Now that The Crown has tackled the 1980s, dramatizing the fraught marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the show seems to have ruffled some royal feathers. Specifically, it’s not a flattering portrayal of the future king of England, who comes off as something of a whiny boy and a pretty terrible partner. As such, certain factions in the government lobbied to add a disclaimer to The Crown, making it clear the series is fictional. Netflix, however, says it has “no plans” to do anything of the sort.
Last week, during an interview with the Daily Mail, U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden asked for such a disclaimer, explaining that he fears “a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.” (For what it’s worth, Princess Diana’s former butler said the events depicted in The Crown are "pretty close to the truth.")
The creator of The Crown, Peter Morgan, has called his show "an act of creative imagination" with a "constant push-pull" between historical accuracy and drama. A Netflix spokesperson echoed that sentiment in a statement to Variety: “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. As a result we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.”
But royal insiders still worry the popular series is a blow to Prince Charles’s reputation — he and Camilla have been fending off a lot of renewed vitriol on social media lately, for example. Former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter slammed The Crown for "stretching dramatic license to the extreme. It's a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana," he added in an interview with the BBC.
One thing’s for sure: the renewed interest and controversy surrounding Charles and Diana’s fraught relationship proves how resonant their story remains. The Crown’s fourth season has become a bonafide cultural moment and ostensibly a win for Netflix. Of course they’re not going to dampen it with a clunky disclaimer.