her charity work; she's the current patron for over 200 organisations. She's mother to Peter and Zara Phillips.


3. Who is Prince Charles? 

Prince Charles & Camilla

Searches for 'Who is Prince Charles' peaked from November 17th, the release date of the show's third season. While there has been plenty of interest in this search term before, it is clear to see that none match up to the search frequency of The Crown's airdate.

Charles, The Prince of Wales, is next in line to the throne and is currently married to the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla. While the heir is the longest-serving member of the royal family, he is most known for his marriage to the late Princess Diana.


4. Who is Prince Edward?

'Who is Prince Edward' often experiences drastic amounts of movement of search frequency, most likely due to him being overshadowed by his elder siblings, and so the public feels that there is a lot to know about him. Again, November's spike towers over the rest of the year.

Prince Edward is the only child of the Queen who hasn't divorced, having been married to Countess Sophie Nee Rhys-Jones for 20 years. He may be known as the quiet one for now, but rumour has it that Prince Edward will take his father's title, the Duke of Edinburgh, after his death, and has reportedly started taking on some of the responsibilities that Philip held before retiring.


5. Who is Princes Alice?

Princess Alice of Battenberg

The formerly lesser-known Princess Alice has undoubtedly had some spikes in popularity, with searches in late December and January having almost as much search frequency as November 17th, but not quite. When The Crown launched, the trending scale reached 100, while in Jan, the highest was 99.

Princess Alice of Battenberg was Prince Philip's mother and was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She was born deaf but could lip read and speak multiple languages. When she married into Greece's royal family, she had five children, including Philip. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1930, she lived in an institution and then devoted herself to charity work after recovery. She moved to Buckingham Palace in 1967.


6. Who is Prince Philip?

It is clear to see from this graph that the British population has been interested in Prince Philip recently, with a few spikes in searches over the past couple of months, possibly relating to his most recent hospital stay in December. But the first significant increase was in November when the third season of The Crown was released.  

Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh has been the Queen's husband for over 70 years, was born into Greek and Danish families, and retired from royal duties in 2017, aged 96. His health has kept him in the spotlight, however, as he has been admitted to hospital frequently since 2008 for numerous health reasons. He is the oldest male member ever of the royal family.


7. Who is Camilla?

Camilla is one of the more controversial figures of the royal family, with her affair with Charles considered a major contributing factor to the breakdown of Charles and Diana's marriage. Her public appearances often bring decent amounts of press regarding her role within the family, which is possibly why the search frequency surrounding 'Who is Camilla' fluctuates. But the increase on November 17th is certainly noticeable.

Camila is the heir apparent to the throne and uses the title Duchess of Cornwall as opposed to the equivalent of her husband's – the Prince of Wales. The Duke of Cornwall is his secondary designation. Her most noticeable charity work involves raising awareness of sexual abuse, animal welfare, and literacy.


8. Who is Lord Snowdon?

Lord Snowdon & family

Tony Armstrong-Jones, a.k.a Lord Snowdon may not have been as well-known worldwide (international search frequency hovers just above zero until November), but in the UK, his name is firmly established in British history. The key term 'Who is Lord Snowdon' jumped considerably after The Crown's release, but in December, more secrets were revealed about his marriage to Princess Margaret, causing an even larger spike. But the fact that their tumultuous relationship was a major storyline in the Netflix show's latest season is still plain to see.

Lord Snowdon was a photographer and videographer and was married to Margaret for 16 years. However, the marriage was under intense scrutiny as it involved constant rows and affairs from both sides. They separated in 1976 and divorced two years later. Lord Snowdon died in 2017.


So - who did the public want to know about the most?

To see who experienced the largest fluctuations overallwe compared the searches of those who spiked more interest when The Crown released than any other point in the yearThis alters the search frequency scale slightly, as it goes by the frequency compared to just the selected search terms, as opposed to all that occurred at the time.

From this comparison, it's clear to see that Princess Margaret reigns as the royal who sparked the most interest for the British public, closely followed by Princess Anne and Prince Charles. Prince Edward and Princess Alice lagged behind.

So there you have it. The Crown ignited rapid interest in the key players of British Royal History, including a few political figures and other notable names. It shows how much – or how little – we know of the royal family and what they have contributed to our society, and, more interestingly, the scandals that surround them, as suggested by Princess Margaret being the name that captivated the UK population more than others.




If you just can't get enough off all things royal, then make sure you don't miss out on our 'Royals & Rails' tours, combining beautiful countryside, visits to royal residences and heritage rail journeys.

Or discover our Heritage tours, with a focus on historic properties and sites across the country, providing exclusive behind-the-scenes access to some of the country's most remarkable castles, abbeys and stately homes.


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