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What The Royal Family Thinks of ‘The Crown’
Netflix reached out to the Palace for an opportunity at fact-checking, and the Royal Family declined.
by Ryan Fan
“The queen realizes that many who watch The Crown take it as an accurate portrayal of the royal family and she cannot change that…But I can convey that she was upset by the way Prince Philip is depicted as being a father insensitive to his son’s wellbeing,” a Royal courtier told Express
I usually don’t pay much attention to the British royal family. After all, I’m not British, and I just have enough things to worry about on a day to day basis. But my girlfriend and I have spent a lot of time recently watching The Crown, the Netflix series about the personal life of Queen Elizabeth II. It seems to be a very intimate and personal portrayal of the Royal Family in the UK, of all their shortfalls and tragedies, so I couldn’t help but wonder — what does the royal family think of The Crown? Apparently, McKenzie Jean-Philippe at Oprah Magazine was wondering the same thing:
“The idea of the longstanding monarch watching her family’s dirty laundry being aired out in theatrical fashion is both a) mortifying and b) unbearably amusing,” she said.
There is currently no confirmed report over what the Royal Family thinks of The Crown right now. However, some reporting from anonymous Palace insiders notes that the Royal Family feels like the show is “trolling with a Hollywood budget,” so most don’t like the show. And they’re not expected to, either, since the show is airing all of the family’s dirty laundry and despite how much of it is actually fiction, far too many people take it as fact.
I found the show personally very nuanced and judged the Royal Family nonetheless — I’ve seen worse problems in my own family, and I understand the complexity of family.
Mehara Bonner at Cosmopolitan said that while the Royal Family enjoyed watching The Crown early on in the series, they didn’t like the later seasons of the show. According to OSSA on YouTube, Prince William called the depiction of the royal family in the fourth and fifth seasons “false.”
Prince William was not too pleased about season 4 of the show. The actress who portrays Queen Elizabeth in Season 4, Olivia Colman, once asked Prince William whether he watched the show, and he reacted viscerally. He felt like the show was exploiting the Royals to make money.
In 1995, Princess Diana gave an interview and confirmed rumors of her husband’s infidelity. She expressed her past struggles with depression and bulimia and later admitted to her own affair. The BBC then made an investigation that the interviewer designed fake bank statements to coerce Princess Diana into interviewing.
Prince Charles is also reportedly not too pleased about The Crown, for good reason, since Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, have turned off the comments section of their joint Twitter account after backlash to the fourth season of the show. Let’s just say that the show does not paint Prince Charles in a very positive light.
Harry and Meghan have also signed a contract with Netflix and have a collaboration with the company. Their collaboration came in September of 2020, unveiling new Hollywood careers. In February, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the royal family as working members to have more “space to focus on the next chapter.” The Netflix deal is controversial to some Royal biographers, who think Harry and Meghan should have closed the door on Netflix.
“It is an egregious conflict of interest for Harry and Meghan to have a highly lucrative deal with Netflix, the very same producer of a television series that passes itself off as fact but is a highly fictionalized version of Harry’s own family,” said Sally Bedell Smith, a Royal biographer.
Others, however, defend the decision and compare Netflix to the BBC as a form of entertainment. According to Mark Landler in the New York Times, The Crown is being criticized for scenes where creator Peter Morgan, conjured conversations or information. Morgan said what happened in the family’s private moments “is an act of creative imagination,” and the balance between fact and entertainment is a fine one. Penny Junor, a writer who has written biographies about Charles, Diana, and Margaret Thatcher, laments that the show poses a particular threat to Charles, who is next to ascend the throne.
“It is wonderful television…It is beautifully acted — the mannerisms are perfect. But it is fiction, and it is very destructive,” Junor said.
Jacob Stolworthy at The Independent says the Royal Family is finding the show “harder to stomach” with each passing season, with Camilla Parker Bowles receiving online abuse due to her portrayal. The show is increasingly getting closer to modern day events, and Peter Morgan decided to extend the show to six seasons instead of five, so the show is expected to go until the 1997 death of Princess Diana.
Omid Scobie, the ABC News royal contributor, wondered whether the “Royals are kicking themselves for not taking advantage” of Netflix’s willingness to collaborate with them for the show. Prior to releasing the show, Netflix reached out to the Palace for an opportunity at fact-checking, and the Royal Family said no.
A friend of Matt Smith, an actor who plays Prince Phillip in the show, said a friend of his had dinner with Prince Phillip and asked him if he watched the show. Phillip responded: “Don’t be ridiculous.”