Season 4 of The Crown was perhaps the most highly anticipated to date, as fans were eager to see how the tumultuous marriage of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) would be portrayed. Unsurprisingly, it is this same storyline that has made the season the most contentious.
The latest person to speak out about the Peter Morgan created hit is UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who has urged the team behind the series to make it clear that the show is more fiction than fact.
While Dowden concedes that The Crown is a “beautifully produced work of fiction”, he also expressed his concern that a generation of viewers who did not live through the events depicted would be misled into thinking that the television version is accurate and has called for the show to come with a “health warning”.
The politician says he intends to share his thoughts with Netflix, despite a spokesperson from the streamer reiterating that The Crown is a drama based on real-life events.
Since the Emmy-award winning series debuted in 2016, it has generated plenty of debate, but the noise around the latest season has certainly been the loudest.
Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter also expressed his dissent, saying that the series was guilty of “stretching dramatic license to the extreme”, being “a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana” and “making Charles and Camilla out to be the villains.”
Likewise, Earl Spencer — brother of the late Princess Diana — has said, “I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that: ‘This isn’t true but it is based around some real events’.”
As for the royal family themselves, they have remained characteristically stoic about the Netflix drama, but according to an article published by conservative tabloid The Mail On Sunday, they are not happy about how the events of 1979-1990 have been reenacted.
In particular, the article references royal insiders, purported to be some of “Prince Charles’s closest confidantes who have accused Netflix of exploiting the Royal Family’s pain for financial gain and presenting fiction as fact in its twisted version of events.” Welcome to Hollywood.
These are sentiments allegedly echoed by Prince William himself, with The Express reporting that the Duke of Cambridge feels that his parents have been “unfairly” and “inaccurately exploited” purely for the purpose of revenue.
Whilst the grievances of the actual monarchy might be taken with a grain of salt, Dowden’s complaints have been met with mockery as social media users have pondered why the British government feels the need to tell the public that a TV drama was not real, with one Twitter user calling his remarks “the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages.”
Season 4 of The Crown is streaming now on Netflix.