opinion | Post Elizabeth: The “crown” controversy is a clash of art and reality


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It’s a TV drama, but “The Crown” is making real waves.

Netflix this week succumbed to criticism for a hit ahead of the scheduled release of Season 5 on November 9. After clips emerged depicting a fictional 1991 conversation between John Major and Prince Charles about abdicating and joining the throne, a spokesman for the former British prime minister ridiculed the show last weekend, calling it a “barrel load of bullshit”. Actress Judi Dench then wrote an open letter warning that “the closer the drama is to our times, the freer it seems to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude thriller.”

Since the series began airing in 2016, UK government officials, an actress on the show and others have called for better labeling of the fictional image of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Criticism of the inaccuracy increased as the series got closer to its present day. With sensitivities heightened following the recent death of the old queen, rumblings have intensified over ‘The Crown’ and an as-yet-unreleased Netflix documentary series linked to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (otherwise known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle).

The trailer for the upcoming season of “The Crown,” which came out Thursday, focuses on Charles and Princess Diana’s marital problems in the 1990s, Charles’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles (now his wife) and Diana’s conversations with reporters, including the infamous 1995 TV interview.

Ms. Judy wrote, who invited Netflix to point out that every episode is a fictional story.

The broadcast giant, which initially defended its approach, has long resisted adding such a disclaimer. “We’ve always presented The Crown as a drama – and have full confidence that our members understand that it’s a work of fiction based heavily on historical events,” Netflix said in 2020. But the company changed course on Friday and added this description to the season 5 trailer: “Inspired by true events, this fantasy drama tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her rule.” The same language is found on the series’ landing page on the Netflix website.

You might be wondering why there is so much fuss about a file book presentation. The series, which was watched by 73 million households between 2016 and 2020, turned royal viewing into a global sport. Its brilliant mix of real events and imagined dialogue blurs fact and fiction, even for those of us who enjoy spotting mistakes. One British newspaper noted that an estimated 29 million people had seen The Crown within a week of the arrival of season four in 2020 – more global viewers than Charles and Diana’s 1981 wedding in Britain. Americans tell me they watched The Crown as if they had taken a history lesson. “Well, they didn’t,” said Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, an advocate for content labels.

When Diana’s character arrived in Season 4, Netflix added advice to episodes depicting her suffering from bulimia, warning that viewers might be upset by eating disorder scenes. So the concept of a disclaimer isn’t entirely foreign, even if Netflix doesn’t want you to be upfront about where it got its liberties.

When asked last year about the series, Diana’s son Harry said, “It’s fictional, but loosely based on fact. Of course it’s not entirely accurate. It gives you a rough idea of ​​this lifestyle, the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, etc. who can come from that.”

In a 2021 interview, Harry also said, “I’m more comfortable with The Crown than I see the stories written about my family, my wife, or myself.”

Harry, who has repeatedly criticized the media’s exploitation of his mother, is in an awkward position here: He and his wife are preparing to put out a series on Netflix that is said about their private lives. In a variety cover story this week, Meghan mixed personal anecdotes and thoughts on the Queen with the promotion of her Spotify podcast. She also said this about their Netflix series: “It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story – a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired – even if it means it might not be the way we were going to tell it. But that’s not why we’re telling it.” We trust our story to someone else, and that means it will pass through their lens.”

One explanation could be: Meghan is referring to limited production control, amid reports that the couple sought to edit some content in the wake of the Queen’s death.

Another explanation: when it comes to the royal family, art does not imitate reality so much as the opposite.

Here’s a video posted from 2020 that delves into the real-life events that inspired the content for Season 4 of “The Crown.”

Season 4 of “The Crown” is based on events such as Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with Margaret Thatcher. (Video: Ally Karen/The Washington Post)

And in Post’s review of this fourth season, noting that it could be “disturbing” that many of the characters are still alive, he concludes that “finally in familiar territory, ‘The Crown’ has touched a nerve.”

Do you re-watch the show before the new season? Tweet us your thoughts on episodes or debate the disclaimer: MustafaHosny Oh God, Amen

royal silence: Amidst the drama about the Netflix drama, Prime Minister Liz Truss’s domestic meltdown has grabbed the premiership after six tumultuous weeks of headlines around the world. But beyond the cues of the Lettuce Liz (or the fact that Truss became the first prime minister since Winston Churchill to serve two monarchs) was this: King Charles’ silence amid political squabbles. Whether Charles famous for his views could be outspoken as king was a question when he ascended the throne. In his first speech as king, he indicated that his role had changed. Amid the chaos of Truss, he stuck to his schedule and remained silent. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are sorting out a no small question: who will be the next prime minister.

mail bag: As of October 1, more than 50,000 letters and cards have been sent to the royal family marking the death of Queen Elizabeth, according to a Buckingham Palace post on Instagram. Staff generally send a form response, usually a card with a picture, to anyone writing to the royal residences after occasions such as weddings, birthdays or funerals. Condolences from King Charles, streaming on social media, included a 1952 photo of him as a boy with his mother.

Will Camila wear the diamond that India – and others – want to take back? The 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond currently set in the British consort’s crown is now drawing attention that Charles’ coronation is set for next May, according to The Post’s Karla Adam and Niha Masih. The diamond is one of the many disputed treasures Britain has been awarded as ruler of a global empire – a legacy that has also been under scrutiny since the death of Queen Elizabeth last month.

India – a country (and former colony) with which Britain would like to sign a trade agreement – has repeatedly demanded the return of the diamonds. The British government, in its response last week to front-page news suggesting Camilla may not wear the tiara to avoid angering India, said the case concerns Buckingham Palace. The palace declined to comment.

Unless attention turns into an uproar, we anticipate that any announcement is unlikely until the coronation approaches.

Remember us He said We love the royal animal content? Well, we meant it. To celebrate her birthday (October 15), Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, shared photos with Mick and SandyCorgi dogs that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth II. dogs now notice By the divorced couple, who share a home in Windsor.

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