Iconic equestrian venues and a top British rider have taken starring roles in the latest series of popular TV drama The Crown.
A degree of artistic licence saw Hickstead double for Badminton 1979 in the first episode of season four of the Netflix hit. Sharp-eyed viewers may also have noticed Burghley House doubling as Windsor Castle this season.
While the inaccurate description of the Princess Royal as a showjumper led to much tutting among equestrian fans of the series, she did compete at Hickstead during her career in the saddle including winning the 1973 combined training competition on Doublet.
Showjumper Amy Inglis, who made her first appearances on senior Nations Cup teams last year following a glittering medal-winning career at pony, junior and young rider level, doubled as Princess Anne for the jumping scene.
“It was really good fun,” said Amy, who has jumped at Hickstead for years including as part of the British team in last summer’s Nations Cup leg. “On the first day I went into hair and make-up I was sat next to Olivia Colman — it was surreal!”
The Hickstead scenes were shot in January and Amy received the call-up after she was recommended to the production team via someone working at the Devil’s Horsemen.
“In the scene it looks like the stands are packed, but there were only the actors in the box and nobody at all in the stands as that was all done on computer,” Amy told H&H, adding it felt quite strange to be jumping in the main ring with nobody there.
Amy rode her seven-year-old mare, Applause, who she has had success with on the young horse international circuit. Erin Doherty, who plays the Princess, rode a similar looking chestnut (pictured, top) so the footage could be cut together.
“I jumped the full course a few times and then rode a few lines the film crew wanted us to do again,” said Amy, adding Applause really enjoyed herself.
Amy, like the rest of The Crown’s viewers, first saw herself on screen when the series was released this week, which she said felt “really weird”.
She added the cast and crew were all “lovely” and Erin said very kind things about Applause.
“The whole thing was so surreal. When I was going in to get costume and hair and make-up done, I just kept thinking ‘are you sure I’m supposed to be in here?’” she laughed.
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The pair jumped in the Longines International Arena and the course included a number of Hickstead’s famous fences, including the Derby wall.
The characters of The Queen (Olivia Colman) and Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), are seen in the Master’s Box, cheering on Princess Anne to finish sixth.
They are also joined by the character of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), who is later depicted having one of his early meetings with the young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) when queuing to leave.
“I’m a huge fan of The Crown so we were more than happy for part of the new series to be filmed here,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn. “It was quite a production, taking several weeks to set-up and four full days of filming.
“Quite a few members of the Hickstead team were involved in filming the scenes too, playing roles such as the gate steward and the official waving a flag at the finish. They all had to go to Elstree to be fitted out with costumes from the era, which was great fun.”
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