Queen Elizabeth II ‘Loves To Pick Out the Mistakes’ on ‘Downton Abbey’

Queen Elizabeth II’s hobbies are well-documented. She’s a fan of horses and corgis, preferring to get away from Buckingham Palace with a trip to Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. But one of the lesser-known ways she unwinds is by watching TV. One of her favorite programs? Downton Abbey. Set in the early 20th century, the award-winning series follows the lives of the Crawley family and their staff. 

Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern on the 'Downton Abbey' set at Highclere Castle
Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern on the Downton Abbey set at Highclere Castle | Vera Anderson/WireImage

Downton Abbey premiered in September 2010 and ran for six seasons before going off the air in 2015. During that time, millions of people around the world including the queen, tuned in to watch what happened with the British landed gentry and their Downton estate.

Queen Elizabeth II looks for historical inaccuracies on ‘Downton Abbey’

During Downton Abbey’s original run, the queen wouldn’t just watch the program for the upstairs and downstairs drama. She’d also look out for historical inaccuracies. According to Vanity Fair, Brian Hoey, the author of At Home with the Queen, told People in 2015 it’s something the queen enjoys. 

“She loves to pick out the mistakes,” he said. “They do tend to get it right.” 

But the queen has caught at least one mistake. 

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Queen Elizabeth II delivery office
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the Queen Elizabeth II delivery office | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

“The Queen did notice on one episode that there was a young so-called British officer wearing medals which had not been awarded when he was supposed to be alive,” Hoey said. “He was fighting in the First World War and the medals on his chest did not come in until the Second World War.”

The queen isn’t the only fan of Downton Abbey in the royal family. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visited the show’s set in March 2015. The queen’s grandson and Catherine’s husband, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, paid tribute to the show ahead of the series finale. 

William, who is second in line to the throne, said Downton Abbey is “one of Catherine’s and my favorite programs,” according to Town and Country

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Queen Elizabeth II’s birth came after ‘Downton Abbey’

Downton Abbey Season 1 began with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Throughout six seasons it covered World War I and other historical events. By the time the show went off the air in December 2015, viewers were leaving the characters behind in 1925. 

Although the queen likes to find historical inaccuracies on the show, she hadn’t been born when it takes place. The queen was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926.

However, having spent more than 65 years as the leader of the royal family, she’s had plenty of time to learn about British history and the ways of the aristocracy in the early 1900s. 

What’s more, the queen’s been to the real Downton Abbey. The show filmed at Highclere Castle, which she visited in 1958 for a cricket match. And she’s the 9th Earl of Carnarvon’s godmother.

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A ‘Downton Abbey’ sequel is on the way

Fans thought they may have seen the last of the Crawley family when Downton Abbey ended in 2015 but they were wrong. The cast reunited for a Downton Abbey movie in 2019. It centered around the king and queen of England making a visit to Downton. 

Viewers can expect the story to continue. Downton Abbey is getting a sequel. In September 2020, Jim Carter, the actor who plays Mr. Carson, revealed he and other members of the cast had already read a script. 

No release date has been announced but whenever Downton Abbey 2 premieres, the queen will likely be watching. 

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