The Crown’s ‘Missing Episode’ Involves an Unexpected Royal Kidnapping

This season of The Crown has exceeded our expectations. But, the show failed to cover one unexpected event that involved the attempted kidnapping of a high profile royal.

The Crown’s ‘Missing Episode’ Involves an Unexpected Royal Kidnapping
© Netflix/The Crown
The Crown’s ‘Missing Episode’ Involves an Unexpected Royal Kidnapping

Season four of The Crown has gone back to one of our favourite decades, the 70s. From capturing the rocky romance between Princess Diana and Prince Charles to the incredibly accurate portrayal of Margaret Thatcher,The Crown missed one important event that took place back in 1974.

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What happened in 1974?

Unless you were alive to witness the news many of you won’t have the faintest idea of what happened to Princess Anne back on March 20th, 1974. Spoiler Alert, it wasn’t good.

In fact on that fateful night, the Queen’s only daughter managed to survive a kidnapping attempt at gunpoint.

The popular Princesshad just been married four months prior and was on her way home from a charity event when her car was forced to stop after being blocked by a Ford Escort and inside it, a man named Ian Ball.

The ginger-haired man exited the car carrying two handguns, charged towards the limo and ended up shooting accompanying security officer John Beaton multiple times in a scuffle.

In the end, Ball managed to get a hold of Princess Anne’s arm and tried to force her to go with him to his car. However, the famous royal instead had some rather harsh words for the man. Anne told the police:

I kept saying I didn’t want to get out of the car, and I was not going to get out of the car.

The standoff continued until the police and multiple civilians arrived at the scene. And, after shooting Beaton, Anne’s chauffer Alex Callender, and passing journalist Brian McConnell, Ball finally decided to cut his losses and tried to run away only to be caught in mere minutes.

The aftermath of the attempted kidnapping Getty Images

After a later inspection of Ball’s car police found two sets of handcuffs, valium and a ransom note addressed to the Queen demanding £2 million.

Looking back on the event for ITV’s documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, the Queen’s daughter spoke, stating that it was hard to recall how it all went down:

What is interesting is what you remember and how you remember it. Because although I thought I remembered everything that happened I would never have been able to swear I could remember in the right order. Because they were like photos, individual snapshots. Very clearly.

Why did The Crown leave out Anne’s attempted kidnapping?

Surely this terrifying event would have made for amazing television so why did The Crown producers decide not to feature Anne’s attempted kidnapping?

Royal expert Angela Mollard told the Express that the kidnapping just didn’t fit with the overall goal of the series. Mollard learned of the redirection through historian Robert Lacey who helped work on the show. She stated:

They had to choose what was significant, and while he acknowledged that was an incredibly important story, he said it just didn't fit with the timeline, the stories they wanted to tell and the characters they wanted to develop.
Netflix/The Crown

However, after airing many historical inaccuracies it’s hard to believe that Anne’s experience wasn’t an important part of her character. Actress Erin Doherty who played Anne is both seasons three and four described the kidnapping as fundamental as to how she approached her character. She told Harper’s Bazaar:

When I found out that she had resisted a kidnapping, that blew my mind! Especially because she would have been, like, 24, 25, and the fact that someone had a gun in her face and said, ‘Right, you're gonna be kidnapped now,’ and she just said, ‘No!’ I don't know how she did it. That says a lot, I think. That did inform the performance, because if you're grounded and stable and confident enough to tell someone no when they have a gun in your face, I feel like you've got things sorted, pretty much.

The most overlooked character

It seems The Crown has really overlooked Anne as much of her extraordinary life was left off the screen in favour of more popular storylines.

Not only did Anne survive her kidnapping - in a rather badass way might we add - her wedding was also broadcast to more than 500 million people around the world and, in 1976 Anne was the first member of the royal family to compete in the Olympics.

Princess Anne at the Olympics in 1976 Getty Images
Princess Anne's Wedding in 1973 Getty Images

For reference, only 22.8 million people tuned in for William andKate’s wedding and 29 million turned on their devices for Harry and Meghan’s lavish ceremony.

While it’s safe to say that we all love to watch Princess Diana’s entrance into Britain’s ultimate family, Anne definitely deserves more screen time.

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