Opening in 1979, Season Four of the crown introduces the Thatcher era of British politics, with Gillian Anderson capturing the Prime Minister's role as both a public figure and a mother.
The fourth episode of the new season recounts the time Mark Thatcher, Margaret’s son, went missing from the 1982 Paris-Dakar rally, an off-road vehicle race from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, when he was 29. He was competing alongside French rally driver Anne-Charlotte Verney, and on January 9th, Thatcher, Verney, and their mechanic got separated from the convoy in the Sahara Desert in Algeria. Shortly after, they were declared missing. In 2004, recounting the experience in The Guardian, Mark Thatcher wrote of the race: “I did absolutely no preparation. Nothing.”
The Crown accurately recounts the headline-making incident, in which the distressed Prime Minister paid for part of the search herself to avoid backlash over spending taxpayer dollars. Mark Thatcher was found by the Algerian air force six days after he was declared missing, 35 miles off the race’s course.
The Crown also seems to have got right his twin sister Carol’s resentment of her mother’s clear favorite child. In 2005, Carol told The Guardian that in her mother’s eyes, she was “one-dimensional and dull" in contrast to her "glamorous" brother. She also added that Margaret "was prone to calling [her] by her secretaries' names and working through each of them until she got to Carol." A BBC documentary on Margaret Thatcher’s life also confirms this—in it, one of her secretaries says that “the challenges of being a mother and Prime Minister were considerable and, to be perfectly frank, she rather failed. She didn’t have time enough for her children. She rather over-indulged Mark when she perhaps under-indulged Carol.”
The sibling rivalry has only deepened over the years. In 2008, Mark Thatcher was reportedly aghast when Carol revealed in her memoir that their 82-year-old mother had been suffering from dementia. He also disagreed with Carol’s decision to auction off some of their mother’s possessions after her death, elevating their feud so much that the siblings “cannot bear to be in the same room,” according to friends.
The twins went their separate ways in adulthood, with Mark moving to the United States in 1986 to pursue business—albeit with intense scrutiny, allegations of unfairly profiting from his mother's position, and questions of legality followed him over the years. In 2005, Mark was involved in an unsuccessful coup in Equatorial Guinea, and he was fined and received a four-year suspended prison sentence in South Africa. He has two children with his first wife heiress Diane Burgdorf, who he divorced in 2005, and has been married to Sarah-Jane Russell since 2008. Mark Thatcher inherited the title of baron in 2003, following the death of his father Denis.
Carol became a journalist, moving to Australia in 1977 to begin her career. Later, she moved back to Britain where she worked at LBC, BBC Radio, TV-am, and wrote travel pieces for The Daily Telegraph. In 2005, she became a reality star, winning the fifth season of the British I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, but was dropped as a presenter of BBC's The One Show in 2009 after making a racist comment about a professional tennis player. She has written several books, including biographies of both her parents, and as of 2013 was living in Switzerland with her boyfriend Marco Grass.
Neither Mark nor Carol Thatcher has publicly commented on Season Four of The Crown, but like the members of the Royal family, bets are the twins are both at home on the couch watching, too.
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