The UK culture secretary made an unusual statement to a British newspaper over the weekend, demanding that Netflix’s hit series The Crown should include a disclaimer clarifying it is dramatised. Secretary Oliver Dowden went on to add that if not included, “a generation of viewers, who did not live through these events, would mistake fiction for fact” when it comes to Britain’s royal family.
Dowden told The Mail on Sunday that the series should be more transparent, even if many of the plotlines are based on actual events. He added that The Crown’s creators took creative liberties when portraying private moments of the royal family and other important British officials, like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just [fiction],” he told the outlet. Dowden will also be sending a formal letter requesting the streaming service to add a “health warning” at the beginning of each episode of The Crown.
While the series triggered a backlash among some social media users who questioned if this was the best use of a Parliament official’s time, Dowden is far from the only person to have criticised The Crown since the latest season started streaming two weeks ago.
Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer had also told British broadcaster ITV last week that he thought the show should come with a warning. “I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t," he claimed.
Dickie Arbiter, a British commentator who worked as a press officer at Buckingham Palace during part of the time covered by the fourth season of the show, also said the portrayal was “a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana," reported the BBC. "You have to ask, is it necessary?" he asked.
In 2017, The Crown creator Peter Morgan had said, "We do our very, very best to get it right, but sometimes I have to conflate [incidents]. You sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”
According to British media reports, there is concern whether The Crown could hurt the public’s perception of the royal family, especially of Prince Charles, next in line for the throne, and his wife Camilla.
An affair between the two during the early days of Charles’ marriage to Diana is heavily alluded to in the fourth season. Even though Charles maintains the affair only began after his relationship with Diana had “irrevocably broken down,” according to an interview in a 1994.
Although Princess Diana remains wildly popular around the world, even after her messy divorce and death in a 1996 car accident, Charles and Camilla have been subjected to a fresh avalanche of online criticism since The Crown reaped a new generation of Princess Diana fans.
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ