Already through its second season, Netflix’s biographical series on Queen Elizabeth II has taken the streaming world by storm—the drama, the costumes, those sets, and the real-life palaces that bring royal life and post-war Britain back into the present day. At $100 million, the show clocks in as Netflix’s most expensive production to date—but no amount of money can buy filming crews a way into the Queen’s beloved Buckingham Palace. So where were those scenes filmed? Jetsetter found out.
Buckingham Palace, London
Of course, a show about England’s longest-reigning monarch couldn’t get away with leaving out her royal residence. Though Buckingham Palace’s interiors remain off-limits to film crews, its iconic exterior makes its cameo more than a few times.
Lancaster House, London
Despite being the “lowly” neighbor of Buckingham Palace, the interiors of this grand house in London, built in 1825 by the Duke of York, are arguably just as grand. The Long Gallery room, in particular is used as a dining room in S1:E7 in preparation for the American President’s visit; the main hall, with its double iron-wrought staircase, glowing lamps, and scarlet carpets, provides another dramatic stage as the couple accept Buckingham Palace as their new residence. While not open to the public, you can still catch a glimpse of its opulent interior architecture during September’s annual Open House London.
Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire
Only real royals, like Will and Kate, can get married at Westminster Abbey. To stage Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s royal wedding in S1:E1, and Elizabeth’s subsequent coronation in S1:E5, the cast and crew headed to Ely Cathedral, an Anglican church built in 1083 near Cambridge, whose enormous cast-iron doors, dramatic stained-glass windows, and soaring romantic archways is the perfect stand in. The show’s location scouts weren’t the only ones to appreciate the resemblance: you’ll spot Ely Cathedral standing in for Westminster in both The King’s Speech and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Lyceum Theater, London
The interiors of this 1765 Beaux Arts landmark in London’s West End has hosted many a party over the years (it's now home to The Lion King), and it stood in beautifully as the backdrop for a royal gala in S1:E4, when Elizabeth and Prince Philip broke out their 1940s tux and tiara.
Old Royal Naval College, London
Look closely and you might recognize that scenes meant to show Buckingham Palace's courtyard—where Winston Churchill and members of the royal family would often arrive and depart between meetings with the Queen—were actually shot at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
Ardverikie House, Scotland
It cannot be overstated how dear Scotland is to the royal family, who retreat to Balmoral Castle each year. (The Queen herself takes an annual weeks-only holiday at the end of every summer). Filming crews couldn’t get the real thing, so they substituted it with Ardverikie Estate, a 19th-century baronial manor belonging to Clan Macpherson, whose grounds in the Scottish Highlands are equally as wild and lush for various scenes in S1:E10.
Audley End House, Essex
Several flashback scenes of princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were shot in this stately Jacobean house in Essex. Its portrait-lined great hall served as a study for both girls, while the upstairs library stood in as the room where Elizabeth, while attending Eton College, wondered aloud about the discrepancies between her subjects and those studied by her colleagues.
Slains Castle, Aberdeen, Scotland
In 1952, the Queen Mother was horseback riding on a beach in Scotland when she spotted a run-down castle in the distance—the soon-to-be Castle Mey, which the family purchased, repaired, and used as a holiday home for decades. The exteriors of this dilapidated seaside fortress in Aberdeen made the perfect “body double” for Castle Mey in Episode 8, as did nearby Cruden Bay, where the queen was riding when she first spotted it.
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