‘The Crown’ Fans Call Season 6’s Ghost Diana a ‘Crime Against Humanity,’ but There Might Be More to It

Season 6 of “The Crown” was released on Thursday to mixed reactions (some of which were full of outright contempt). Fans of the show had a lot to dig through during the first four episodes (the following six will be released on Dec. 14), including the widely discussed “Ghost Diana.” As one fan put it on Twitter, “Force Ghost Diana is truly a crime against humanity.”

For the uninitiated, “Ghost Diana” appears first to Prince Charles and then to Queen Elizabeth II following her death. Rumors of such an appearance circulated ahead of the season’s release and, in an attempt to get ahead of the incredulous reactions, show creator Peter Morgan explained, “I never imagined it as Diana’s ‘ghost’ in the traditional sense. It was her continuing to live vividly in the minds of those she has left behind.”

“Diana was unique, and I suppose that’s what inspired me to find a unique way of representing her,” he added. “She deserved special treatment narratively.”

Elizabeth Debicki, who played Diana in seasons 5 and 6, said that she believed Ghost Diana offered something to the series. The actress shared, “I think that it’s an interesting and beautiful way to have a conversation about the experience of grief.”

While there is something to be said for offering the memories of Diana and Dodi and the followers of the royal family the closure that might have been intended, plenty of fans of the series were wholly horrified by how both Ghost Diana and Ghost Dodi played out.

For many, the idea that Diana would reappear after death and voluntarily choose to spend time with her ex-husband instead of her sons is unfathomable. As comedian Laurie Kilmartin, “The idea that Diana’s ghost would appear to Charles and not curl up around her sons was enraging to me! I DO hope her ghost is out and about tho.”

Another fan on Twitter, @hetall_patell, agreed. They tweeted, “the ghost of diana would visit her boys, not her ex. make this make sense.”

Twitter user @RobynDMarley_ tweeted, “So Diana’s ghost went to Charles before William and Harry? Not only does her ghost go to him before her pride and joy but she absolves him of everything he ever did to her in their marriage? Whose idea was it to write that???!”

Others didn’t agree that any kind of Ghost Diana would have anything nice to say to Charles, period. @SamiJo91 tweeted, “No they did not bring Diana back as a GHOST to visit CHARLES to call him handsome and tell him that she loved him so much!”

Twitter user @triadacross questioned who really wrote the season in the first place. She tweeted, “Did Charles write season 6? Because the way they have Diana’s ghost visiting all the people who couldn’t stand her… she would be with her babies and only her babies.”

Others pointed to the actual content of Diana and Dodi’s conversations with Charles, Elizabeth and Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed. The trio arguably caused the most anguish in Diana and Dodi’s lives (separately and when they were together), but somehow “The Crown” would have viewers believe that some kind of peace was struck.

As @Sameenavaid put it, “The one thing i disliked is how the makers tried to absolve Charles, the late queen, and Muhammad al Fayed of their misdoings through ghosts of Diana and Dodi.”

There might be another way to consider Ghost Diana and Ghost Dodi: that the portrayals are not meant to be of what their real-life counterparts would have said given the chance, but are instead projections of the conversations that Charles, Elizabeth and Mohamed would have chosen to have to lessen their own guilt.

It’s not difficult to imagine that Prince Charles, who has been labeled vain and weak more or less his entire adulthood (if not longer), would imagine a recently deceased Diana would be more concerned with making him feel better than with taking accountability for the ways he failed her throughout their marriage. After all, this is the same man who told her he didn’t love her on the eve of their wedding.

Likewise, it’s hardly outside the realm of possibility that Elizabeth, who notoriously didn’t understand Diana’s emotions, would be confrontational with Diana even in death. When Imelda Staunton’s Elizabeth tells Debecki’s Diana, “I hope you’re happy now. You’ve finally succeeded in turning me and this house upside-down,” it’s clear that for the monarch, the Crown is always and forever the most important, crucial element to uphold and protect.

As for Ghost Dodi (who admittedly has angered far fewer people), it’s not unlikely that his father would have hoped to express his regret for not openly and unconditionally loving his son in life, particularly if any part of their story as recreated by “The Crown” holds water. (To be fair, plenty of people have made arguments that not much about Mohamed Al-Fayed is fairly or accurately portrayed in the series.)

Perhaps the best thing to do is to imagine that “The Crown” is first and foremost meant as entertainment before it is anything else, including anything resembling real life. People, places and events might be reflected accurately, or they might not. Maybe the easier thing to do is to sit back and enjoy the many, many takes on Ghost Diana that have proliferated the internet since, such as this one from Sooz Kempner.

Sooz’s Diana acknowledges that many are probably wondering “what I get up to day-to-day as a ghost” and that it can include “whispering in Camilla’s ear that she’ll never be popular” and “hiding pens, ready to give Charles quite the scare.”

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