It was a tragedy that robbed the Prince of Wales of a dear friend and left a young mother-to-be a grieving widow.

The infamous Klosters skiing disaster now forms a central part of an episode of the new series of The Crown, with the makers even suggesting it led Prince Charles to make a fateful reassessment of his personal life.

But it can now be revealed that the widow of the Prince’s friend killed in the accident urged the makers of The Crown not to recreate it on film – telling them it would cause intense pain to his family.

Sarah Horsley told The Telegraph she wrote to the Netflix series’ producers, asking them not to dramatise the death of her husband Major Hugh Lindsay in March 1988.

But she said she was “extremely upset” after discovering they had pressed ahead with using the accident as a central part of the episode now being aired by the streaming giant.

And she condemned the makers of The Crown for using Major Lindsay’s death at the age of 34 as a device to explore the disintegration of Prince Charles’s marriage, suggesting it convinced him to commit himself to his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles at the further expense of his marriage to Princess Diana.

From left, John O'Connor as Prince Charles, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Alana Ramsey as Sarah Lindsay, now Horsley, in The Crown's 'Avalanche' episode

Credit: The Crown

Mrs Horsley was pregnant with her daughter Alice when Major Lindsay, a former equerry to the Queen, was killed.

She said: “I was horrified when I was told it [the episode] was happening and was very concerned about the impact on my daughter. I’m very upset by it and I’m dreading people seeing it. I wrote to them asking them not to do it, not to use the accident

“I suppose members of the Royal family have to grin and bear it, but for me it’s a very private tragedy.”

The Klosters disaster – when members of the annual royal ski party to Klosters became caught up in a deadly avalanche – provides the backdrop to the central theme of the ninth episode of series 4 of The Crown, titled Avalanche.

Major Lindsay’s wife, who was then heavily pregnant with Alice and still working at her job in the press office at Buckingham Palace, had stayed at their south London home. The couple, who had met three years earlier through their work for the Queen, had married after just eight months. 

The Royal party were skiing off-piste with mountain guide Bruno Sprecher on the Gotschnagrat Mountain, where the snow had been building on its peak after a fresh fall, when disaster struck.

After the avalanche buried Major Lindsay, the Prince – who went on to become a godfather to Alice – was reported to have dug in the snow with his bare hands alongside the rest of the party in a vain attempt to save his friend’s life.

Patti Palmer-Tomkinson, a friend of the Prince, received severe injuries to both of her legs and her lungs. Mr Sprecher was able to save Ms Palmer-Tomkinson by giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Princess Diana, who was also on the skiing holiday, was not on the slopes when the avalanche hit and had stayed at their chalet in Davos, along with Sarah, the Duchess of York.

Following the disaster the Royal party flew back to RAF Northolt in north-west London, where a guard of honour from Major Lindsay’s regiment, the 9th/12th Lancers, met his coffin (see picture below).

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Charles on their arrival at RAF Northolt in London, accompanying the coffin of their friend Major Hugh Lindsay

Credit: Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection

Major Lindsay’s funeral, which took place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he had trained, was attended by the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York.

Mrs Horsley, who a number of years later met and married Paul Horsley, a successful businessman, said that on receiving her request not to use the disaster, the producers of The Crown replied with “a very kind letter”, saying “that they understood my concerns but they hope I will feel that they deal with difficult subject matters with integrity and great sensitivity”.    

But she added: “I think it’s very unkind to many members of the family [to dramatise the accident]. If they were going to do it they should have asked me.”

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2008 Mrs Horsley recalled the moment she was told of her husband’s death.

“I was told by Sir Robin Janvrin [then the Queen’s press secretary] that there had been an accident – he said the Prince was safe but somebody was dead,” she said. "For half an hour, I said an awful lot of prayers but then poor Robin had to tell me it was Hugh who had died. He came to my office but he didn’t have to say anything – I knew from his expression what had happened. Shortly after that the Prince of Wales rang. It was just horrendous."

Sarah Horsley, widow of Major Hugh Lindsay, who requested that her husband's death wasn't portrayed in The Crown

Credit: Christopher Pledger/The Telegraph

Mrs Horlsey, 67, is particularly upset that The Crown appears to have deployed the Klosters disaster as a plot device to explore Prince Charles’s state of mind, suggesting his friend’s unexpected death made him realise he had to make the most of his relationship with Mrs Parker Bowles, the woman he was truly in love with, rather than his wife Princess Diana, from whom he was growing increasingly estranged.

The episode shows Charles suffering flashbacks to being trapped under the snow, after which he tells  Camilla on the phone: "In the moment that the avalanche was bearing down on me, in that ghastly moment where I was sure I was going to die, I had a profound realisation – this, the whole thing, my marriage, this situation, the whole charade is madness. I only want to be with you. I mean fully, completely, as my wife. The rest of it is just a terrible lie that’s making everyone involved in it utterly wretched."

But Mrs Horsley said: “That’s nonsense,” adding that it was “speculative and hurtful”.

Mrs Horsley and Alice, now 32, were invited by the producers to a private screening of the episode. They politely declined.

“I won’t be watching it, it’s just too upsetting to see something like that,” Mrs Horsley said. “Perhaps at some point in the future Alice and I will watch it quietly together. It will be tough. My daughter has only heard about the accident from me because she wasn’t even born when it happened.”

Major Hugh Lindsay pictured in 1984

Credit: PA

Speaking from her home in a small Wiltshire village near Salisbury, last week, Mrs Horsley added: “I’m worried that an entire generation of young people will watch The Crown and treat it as fact when, from the way they are showing what happened and the members of the Royal family, it clearly isn’t.”

Netflix declined to comment.