The Cultural Secretary of the United Kingdom, Oliver Dowden, has asked Netflix to warn viewers of its webseries The Crown, that the show is fictional, reported the Daily Mail on Sunday. While Dowden is yet to issue a formal request, he expressed fears that younger viewers would mistake fiction with fact.
“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,’ he told The Mail. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
The fourth season of The Crown, which began streaming on Netflix in November this year, focuses on the period between 1979 to 1990. Major themes include, the turbulent relationship between Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Prince Charles’s affair and subsequent marriage with Camilla Parker-Bowles, Princess Diana’s eating disorder, the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in 1979, and the ousting of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
According to the Daily Mail, the cause for concern has primarily been “…the depiction of a callous and self-serving Charles meeting and marrying an innocent Diana while maintaining his affair with the then-married Camilla Parker-Bowles which has sparked such anger.”
Dowden’s remarks come in the wake of outrage on social media against Prince Charles and Camilla after this season’s release.
The Crown‘s interpretation is also being termed one-sided by some history experts, including Hugo Vickers, a royal historian and author of The Crown Dissected. Vickers has said that unlike the portrayal on the series, in reality Prince Charles really did “make an effort”.
The Queens’s communications secretary has said that the series has no endorsement from the Royal family, reported The Guardian.
Prince Charles’ son, Prince Harry is also now facing criticism for partnering with Netflix, which is largely seen to have humiliated the Royal family. Prince Harry and his partner Meghan Markle had signed a deal with Netflix to produce children’s content in September.
Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, told the Daily Mail, “It would help The Crown an enormous amount if at the beginning of each episode it stated that, ‘This isn’t true but is based around some real events’. Because then everyone would understand it’s drama for drama’s sake.”
Meanwhile, Emma Corin, who plays Diana, told the Daily Mail, “I think for everyone in The Crown we always try and remind everyone that… the series we are in is fictionalised to a great extent. Obviously it has its roots in reality and in some fact but Peter Morgan’s scripts are works of fiction.”
The Crown is a historical drama series created by Peter Morgan and based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, her marriage to Prince Philip and her reign into the 21st century. The lead cast includes Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tobias Menzies, Claire Foy, Vanessa Kirby, Emma Corrin, John Lithgow, Matt Smith, Josh O’ Connor, and others. The series, produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Television Pictures for Netflix, first aired in 2016.
The fifth season is expected to release in 2022.