The U.K Cultural Secretary, Oliver Dowden has recently called for the Netflix to adopt a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode for the series drama, “The Crown” reminding the viewer that the program is drama, not fact.
In much the same spirit as the “pasteurized prepared cheese product” labels on the sides of Kraft Singles, some may confuse the plot lines in “The Crown” as gospel truth. Prince Phillip portrayed as selfish, the Queen shown as unconcerned about the Aberfan destroy, and Margret “Iron Lady” Thatcher portrayed as more emotive and at odds with the Queen are some of the blatant inaccuracies that come to mind in this newest season.
Since the Queen is quite influential in Britain, one must understand how governmental workers fond of the royal family will get upset if the royal family is not shown in the right light and accuracy—with Dowden being a prime example of this.
Dowden, joined by others in British royal circles, stated he would reach out to Netflix addressing his issues with the show, according to an article from CBS News. “[The Crown is] a beautifully produced work of fiction” Dowden said in the same CBS article. “So as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,”
This is by far not the first time someone in the U.K government has called for a reining in on “The Crown.” It has been critiqued for its portrayal of the British monarchy— particularly in its portrayal of Prince Phillip—which has angered some in the royal family and the media since the show began in 2016.
“There’s dramatic license, which is necessary or nothing’s fun, and historical truth, which is necessary or nothing’s understood, said Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal in 2017. Ideally in any work they more or less coexist, however imperfectly, said Noonan. “But in ‘The Crown’—the balance is far off. A cheap historical mindlessness marks much of the first, and there’s a lie at the heart of the second.”
In the time after season 4’s release, Margaret Thatcher’s more emotive and Diana Spencer’s more heroic portrayal have equally been met with the same amount of contention. In my opinion, Thatcher’s emotive portrayal seems contradictive to her real-life policies that gutted the lower and middle class of Britain and directly led to an increase in poverty and unemployment for much of her time on in Downing Street. And in my second opinion, Diane’s storyline should give a consumingly, in-depth look on her tumultuous relationship with Prince Charles.
“It’s a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana,” said Dickie Arbiter, an ex-royal press secretary in an interview to the BBC Mr. Arbiter. “You have to ask, is it necessary?”.
Not all comments have been negative. Paul Burrell, Diana Spencer’s former butler, was interviewed on Good Morning Britain in November defending “The Crown’s” portrayal of Diana Spencer. “I don’t think you can’t just take one thing from “The Crown” and say that’s wrong,” Burrell said. “You have to take it as a big picture,”
U.K. government officials have a certain right to be angry over such historical inaccuracies within the show, but anyone outside of the Kingdom — particularly Americans— should just can the show.
Edited by Alivia Moore and Ryan Michaels