Real Stories Behind the Events


In the fourth episode, “Favourites,” Margaret Thatcher’s son disappeared during a car race in the Sahara, leading to the prime minister breaking down in front of the Queen.

mark thatcher

Real-life Mark Thatcher and Freddie Fox playing Thatcher’s son.

Getty & Netflix

When Thatcher was elected prime minister, she was also a mother to twins, Carol and Mark. In 1982, 29-year-old Mark (played by Freddie Fox) participated in the Paris-Dakar rally, a cross-country road race. On January 10, 1982, he and his team were seen for the last time in the Sahara, and two days later, he was officially reported as missing.

There is no actual evidence that Thatcher broke down in front of the Queen. However, on January 13, Thatcher was seen crying at the Imperial Hotel in London, reportedly over her missing son. In “The Crown,” Thatcher — played by Gillian Anderson — admits that Mark is her favorite child during this ordeal. 

“She stumbled a bit and was crying,” one shopkeeper at the hotel told reporters at the time, according to RadioTimes. “Then she composed herself and said she would be alright. I did feel very sorry for her.”

An international rescue mission began, and eventually, Mark was found alive on January 14 after a plane spotted them over 30 miles off course. Mark was reportedly in good spirits, saying, he wanted “a beer and a sandwich, a bath and a shave.”

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