It’s a true story. He’s Sir Anthony Blunt, the Queen’s surveyor of pictures. But faced with a background check for a new government job in Washington DC, Michael Straight decided to come clean about his history – and give Blunt up as a spy. Instead, he was hiding out at home in London with his long-term partner John Gaskin, lying low with the lights off until his friend and former pupil Brian Sewell was able to smuggle the two of them out. It’s true, Daily Mail reports, that MI5 confronted Blunt in 1964 and he confessed to being a KGB spy.

Like many of The Crown's storylines, this improbable ordeal is based in fact. It is, after all, more than 30 years ago. ), The Guardian discusses a book about Blunt by Miranda Carter.

His one attempt to write his own history, a 30,000-word autobiographical manuscript, was bequeathed with instructions not to make it public until 25 years after his death, in 2009. Many wondered if he would turn up in Moscow – but unlike the other members of the Cambridge Spy Ring, he chose not to defect to Russia. He was offered a deal: in return for a full confession, he would be granted immunity from prosecution.

Blunt then agreed to speak with a select few journalists, including BBC Television’s Christopher Morris, who (in a reflection of the times) asked if his “homosexual leanings” had been the “leverage that made you join as a Russian spy.”. Boyle did not name Blunt specifically, giving him the codename “Maurice” or “the Fourth Man”, but it became obvious exactly who he was talking about – especially when Blunt actually tried to prevent the book’s publication. The pair took a boat to France which didn't require a passport (a plan concocted by Blunt), and from there made their way to Russia. Queen Elizabeth was informed at the time—and this big reveal is what's depicted on The Crown.

Later, as journalists neared the truth about Blunt, Margaret Thatcher outed him in speech to the House of Commons. In that role, he maintained the paintings in the Royal Collection. It did not, however, provide a basis on which charges could be brought.” Instead, the authorities decided that “the public interest” lay in trying to secure a confession from Blunt and “obtain information from him about any others who might still be a danger.”. “I was persuaded by Guy Burgess that I could best serve the cause of antifascism by joining him in his work for the Russians,” Blunt said in a later interview. "I think, absolutely, that Blunt would never have been recruited if he hadn't been so friendly with Burgess," Lownie says. The big speech is likely a dramatisation for The Crown. He wasn’t publicly revealed as a spy until 1979 when Margaret Thatcher revealed he had been such. But everything changed after 1963, when American citizen Michael Straight pointed the finger at Anthony Blunt. (Also, many of the horrors about the U.S.S.R. had yet to come to light.). But it was the information that came out immediately after the war. Is it a real story. He was “the son of the chaplain to the British Embassy in Paris, he had had an exemplary school career, winning a scholarship in mathematics to Trinity College, Cambridge, before going on to become director of the Courtauld Institute, surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, a knight of the realm, and a great expert on French art of the seventeenth century, particularly Poussin.”. “Do you now regret having made that decision?” Morris asked. Was he really a Soviet spy, and was he real?

Truth behind The Crown. The Times reports that Blunt was primarily known as a Nicolas Poussin expert.

I might have joined the Communist Party, but Guy, who was an extraordinarily persuasive person, convinced me that I could do more good by joining him in his work. Inside sources leaked the story to an author and former military intelligence agent called Andrew Boyle, and in 1979 he published an explosive book titled Climate of Treason. Wikimedia Commons/Getty According to The New York Times, he described how he started spying for the Soviets in the 1930s and called it “the biggest mistake of my life.” He was actively involved in spycraft, even giving the Russians the names of people working secretly for Great Britain. The Crown season 3 is available on Netflix now, Indulge in a premium cheese, charcuterie and wine bundle – delivered direct to your door. The understanding that he wouldn’t be publicly revealed lasted for 15 years. Some also believe that Blunt's homosexuality may have prepositioned him to rebel, as he was not accepted into the British social order of the time. (The whole immunity deal was, of course, arranged to keep this secret.) He died of a heart attack in 1983 at the age of 75. Did Princess Margaret charm (and kiss) President Lyndon B Johnson? Daily Mail reports that Blunt died four years after being exposed. He continued to show her round his galleries and they occasionally shared a box at the opera. The knowledge of Blunt’s spying didn’t seem to put the Queen Mother off, though. Carter tells us: “In the summer of 1963, only a few months before his confession, he had apparently quietly acted on behalf of the royal family to purchase a series of drawings that Stephen Ward – then a key witness in the Profumo affair – had made of the Duke of Edinburgh.”. In the immediate aftermath of Thatcher’s speech, Blunt was nowhere to be found. In 1939, war broke out and he joined the British Army; the following year he was recruited to MI5, where he was tasked with keeping neutral missions in London under close surveillance. It was during Blunt’s years studying and teaching at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s that he was recruited by the Soviet NKVD, which later evolved into the KGB secret service. Did that really happen? In addition to Burgess and Blunt, the "Five" included Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and John Cairncross. latest additions to Meghan Markle’s staff, The Real-Life Stamps Featuring Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth's Hair Is Deceptively Complicated, Queen Elizabeth's Bentley is Up for Auction, Remembering Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Day, The Story Behind Queen Elizabeth's Scarab Brooch.

The Crown Season 3 starts with Queen Elizabeth II’s suspicions that Russian spies have infiltrated the highest reaches of British government (Warning: There will be spoilers for The Crown, Season 3, episode 1 in this article.).

It describes Blunt’s background. Regardless of the political climate at Cambridge or his sexuality, Blunt likely never would have engaged in espionage were it not for his close friend, Guy Burgess—after all, while many on the Cambridge campus had Marxist sympathies, a scant few would end up spying for the other side. These two men had known each other at Cambridge back in the 30s, and it is likely that Straight was also involved in this network of KGB spies. They did, however, continue to see each other at events; she came to the opening of the Courtauld Institute's new galleries in 1968, and would congratulate him on his retirement in 1972. He explained that Cambridge was “rife with Marxist sympathizers” fueled by the ascendance of Adolf Hitler and the Spanish Civil War. He also gets credit for bringing Blunt over to the Soviet side. Here’s what you need to know about the true story behind the Netflix drama: Anthony Blunt (1907-1983) was a highly-respected art historian and member of the Royal Household who was unmasked as a Soviet spy.

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It’s a true story. He’s Sir Anthony Blunt, the Queen’s surveyor of pictures. But faced with a background check for a new government job in Washington DC, Michael Straight decided to come clean about his history – and give Blunt up as a spy. Instead, he was hiding out at home in London with his long-term partner John Gaskin, lying low with the lights off until his friend and former pupil Brian Sewell was able to smuggle the two of them out. It’s true, Daily Mail reports, that MI5 confronted Blunt in 1964 and he confessed to being a KGB spy.

Like many of The Crown's storylines, this improbable ordeal is based in fact. It is, after all, more than 30 years ago. ), The Guardian discusses a book about Blunt by Miranda Carter.

His one attempt to write his own history, a 30,000-word autobiographical manuscript, was bequeathed with instructions not to make it public until 25 years after his death, in 2009. Many wondered if he would turn up in Moscow – but unlike the other members of the Cambridge Spy Ring, he chose not to defect to Russia. He was offered a deal: in return for a full confession, he would be granted immunity from prosecution.

Blunt then agreed to speak with a select few journalists, including BBC Television’s Christopher Morris, who (in a reflection of the times) asked if his “homosexual leanings” had been the “leverage that made you join as a Russian spy.”. Boyle did not name Blunt specifically, giving him the codename “Maurice” or “the Fourth Man”, but it became obvious exactly who he was talking about – especially when Blunt actually tried to prevent the book’s publication. The pair took a boat to France which didn't require a passport (a plan concocted by Blunt), and from there made their way to Russia. Queen Elizabeth was informed at the time—and this big reveal is what's depicted on The Crown.

Later, as journalists neared the truth about Blunt, Margaret Thatcher outed him in speech to the House of Commons. In that role, he maintained the paintings in the Royal Collection. It did not, however, provide a basis on which charges could be brought.” Instead, the authorities decided that “the public interest” lay in trying to secure a confession from Blunt and “obtain information from him about any others who might still be a danger.”. “I was persuaded by Guy Burgess that I could best serve the cause of antifascism by joining him in his work for the Russians,” Blunt said in a later interview. "I think, absolutely, that Blunt would never have been recruited if he hadn't been so friendly with Burgess," Lownie says. The big speech is likely a dramatisation for The Crown. He wasn’t publicly revealed as a spy until 1979 when Margaret Thatcher revealed he had been such. But everything changed after 1963, when American citizen Michael Straight pointed the finger at Anthony Blunt. (Also, many of the horrors about the U.S.S.R. had yet to come to light.). But it was the information that came out immediately after the war. Is it a real story. He was “the son of the chaplain to the British Embassy in Paris, he had had an exemplary school career, winning a scholarship in mathematics to Trinity College, Cambridge, before going on to become director of the Courtauld Institute, surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, a knight of the realm, and a great expert on French art of the seventeenth century, particularly Poussin.”. “Do you now regret having made that decision?” Morris asked. Was he really a Soviet spy, and was he real?

Truth behind The Crown. The Times reports that Blunt was primarily known as a Nicolas Poussin expert.

I might have joined the Communist Party, but Guy, who was an extraordinarily persuasive person, convinced me that I could do more good by joining him in his work. Inside sources leaked the story to an author and former military intelligence agent called Andrew Boyle, and in 1979 he published an explosive book titled Climate of Treason. Wikimedia Commons/Getty According to The New York Times, he described how he started spying for the Soviets in the 1930s and called it “the biggest mistake of my life.” He was actively involved in spycraft, even giving the Russians the names of people working secretly for Great Britain. The Crown season 3 is available on Netflix now, Indulge in a premium cheese, charcuterie and wine bundle – delivered direct to your door. The understanding that he wouldn’t be publicly revealed lasted for 15 years. Some also believe that Blunt's homosexuality may have prepositioned him to rebel, as he was not accepted into the British social order of the time. (The whole immunity deal was, of course, arranged to keep this secret.) He died of a heart attack in 1983 at the age of 75. Did Princess Margaret charm (and kiss) President Lyndon B Johnson? Daily Mail reports that Blunt died four years after being exposed. He continued to show her round his galleries and they occasionally shared a box at the opera. The knowledge of Blunt’s spying didn’t seem to put the Queen Mother off, though. Carter tells us: “In the summer of 1963, only a few months before his confession, he had apparently quietly acted on behalf of the royal family to purchase a series of drawings that Stephen Ward – then a key witness in the Profumo affair – had made of the Duke of Edinburgh.”. In the immediate aftermath of Thatcher’s speech, Blunt was nowhere to be found. In 1939, war broke out and he joined the British Army; the following year he was recruited to MI5, where he was tasked with keeping neutral missions in London under close surveillance. It was during Blunt’s years studying and teaching at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s that he was recruited by the Soviet NKVD, which later evolved into the KGB secret service. Did that really happen? In addition to Burgess and Blunt, the "Five" included Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and John Cairncross. latest additions to Meghan Markle’s staff, The Real-Life Stamps Featuring Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth's Hair Is Deceptively Complicated, Queen Elizabeth's Bentley is Up for Auction, Remembering Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Day, The Story Behind Queen Elizabeth's Scarab Brooch.

The Crown Season 3 starts with Queen Elizabeth II’s suspicions that Russian spies have infiltrated the highest reaches of British government (Warning: There will be spoilers for The Crown, Season 3, episode 1 in this article.).

It describes Blunt’s background. Regardless of the political climate at Cambridge or his sexuality, Blunt likely never would have engaged in espionage were it not for his close friend, Guy Burgess—after all, while many on the Cambridge campus had Marxist sympathies, a scant few would end up spying for the other side. These two men had known each other at Cambridge back in the 30s, and it is likely that Straight was also involved in this network of KGB spies. They did, however, continue to see each other at events; she came to the opening of the Courtauld Institute's new galleries in 1968, and would congratulate him on his retirement in 1972. He explained that Cambridge was “rife with Marxist sympathizers” fueled by the ascendance of Adolf Hitler and the Spanish Civil War. He also gets credit for bringing Blunt over to the Soviet side. Here’s what you need to know about the true story behind the Netflix drama: Anthony Blunt (1907-1983) was a highly-respected art historian and member of the Royal Household who was unmasked as a Soviet spy.

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Here, how Blunt's true story compares to The Crown season 3's plot line. In her biography, Anthony Blunt: His Lives, Miranda Carter quotes Blunt's description of his fellow academics in January 1934, upon returning from abroad: "[I] found that the intellectuals whom I had known before I went away were all coming the influence of Communism." “I was convinced he had never been a communist in the fullest political sense, even during his days at Cambridge. Throughout the war he passed secret intelligence to his Russian handlers. Blunt was offered immunity in exchange for a confession and cooperation in ongoing investigations. They were frustrated with the U.K.'s policy of appeasement toward Hitler, and thought that the Communists might be the only ones able to defeat the fascists. “I told Lascelles that I had known Anthony Blunt for about 10 years,” he wrote. Our best wishes for a productive day.

It’s a true story. He’s Sir Anthony Blunt, the Queen’s surveyor of pictures. But faced with a background check for a new government job in Washington DC, Michael Straight decided to come clean about his history – and give Blunt up as a spy. Instead, he was hiding out at home in London with his long-term partner John Gaskin, lying low with the lights off until his friend and former pupil Brian Sewell was able to smuggle the two of them out. It’s true, Daily Mail reports, that MI5 confronted Blunt in 1964 and he confessed to being a KGB spy.

Like many of The Crown's storylines, this improbable ordeal is based in fact. It is, after all, more than 30 years ago. ), The Guardian discusses a book about Blunt by Miranda Carter.

His one attempt to write his own history, a 30,000-word autobiographical manuscript, was bequeathed with instructions not to make it public until 25 years after his death, in 2009. Many wondered if he would turn up in Moscow – but unlike the other members of the Cambridge Spy Ring, he chose not to defect to Russia. He was offered a deal: in return for a full confession, he would be granted immunity from prosecution.

Blunt then agreed to speak with a select few journalists, including BBC Television’s Christopher Morris, who (in a reflection of the times) asked if his “homosexual leanings” had been the “leverage that made you join as a Russian spy.”. Boyle did not name Blunt specifically, giving him the codename “Maurice” or “the Fourth Man”, but it became obvious exactly who he was talking about – especially when Blunt actually tried to prevent the book’s publication. The pair took a boat to France which didn't require a passport (a plan concocted by Blunt), and from there made their way to Russia. Queen Elizabeth was informed at the time—and this big reveal is what's depicted on The Crown.

Later, as journalists neared the truth about Blunt, Margaret Thatcher outed him in speech to the House of Commons. In that role, he maintained the paintings in the Royal Collection. It did not, however, provide a basis on which charges could be brought.” Instead, the authorities decided that “the public interest” lay in trying to secure a confession from Blunt and “obtain information from him about any others who might still be a danger.”. “I was persuaded by Guy Burgess that I could best serve the cause of antifascism by joining him in his work for the Russians,” Blunt said in a later interview. "I think, absolutely, that Blunt would never have been recruited if he hadn't been so friendly with Burgess," Lownie says. The big speech is likely a dramatisation for The Crown. He wasn’t publicly revealed as a spy until 1979 when Margaret Thatcher revealed he had been such. But everything changed after 1963, when American citizen Michael Straight pointed the finger at Anthony Blunt. (Also, many of the horrors about the U.S.S.R. had yet to come to light.). But it was the information that came out immediately after the war. Is it a real story. He was “the son of the chaplain to the British Embassy in Paris, he had had an exemplary school career, winning a scholarship in mathematics to Trinity College, Cambridge, before going on to become director of the Courtauld Institute, surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, a knight of the realm, and a great expert on French art of the seventeenth century, particularly Poussin.”. “Do you now regret having made that decision?” Morris asked. Was he really a Soviet spy, and was he real?

Truth behind The Crown. The Times reports that Blunt was primarily known as a Nicolas Poussin expert.

I might have joined the Communist Party, but Guy, who was an extraordinarily persuasive person, convinced me that I could do more good by joining him in his work. Inside sources leaked the story to an author and former military intelligence agent called Andrew Boyle, and in 1979 he published an explosive book titled Climate of Treason. Wikimedia Commons/Getty According to The New York Times, he described how he started spying for the Soviets in the 1930s and called it “the biggest mistake of my life.” He was actively involved in spycraft, even giving the Russians the names of people working secretly for Great Britain. The Crown season 3 is available on Netflix now, Indulge in a premium cheese, charcuterie and wine bundle – delivered direct to your door. The understanding that he wouldn’t be publicly revealed lasted for 15 years. Some also believe that Blunt's homosexuality may have prepositioned him to rebel, as he was not accepted into the British social order of the time. (The whole immunity deal was, of course, arranged to keep this secret.) He died of a heart attack in 1983 at the age of 75. Did Princess Margaret charm (and kiss) President Lyndon B Johnson? Daily Mail reports that Blunt died four years after being exposed. He continued to show her round his galleries and they occasionally shared a box at the opera. The knowledge of Blunt’s spying didn’t seem to put the Queen Mother off, though. Carter tells us: “In the summer of 1963, only a few months before his confession, he had apparently quietly acted on behalf of the royal family to purchase a series of drawings that Stephen Ward – then a key witness in the Profumo affair – had made of the Duke of Edinburgh.”. In the immediate aftermath of Thatcher’s speech, Blunt was nowhere to be found. In 1939, war broke out and he joined the British Army; the following year he was recruited to MI5, where he was tasked with keeping neutral missions in London under close surveillance. It was during Blunt’s years studying and teaching at the University of Cambridge in the 1930s that he was recruited by the Soviet NKVD, which later evolved into the KGB secret service. Did that really happen? In addition to Burgess and Blunt, the "Five" included Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and John Cairncross. latest additions to Meghan Markle’s staff, The Real-Life Stamps Featuring Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth's Hair Is Deceptively Complicated, Queen Elizabeth's Bentley is Up for Auction, Remembering Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Day, The Story Behind Queen Elizabeth's Scarab Brooch.

The Crown Season 3 starts with Queen Elizabeth II’s suspicions that Russian spies have infiltrated the highest reaches of British government (Warning: There will be spoilers for The Crown, Season 3, episode 1 in this article.).

It describes Blunt’s background. Regardless of the political climate at Cambridge or his sexuality, Blunt likely never would have engaged in espionage were it not for his close friend, Guy Burgess—after all, while many on the Cambridge campus had Marxist sympathies, a scant few would end up spying for the other side. These two men had known each other at Cambridge back in the 30s, and it is likely that Straight was also involved in this network of KGB spies. They did, however, continue to see each other at events; she came to the opening of the Courtauld Institute's new galleries in 1968, and would congratulate him on his retirement in 1972. He explained that Cambridge was “rife with Marxist sympathizers” fueled by the ascendance of Adolf Hitler and the Spanish Civil War. He also gets credit for bringing Blunt over to the Soviet side. Here’s what you need to know about the true story behind the Netflix drama: Anthony Blunt (1907-1983) was a highly-respected art historian and member of the Royal Household who was unmasked as a Soviet spy.

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