The Crown, Czech edition: Remembering when Charles and Diana came to Prague

On the back of the fourth season of the hit Netflix show, we look back at the British royals visiting then Czechoslovakia

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 08.12.2020 19:00 (updated on 09.12.2020)

Netflix show "The Crown" has everyone talking, with season four of the show being released last month, the multi-award winning drama has been met with critical acclaim for it’s portrayal of various points in the history of the British royal family under Queen Elizabeth II.

The latest edition of the show, set in the 1980s, focuses on the political leadership of Margaret Thatcher as well as the relationship between Princess Diana and Prince Charles, who married at the start of that decade.

The British royal family have an international following and in 1991, a year before they would officially separate, the Prince and Princess of Wales took a trip to Prague at the request of then President Václav Havel.

Ten years had past since they were married in one of the most watched weddings of all time.

The couple were welcomed to and slept at Prague Castle on an official visit and stayed between May 6-10 in what was then Czechoslovakia. According to the official website of Václav Havel, Charles "showed an interest in the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia and in the country’s ecological situation."

Prince Charles and Lady Diana visited the Prague War Cemetery where many Commonwealth soldiers are buried, they also visited Wenceslas Square where they met crowds of people in the street.

According to Czech Vogue, Diana also took the time to visit some sick and disadvantaged people in the country. Together with the first lady Olga Havel, she the children's ward of the hospital in Motol, where she played the piano for some of the patients, as well as visiting a primary school for children that had hearing impairments.

"Few people know that she didn't like playing the piano very much, so she burst out laughing a lot, then got serious and played and it seemed from the heart and happy," recalled former head of castle protocol Jindřich Forejt in an interview with Nova.

Arguably though, one of the most memorable and well-known moments of her appearance in Prague, was when the Princess decided to go for a swim in Prague's Podolí swimming pool.

Legend has it she arrived unannounced at the pool before the security guard bought her a ticket and paid to rent a lock for a locker.

She used the indoor facilities which were reserved for the use of athletes. Idnes reports that a trainer discovered her swimming in the pool and she was thrown out before the security guards explained to who she was shouting at.

One of the directors of the pool told Nova: “She was a very good swimmer and went swimming in the track between training sessions before anyone noticed that she did not belong there and tried to show her!”

This would be one of the last trips that the Prince and Princess took as a couple as they announced in 1992 they would be separating, before finally divorcing in 1996.

Diana, Princess of Wales, would tragically die in the traffic accident in a Paris tunnel in 1997.

Prince Charles would return to Prague in December 1992 and would also visit in 2000. He would work with President Havel to help create the Prague Heritage Fund, donating £80,000 (3.5 million CZK) to the project which aimed to preserve historical monuments, according to Radio Prague.

All four seasons of The Crown are available to watch now on Netflix. In the series Princess Diana is played by Emma Corrin while Charles is portrayed by Josh O'Connor.

Season five of the Peter Morgan drama will be more focused on the events after 1990, although it’s not confirmed if any of the Royal trip to Prague will be covered.

It is due to start filming next year and won’t be released until 2022.