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Season 4 of ‘The Crown’ features the disappearance of Mark Thatcher — before he moved to Dallas

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 11/25/2020 Michael Granberry, The Dallas Morning News

Bold and binge-worthy, The Crown has captivated our attention since its Netflix debut in 2016. It is now immersed in Season 4 — one of its best — which also carries a strong local connection to Dallas.

Part of the plot of episode 4 involves the disappearance of the son of then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. In early 1982, Mark Thatcher, his French co-driver, Anne-Charlotte Verney, and their mechanic went missing for six days in the Sahara Desert while driving a Peugeot 504 in the Paris-Dakar Rally.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day, 1987, when Mark Thatcher married Lake Highlands High School and Southern Methodist University alumna Diane Burgdorf. The couple lived on Fairfax Avenue in Highland Park and had two children, Michael and Amanda. Michael even played running back for the Highland Park High football team.

And in 1987, the prime minister herself came to Highland Park for a visit. She and her husband, Sir Denis Thatcher, took a walk in Flippen Park, as a police helicopter hovered overhead.

In 1993, prime minister Thatcher joined former President George H.W. Bush at a luncheon at the estate of Dallas oilman Cary Maguire. But by 2004, Mark Thatcher had relocated to Cape Town, South Africa, where he was arrested and charged with funding a coup in Equatorial Guinea. Diane Thatcher returned to Highland Park with her children, and a year later, she and her husband announced their divorce.


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