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British Royal Family

Inside the unique relationship between The Queen and former British PM Harold Wilson

The relationship between the two leaders holds significant historical importance.

By Jess Pullar
If you've ever watched The Crown, you'll appreciate the significance of the relationship between the Queen and the acting British Prime Minister at any given time.
Indeed the two people holding the most powerful positions in the United Kingdom have long been required to nurture a strong relationship - no matter what their personal views are.
Traditionally, the Queen's role with Government is to remain strictly neutral when it comes to political matters, but that's not to say our current monarch Queen Elizabeth II has had the most straightforward relationships with all former British PM's.
In fact, we're about to learn a whole lot more about one of them, with former Labour leader Harold Wilson.
As The Crown season three premieres on Netflix on November 17, the tumultuous professional relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Harold Wilson is laid bare for the world to see.
And while the show itself is based on plenty of factual evidence, we've taken a look ourselves at the historical facts to get a deeper understanding of the pair's run-ins whilst Harold was in power.

Did Harold Wilson and the Queen get along?

We can all agree any working relationship takes some effort to get off the ground, let alone to hit it running, but both Elizabeth and Harold did enjoy an amicable relationship after he took the reigns as PM.
The Sunday Post once wrote that the pair's meetings often lasted well over two hours, with Her Majesty viewing Wilson as a "down-to-earth British chap", who had a solid realistic perspective on life.
The Queen and Harold Wilson shared an amicable relationship. (Getty)

Did Harold Wilson support the royal family?

Historical writers have noted that Wilson and the Queen shared a remarkably strong relationship because of his non-traditional ruling class background.
The former British PM's down-to-earth demeanour and insight apparently even opened the Queen's eyes to other social classes.
With this in mind, it's understood Wilson was not always on board with some of the British elite's traditions and protocols associated with the royal family.
With that said, royal biographer Robert Lacey noted that he persuaded Elizabeth to drop "a lot of stuffy protocol" that had hung around since Queen Victoria's days.
Wilson was also reportedly often invited to the Queen's picnics at Balmoral with her wider family - a sure sign that the two had a friendly relationship.
Wilson reportedly gave the Queen a new perspective outside of her social class. (Getty)

How did Harold Wilson influence the Queen?

Wilson's personable manner saw him approach a number of social matters with admirable sensitivity.
One such example, which is portrayed in season three of The Crown, is during the Aberfan disaster on October 21, 1966, which saw 144 people killed (116 of them children) when a pile of colliery soil collapsed into a village in Wales.
As Prime Minister at the time, Wilson didn't need much persuading to visit the small town the day it occurred, where he quickly prompted the beginning of a high-level inquiry after seeing the distressing damage and trauma it caused to the town.
Wilson was a renowned political leader in the 1960s. (Getty)
The Queen however, did not visit Aberfan in the immediate aftermath, despite her husband Prince Philip and son-in-law Lord Snowdon both visiting.
The move was not taken well at the time, with the British press questioning her motives for not visiting.
But interestingly, after Harold, Philip and Snowdon's visit, and presumably after hearing about the deep impact the tragedy had had on the village, the Queen did go to the the township on October 29.
The Queen has also since admitted that her delay in visiting was one of her biggest regrets.
With this in mind, there's no denying Harold certainly had a strong, and positive influence on the Queen in the 1960s.
We can't wait to see more of it play out in The Crown!
WATCH: The Queen and Kate Middleton step out for their very first joint appearance:

Want more info on The Crown and its storylines? Check out the links below

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