Editor’s note: This story contains spoilers for Season 5 of “The Crown.”
“The Crown” has been criticized by some for passing off fiction as fact.
Netflix’s insanely popular account of the life of the modern British royal family is packed with drama – too much for some people’s tastes.
Season 5 kicked off on Wednesday and it was controversial even before its premiere.
That’s because former British Prime Minister Sir John Major has complained that a scene purporting to show him and then Prince Charles (played by Dominic West) discussing a plot to oust his mother Queen Elizabeth from the throne when Major was in office was a “barrel of malevolent nonsense.
Esteemed actress Dame Judi Dench has co-signed a letter to The Times, calling on Netflix to add a disclaimer to the series.
“No one believes in artistic freedom more than I do, but that can’t go unchallenged,” Dench wrote. “Despite this week publicly declaring that The Crown has always been a ‘fictional drama,’ the program makers have resisted all calls asking them to carry a disclaimer at the start of every episode.”
But the series features a factual story – even if it tends to spice things up here and there.
Here are a few examples, both subtle and substantial, where the show leans into real history.
The series kicks off with the beloved royal couple going on what was supposed to be a romantic vacation, but doesn’t end that way.
Admittedly, we have no idea if a young Prince William and Prince Harry actually teamed up with their mother for their father during holiday activities, but the series does a pretty good job of documenting just how much Princess Diana , then Prince Charles, were unhappy.
They cover everything – from Andrew Morton’s explosive 1996 book ‘Diana’ (which she co-operated with behind the scenes) to the total grimace that was leaked from Prince Charles and his now wife Camilla’s salacious phone conversations that sparked huge controversy. because of their infidelity.
We feel that as tortured as he is portrayed on screen, it was even worse for the couple in real life.
During the speech she gave to mark her 40th anniversary on the throne, Queen Elizabeth gives a speech about the year 1992 being her “annus horribilis”.
“1992 is not a year I will look back on with undiluted pleasure,” she said.
One of the reasons she had such a horrible year was because of a fire at Windsor Castle that destroyed over 100 rooms.
The fire isn’t a major storyline, but a scene showing Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth surveying the destruction seems to serve as a symbol of the turmoil of her family and – by extension – her country.
Penny Knatchbull married the godson of the Duke of Edinburgh, but her friendship with Prince Phillip was solid in a way that went beyond that.
The series features Prince Phillip stepping in to help Knatchbull after a family tragedy leads them to grow closer for years.
She became “the second most important woman in the Duke of Edinburgh’s life – a constant confidante, faithful companion and ‘keeper of secrets'”, wrote Ingrid Seward in her 2020 book ‘Prince Philip Revealed’.
“The Crown” is keen to show that the much older Prince Phillip was not in love with Knatchbull, but rather connected to their shared interests like horse-drawn carriage driving.
After Prince Charles admitted during an ITN documentary in 1994 that he had not been faithful to Princess Diana, she stepped out in a black off-the-shoulder Christina Stambolian dress which has been dubbed “the dress revenge”.
The now iconic scene is recreated in the show by Elizabeth Debicki, who wins praise for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
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