Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Should Include Disclaimer That It’s Fiction, U.K. Culture Official Says

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Carlie Porterfield   Forbes U.S. Staff

Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Should Include Disclaimer That It’s Fiction, U.K. Culture Official Says

Photo: The Crown Twitter 

The U.K. 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 the show is dramatized, or else “a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact” when it comes to Britain’s royal family.

KEY FACTS

- Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told The Mail On Sunday that the series should be more transparent that while many of the plotlines are based on actual events, 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 newspaper.

- The Mail On Sunday reported Dowden will likely send a formal letter requesting the streaming service to add a “health warning” at the beginning of each episode of The Crown.

- While it triggered a backlash among some social media users who questioned if this was the best use of a Parliament official’s time, he’s far from the only person to have criticized The Crown since the latest season was released about two weeks ago. 

- Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer told British broadcaster ITV last week he thought the show should come with a warning, saying, “I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t."

- 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, said the portrayal was “a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana," in an interview with the BBC. "You have to ask, is it necessary?"

- “We do our very, very best to get it right, but sometimes I have to conflate [incidents],” The Crown creator Peter Morgan once said in 2017 of writing the show. “You sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”

KEY BACKGROUND

According to British media reports, there is worry that The Crown’s portrayal of the trials Princess Diana faced when she married into the House of Windsor in 1981 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 of The Crown, while Charles maintains the affair only began after his relationship with Diana had “irrevocably broken down,” as he said in a 1994 interview. While Princess Diana remains wildly popular around the world, even after her messy divorce from the Prince of Wales and her death in a 1996 Paris car accident, Charles and Camilla have been subjected to a fresh avalanche of online criticism that many have linked to The Crown making Princess Diana fans of a younger generation. Social media users have been trolling the royal family’s official accounts, leaving pro-Diana comments on recent posts featuring Camilla.

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Carlie Porterfield   Forbes U.S. Staff

I am a Texas native covering breaking news out of New York City. Previously, I was a Forbes intern in London. I am an alum of City, University of London and Texas State University.