Sharp-eyed equestrians might have noticed iconic showjumping venue Hickstead doubling for the famous Badminton Horse Trials in the latest series of the Netflix hit, The Crown.
In series four, Hickstead was used as the filming location for scenes for the Badminton Horse Trials, where Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, is seen competing in the showjumping phase at the 1979 event. She finished sixth in the event.
Anne is played by Erin Doherty, who took riding lessons to prepare for the role. The rider who did the actual jumping in the action shots was Amy Inglis, a regular competitor at Hickstead and a member of the British Nations Cup team there in 2019.
The huge Longines International Arena with its permanent grandstands and multitude of showjumps at Hickstead made a convincing backdrop, with cheering crowds added through computer graphics. Princess Anne is seen jumping a clear round over a sizable course of jumps that included some of Hickstead’s famous fences, such as the Al Shira’aa Derby wall.
In the scene, the characters of The Queen and Prince Philip, played by Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies, are seen in the Master’s Box, cheering their daughter on. 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 the event.
“I’m a huge fan of The Crown so we were more than happy for part of the new series to be filmed here,” says 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.”
The Crown may have used some artistic licence when it came to creating the ‘Badminton’ scenes, but Princess Anne did actually compete at Hickstead, most notably winning the combined training in 1973 on her famous horse Doublet. The Princess Royal has also visited the showground on a number of occasions in an official capacity, while Her Majesty The Queen is the official patron of the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.