Netflix’s The Crown season 4: Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles.

The Crown: Netflix responds to controversy over royal drama series

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“We have always presented The Crown as a drama,” says a Netflix spokesperson.

Emmy award-winning drama The Crown has always made headlines, ever since its first season debuted via Netflix on 4 November 2016.

This year’s installment of the royal TV series, though, has prompted upset over the alleged fabrication of some scenes and events, particularly with regards to the depiction of Prince Charles’ marriage to the late Princess Diana.

Spurred on by these criticisms of the show’s historical accuracy, culture secretary, Oliver Dowden suggested that a disclaimer be put up before the show was played, to prevent viewers from misinterpreting the portrayal as historical truth.

“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told The Mail On Sunday.

“Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

Netflix’s The Crown season 4: Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Netflix’s The Crown season 4: Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Elsewhere, Helena Bonham-Carter, who stars in seasons three and four of the show as Princess Margaret, has echoed Dowden’s sentiments.

Insisting there is an important distinction between “our version”, and the “real version” during an appearance on The Crown’s official podcast, Bonham Carter said: “It is dramatised. I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, ‘Hang on guys, this is not … it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.’ So they are two different entities.”

And Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother, has also called upon Netflix to add a disclaimer.

“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,’” he told broadcaster ITV.

Despite this, though, the streaming platform has released a statement insisting that they will not be adding a disclaimer to the smash-hit royal drama series.

“We have always presented The Crown as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” a spokesperson told Deadline.

“As a result we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”

Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother
The Crown season 4: Marion Bailey plays the Queen Mother.

As reported in the Times, Peter Morgan has stressed that certain scenes of The Crown were “made up in my head” but defended the right of the dramatist to take liberties in the interests of entertainment.

“There is a constant push-pull,” he says. “I’ve learnt, to my cost, that when you’re really only focused on research, the drama suffers.”

All four seasons of The Crown are available to stream now on Netflix.

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Images: Netflix

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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