After everything that’s happened with the royal family in the last year – with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping back from their royal duties and Prince Andrew facing allegations of sex with an underage girl (a fact he strongly denies) – there’s certainly a lot of material to play with.
However, if you’ve been patiently waiting for the Meghan Markle casting announcement, we’ve got some bad news for you. Because in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the show’s creator Peter Morgan explained why the show won’t ever directly touch on modern royal affairs.
“I just think you get so much more interesting [with time],” he said. “Meghan and Harry are in the middle of their journey, and I don’t know what their journey is or how it will end. One wishes some happiness, but I’m much more comfortable writing about things that happened at least 20 years ago.”
Saying he has a “20-year rule” in his head when it comes to subjects for the show, Morgan added that he likes to know “where in the scheme of things” individual narratives end up before he writes them into the show.
“[20 years] is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance. Often things that appear absolutely wildly important today are instantly forgotten, and other things have a habit of sticking around and proving to be historically very relevant and long-lasting.”
Morgan continued: “I don’t know where in the scheme of things Prince Andrew or indeed Meghan Markle or Harry will ever appear. We won’t know, and you need time to stop something being journalistic. And so I don’t want to write about them because to write about them would instantly make it journalistic, and there are plenty of journalists already writing about them.”
Going on to talk about the other women like Meghan who “have been married into the Royal family that have felt unwelcome,” Morgan explained how it could be possible to tell the story of Harry and Meghan “through analogy and metaphor,” instead of touching on the subject directly.
“To be a dramatist, I think you need perspective and you need to also allow for the opportunity for metaphor,” he said. “Once something has a metaphorical possibility, it can then become interesting.”
Morgan added: “There have been plenty of opportunities in the past where there have been marital complications. There’ve been wives that have been married into the Royal family that have felt unwelcome and that they don’t fit in. So there are plenty of stories to tell without telling the story of Harry and Meghan.”
Although fans who were still hoping to see Meghan and Harry’s story played out on screen might be disappointed by this news, it’s interesting to hear Morgan hint at a possible “metaphorical” link between Meghan and the Royal wives of the past, including Princess Diana.
We already know that seasons five and six of the show are set to tackle Diana’s role in the Royal family up until her death in 1997, so it’ll be interesting to see whether Morgan includes a nod to Meghan’s narrative within that storyline.
Last week, it was revealed that The Night Manager’s Elizabeth Debicki will be taking on the role of Diana in the show’s final seasons, saying it was a “true privilege and honour” to be joining the series.
For now, however, we’ll just have to wait and see what Morgan comes up with in the show’s upcoming seasons – although season four is set to air on Netflix in November (the cast had practically finished filming when the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to Morgan), we’ll have to wait until 2022 to see Diana’s (and maybe Meghan’s) narrative played out on screen.
As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.
Recommended by Lauren Geall
The Crown season 4 has a release date, and a first-look Princess Diana wedding photo
This major Emily In Paris star just joined the cast of The Crown season 5
Netflix’s The Crown has a new Princess Diana, and fans have a lot to say about it
How will The Crown S6 handle Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson?