The Crown season 2: Did the Queen really dance with Nkrumah? Did it change history? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV - World Big News

The Crown season 2: Did the Queen really dance with Nkrumah? Did it change history? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

In TV & Radio News


Episode eight of the Netflix hit was called Dear Mrs Kennedy and saw Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy) and First Lady Jackie Kennedy (Jodi Balfour) involved in a rivalry.

In The Crown Jackie was seen helping her husband JFK (Michael C. Hall) to make an impact during his tour of Europe and apparently influencing the relations between the US and other countries on the continent. 

The Queen appeared to be somewhat jealous of the First Lady’s success. But things only really took a turn when word got back to the monarch about disparaging comments made by Jackie. 

After hearing the remarks, the Queen decided to prove Jackie wrong and was seen going against the wishes of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (Anton Lesser) and going on a royal trip to Ghana.

While she wasn’t officially there on behalf of the British government, she was hoping to keep Ghana part of the Empire and away from the Russians. 

One scene from The Crown depicted the Queen doing the Foxtrot with President Nkrumah (Danny Sapani) in a bid to show unity between Britain and Ghana.

Her seemingly impulsive actions to get one over Jackie appeared to work, but did this actually happen in real life?

THE CROWN SEASON 3 RELEASE DATE

Did the Queen really dance with Ghana’s President Nkrumah?

Like most things from The Crown, history and artistic licence have been melded together to create drama.

The Queen and Jackie did meet in real life and the First Lady did make unflattering remarks about her, which got back to the royal.

What’s also true is that the Queen went to Ghana and danced with President Nkrumah. There are pictures of the pair dancing during her visit.

WHAT ARE THE MARBURG FILES?

The Queen dances with President Nkrumah in The Crown season 2NETFLIX

The Queen dances with President Nkrumah in The Crown season 2

But there’s seems to be little evidence to suggest any rivalry between the Queen and Jackie.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, historian Hugo Vickers said: “The president and Mrs Kennedy were entertained in 1961.

“Mrs Kennedy did apparently write one or two disparaging remarks about the decor of the palace, et cetera and it’s true that the Queen went to Ghana.

“But she did not go to Ghana to snub Mrs Kennedy and get one over her in some kind of stupid cat fight.”

Vickers, who has written The Crown: Truth & Fiction: An Analysis of the Netflix Series, added: “She went there for very serious reasons. Nkrumah was flirting with the Russians to some extent and she wanted to keep Ghana in the Commonwealth and she did.”

DID PRINCE PHILIP REALLY CHEAT ON THE QUEEN?

The Queen dances with President Nkrumah in real lifeGETTY

The Queen dances with President Nkrumah in real life

The Queen with President Nkrumah in real life in GhanaGETTY

The Queen with President Nkrumah in real life in Ghana

Did the dance really change history?

In The Crown is was suggested that the Queen’s visit was successful, however a number of African historians have hit out at the depiction of the dance and its political significance.  

Speaking to NPR, architect and amateur historian Nat Nuno-Amarteifio – who was a teenager at the time of the Queen’s visit – said: “I’m surprised that the dance has attained this retroactive reputation. Nobody talked about it then.”

In the drama, the Queen went to Ghana because Nkrumah was getting close to the USSR amid concerns from both the UK and America of socialism spreading in Africa.

However, Nat Nuno-Amarteifio disagrees, explaining: “Our roots with Russian communism were more intellectual than anything else.”

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED BETWEEN THE QUEEN AND JACKIE KENNEDY?

The Queen dances with President Nkrumah in real lifeGETTY

The Queen dances with President Nkrumah in real life

He went on to say, in reference to the portrait of the Queen getting replaced with one Lenin in The Crown: “There was nothing visceral about it. Lenin wasn’t a personality that we associated with liberty or freedom. 

“If anything, 99 per cent of Ghanaians wouldn’t have known who Lenin was.”

Nevertheless, there were worries about Africa falling to communism says John Parker, a historian at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

“The British government was certainly concerned to limit Soviet influence in ex-colonies,” Parker said. 

He added: “Overseas tours by the queen were designed broadly to strengthen Commonwealth links.”

Nkrumah is considered to be one of Africa’s most influential leaders and is thought to have helped usher in an era of independence for Ghana. 

He managed to bring the country independence in 1957 by passing legislation that saw Ghana become the first colony in Sub-Saharan Africa – following after South Africa – to become self-governing. 

During the independence celebrations – which was several years before the Queen’s visit – Nkrumah failed to dance with the Duchess of Kent because he was more comfortable dancing a West African pop style called highlife.

Nkrumah was taught the Foxtrot by the Lucille Armstrong, who was the wife of one of guest Louis Armstrong. He later went on to Foxtrot with the Queen in the now-famous pictures 

So while the Queen did indeed dance with Nkrumah, those scenes in The Crown need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

The Crown season 2 is available to watch on Netflix now.