A recent episode of the popular Netflix series on the royal family featured Prince Charles’s schooldays at Gordonstoun. Was he badly treated? Alistair Lexden quoted words written by the Prince in a letter published in The Daily Telegraph on January 8.
SIR-- The portrayal on Netflix of Prince Charles’s misery at Gordonstoun has been contested by one of his contemporaries who claims that it does not “remotely resemble” the truth (“Gordonstoun ‘nothing like in The Crown’”, report, January 4).
When researching his biography of the Prince published in 1994, Jonathan Dimbleby had access to letters which he sent to his parents and others from Gordonstoun. They record a life of deep unhappiness.
“I hate coming back here,” he wrote in his third term. “I hardly get any sleep because I snore and I get hit on the head the whole time. It’s absolute hell.”
Things had not improved at the end of two years. “The people in my dormitory are foul. Goodness they are horrid, I don’t know how anyone could be so foul… I still wish I could come home. It’s such a hole this place.”
It was only in music, painting and acting that he found relief, giving a notable performance as Macbeth in his last term.
Netflix has been justly criticised for making some serious errors, but its depiction of Prince Charles’s time at Gordonstoun is not among them.