Netflix’s The Crown is a fictional retelling of the lives of the royal family. As was always the plan, the show has progressed to include the stories of royals like Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Prince William and Prince Harry even make their debut in season 4. But the British culture minister seems to think it’s necessary to put a disclaimer on the series making clear the show is, indeed, fiction.
The Crown‘s very own Josh O’Connor, who plays the Prince of Wales in seasons 3 and 4, spoke out against the disclaimer suggestion in a recent interview, calling it “outrageous” and “a bit of a low blow.”
English culture minister Oliver Dowden called for a fiction disclaimer on ‘The Crown’
In November, British Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport Oliver Dowden expressed his desire for Netflix to add a disclaimer to the series, saying it was harming the royal family’s reputation.
“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden said to The Mail on Sunday in November. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
The English official was reportedly intending to contact Netflix with an official request to add a fiction disclaimer to the beginning of every episode.
He’s not alone in his fear that viewers might see the stories told in The Crown as indisputable fact. Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, said in an interview on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh on Nov. 22 that he feared people are taking it as a history lesson instead of a dramatization.
The Duke of Cambridge reportedly doesn’t like the series either.
“Prince William is none too pleased with it,” a royal source told the Daily Mail. “He feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money.”
An alleged friend of William also told the outlet that Peter Morgan’s Emmy-winning drama “is highly sophisticated propaganda.”
Netflix reportedly reached out to the royal family offering for them to fact-check the series, but they declined with a “firm no,” according to The Sun.
Josh O’Connor says ‘The Crown’ fans know it’s fiction
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, O’Connor shot down the idea of adding a disclaimer to the series, revealing the cast of The Crown‘s collective reaction to the minster’s demands.
“We were slightly let down by our culture secretary, whose job it is to encourage culture,” he said in an interview for The Envelope: The Podcast. “In my opinion, it’s pretty outrageous that he came out and said what he said. Particularly, in this time when he knows that the arts are struggling and they’re on their knees, I think it’s a bit of a low blow.”
“My personal view is that audiences understand,” the 30-year-old actor continued. “You have to show them the respect and understand that they’re intelligent enough to see it for what it is, which is pure fiction.”
Netflix feels the same way. On Dec. 7, the streaming service said in a statement it will not be adding any fiction disclaimers. (They’re not against sensitivity disclaimers—one appears before every episode that highlights Diana’s bulimia).
“We have always presented The Crown as a drama,” the statement read. “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.”
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