The Crown is a dramatization inspired by real events – and members of the British Government are worried people forget it’s fiction.
Members of the British Government, notably Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, are concerned people have forgotten The Crown is fiction. The Crown season 4 has proven particularly controversial in the United Kingdom. In truth, that was inevitable; the hit Netflix series chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and it is now covering one of its most controversial periods. The Crown season 5 will deal with the death of Princess Diana, a tragedy that still occupies the front pages of British tabloids over 20 years later.
The Crown is a dramatization of real-life events, but many critics and commentators in the UK have felt it presents itself as though it is factual. Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer has been particularly vocal about the issue and refused to allow The Crown to film at Althorp, the Spencer family ancestral home in Northamptonshire, England. And now it seems those concerns are being reflected by the government, largely because they fear the Netflix drama is changing public attitudes towards members of the Royal Family.
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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has told The Daily Mail he believes Netflix should add a sort of “health warning” to remind people The Crown is fictional. “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,” he explained. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.” He is expected to write to Netflix about the issue.
It is true that The Crown is a work of fiction, and that Peter Morgan’s scripts dramatize events to sometimes quite remarkable degrees. But, in reality, The Crown was always going to have this kind of impact when it began to explore the 1980s and 1990s. The first three seasons of The Crown avoided significant controversy, simply because they dealt with events that are rather more distant in the public consciousness. But the British people truly connected with Princess Diana, and consequently the collapse of her marriage to Prince Charles became heavily politicized. The week after Diana’s death in 1997 has frequently been called the worst in Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, with the Royal Family winding up on the wrong side of public opinion when they initially appeared hesitant to mourn openly. To this day, it is still the case that polls consistently suggest Charles’ popularity declines every time Diana’s name hits the headlines again. And this concern is far more pressing for the British government in 2020, given the Queen’s age and Charles’ gradually taking over royal duties in preparation for becoming King. Little wonder Emma Corrin’s portrayal of Princess Diana has proved so uncomfortable—and the prospect of The Crown season 5 must be viewed with deep concern by monarchy and government alike.
The Culture Secretary’s criticisms do have a degree of merit; there is good reason to be concerned people have forgotten the line between fact and fiction. At the same time, though, the British Government should surely reflect on how unstable their institutions really are if a simple TV series based on real events can shake them. The Crown probably isn’t the cause of this problem, but rather simply demonstrates an issue that is rumbling in the background, ready to cause trouble when Charles becomes King.
More: The Crown Season 4 True Story: What Really Happened (& What Changed)?
Source: The Daily Mail
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