The Crown Season 2 Has A JFK Timeline Plot Hole

President John F. Kennedy (Michael C. Hall) and Jackie Kennedy’s (Jodi Balfour) meeting Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) is a controversial episode of The Crown season 2 that also plays fast and loose with the Kennedys’ timeline. The Crown season 2, episode 8, “Dear Mrs. Kennedy,” portrayed Jackie saying derogatory things about Buckingham Palace and the Queen after their visit, which got back to the sovereign. It also portrayed Elizabeth feeling inadequate after meeting the glamorous Mrs. Kennedy so she personally intervened in a crisis in Ghana.

The Crown compressed over two years’ worth of historical events into a timespan that seemed much shorter in the episode, and it omitted the fact that the Queen was pregnant with Prince Edward at the time of the Kennedy assassination. In “Dear Mrs. Kennedy,” the new American President and his wife, still fresh from winning the November 1960 election, arrive at Buckingham Palace after Jackie won over French President Charles de Gaulle in Paris. Afterward, the Queen is informed that Jackie said insulting things about her at a party. After the Queen travels to Ghana, Jackie then returns to England and meets with Elizabeth at Winsor Palace to apologize and explain that she and President Kennedy receive “a cocktail” of drugs when they travel, which influenced her behavior. Finally, President Kennedy is assassinated on November 22, 1963.

The Real Timeline Of JFK’s Visit To Buckingham Palace

The Crown season 2 is set between the Suez Canal crisis of 1957 and the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. The timespan of “Dear Mrs. Kennedy” actually takes place from June 1961 to November 1963. President Kennedy and Jackie’s visit to Buckingham Palace took place on June 5, 1961. The Crown acknowledges that Kennedy was newly elected President and this was his first trip to Europe since winning the White House. The Queen’s visit to Ghana when she danced with President Kwame Nkrumah happened from November 9-20, 1961.

Jackie did return to the UK to meet with the Queen and to apologize on March 28, 1962, which The Crown did give the date for when the appointment was set. However, the real-life meeting took place at Buckingham Palace, but The Crown changed the location to Windsor Castle, with Elizabeth explaining, “Sometimes only a fortress will do.” The Kennedy assassination then took place over 20 months later, but in The Crown, the Queen was still at Windsor Castle, which makes it seem like JFK’s death happened soon after Jackie met with Elizabeth.

Why The Crown Blurred JFK’s Timeline With The Queen

The Crown obfuscated the Kennedys’ timeline of events so that Queen Elizabeth would not be pregnant in the episode, although she would have been in her second trimester during the Kennedy assassination. Further, The Crown did it to protect the drama of the final two episodes of season 2, “Paterfamilias” and “Mystery Man.” The events of “Paterfamilias” where Prince Philip (Matt Smith) sent Prince Charles (Julian Baring) to Gordonstoun School in Scotland actually would have taken place in May 1962 during the timeline of “Dear Mrs. Kennedy.”

Similarly, the events of The Crown season 2 finale, “Mystery Man,” which depicted the Profumo affair, lasted from March 1963 to May 1964. The Queen was pregnant with Prince Edward in “Mystery Man,” but there’s no mention of the Kennedy assassination since it was already depicted two episodes prior, without the Queen appearing pregnant. The Crown is provocative and beautifully produced historical fiction, but “Dear Mrs. Kennedy” is a good example of how The Crown manipulates actual history to suit the show’s dramatic and narrative needs.

The Crown Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix. The Crown Season 5 premieres November 9, 2022, on Netflix.

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