As you may have heard, the royals and royal supporters and royal reporters have been pearl-clutching over season four of The Crown, which is the season when Lady Diana Spencer joins the story. And it’s basically the most-talked about show on television right now, considering the series’ previous success, the fact that we’re all watching more at home, the ongoing fascination with Diana, and ALL THE HEADLINES ABOUT IT. Which is basically free media for Netflix.
A few days ago, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Downden insisted that The Crown should come with a disclaimer to make sure that people know that a television series that stars professional actors is not entirely real. Is it a good thing for the culture that this Oliver Dowden dude is the gatekeeper of “culture” and/or are you more concerned that we are at a point in civilisation that the public needs it spelled out for them that a television series with actors is not 100% factual, otherwise it would be called a documentary?
Anyway, as of the time of this writing, Netflix has not responded. Although this tweet looks pretty f-cking real… and is hilarious:
I mean I wish that was Netflix’s response. And speaking of Prince Andrew, did you know that Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is also on Netflix? Jeffrey Epstein is the dead rapist pedophile friend of Prince Andrew and at least one of Epstein’s victims has alleged that she was made to service the Queen’s “nonce” of a second son while she was being sex-trafficked by Epstein and alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell. Once in a while, my Netflix algorithm, after an episode of The Crown has finished, will recommend Filthy Rich. I wonder if the British royal family would 100% rather us debate whether or not The Crown is fact or fiction than refocus on Andrew’s association to his rapist friend.
To go back to the disclaimer – that story is making headlines everywhere, not just in the UK. PEOPLE.com just posted about it today and now, if there are American viewers who didn’t binge The Crown over Thanksgiving weekend, I wonder if they’re even more curious about it. As we get closer and closer to the holidays, The Crown for sure is going to be what people will be spending time with. There are so many people I know and who I’ve heard from who’ve never been into The Crown, or who skipped season three, and are coming back to it because of Diana and also because of all this controversy.
So, really, what does this accomplish for the Queen and her family? They keep hoping another distraction will come along so that they don’t have to be on the front page but their complaining is keeping them on the front page. It’s definitely keeping Princess Diana on the front page and we all know how Prince Charles felt and clearly still feels about her dominating coverage over him which… I mean… is anyone out there thinking that that was fiction? And where was this energy during seasons one through three? They certainly didn’t seem to be as insistent about disclaimers in previous seasons.
Here’s the thing though – The Crown is based in part by both Diana’s and Charles’s revelations from different interviews and books written about them which they cooperated with. Diana in particular secretly worked with Andrew Morton for his book Diana: Her True Story and if you haven’t heard the audio tapes…
Well that’s on Netflix too and your algorithm should be pointing you to Diana: In Her Own Words, a film narrated by Diana herself through the recordings that were provided to Andrew Morton as he wrote the book. Many of those details are included in The Crown – and if you haven’t already, you should watch it. So it’s not like The Crown’s showrunner, Peter Morgan, was writing from his imagination. And it’s not like most of us who were around at the time, and already know so much about Diana’s life, are just finding this sh-t out of the first time.
You know what else came out though, afterwards? By many accounts, once Diana and Charles divorced and they each moved on from the intensity of their battle, they were cordial, with Charles in particular softening towards Diana and attempting to better understand her. He too was devastated by her death. Which is coming…
In seasons five and six. It very well may be that Peter Morgan will choose to generously portray that side of Charles in the final two seasons of the series. Certainly the way that season four ended, with the relationship between Charles and Diana completely breaking down and heading towards what will be their battle for public opinion and eventual divorce, and inching ever closer to her death, initially it’ll be more scandal, more bitterness. But at a certain point, there could be an opportunity to dramatise Charles’s grief over the loss of Diana and his single parent dedication to his sons – in the years that followed Diana’s passing, that was what turned many people back around to Charles, and it’s not impossible that Morgan will write a sympathetic portrayal of the future king. If that’s the case, are they going to bitch about it with the same forcefulness?
Right now, with all this free marketing for their show, I can’t imagine Netflix is all that bothered. At this point, Peter Morgan must also be 100% aware of the reaction to his new season and so far hasn’t said much. Wonder if he’s saving all of it for his scripts. Production doesn’t begin on season five until next summer. He has some time, not a lot, but some to make adjustments. What is it they always say? The pen is mightier than the sword.