‘The Crown’ Ruffles New Feathers in Retelling Old Tales

Naman Ramachandran
·3-min read

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched season four of “The Crown.”

The latest season of hit Netflix series “The Crown” is ruffling all sorts of feathers in the U.K. as the families of those depicted in the drama have begun speaking out about their portrayals.

After three seasons, the Peter Morgan-created show finally marks the arrival of Princess Diana as well as her troubled marriage to Prince Charles in season 4 — a chapter of the award-winning drama that Morgan deems “the first of the modern series.” As it inches closer to the current day, however, the show is also facing more intense scrutiny.

Lady Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer (also known as Earl Spencer), who has always been a fierce guardian of his sister’s legacy, is concerned that the general public will treat the series as fact and not a fictitious version of real-life events.

“The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction,” Spencer told ITV’s “Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh” show on Sunday. “Americans tell me they have watched ‘The Crown’ as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.

“It is very hard, there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact,” continued Spencer.

Meanwhile, Sarah Horsley, the widow of Major Hugh Lindsay, who was killed during an avalanche while skiing with Prince Charles at Klosters, Switzerland, in 1988, has described her distress at the portrayal of her husband’s death in episode nine, titled “Avalanche.”

Horsley was working at the Buckingham Palace press office at the time, and her position was also noted in the episode. “I’m very upset by it and I’m dreading people seeing it,” Horsley told the Sunday Telegraph, adding that she wrote to the series producers asking them not to use the accident.

In the episode, there are shots of ski slopes and an avalanche slowly descending, though the incident itself isn’t portrayed on screen. Olivia Colman’s Queen is shown being informed of the Major’s death by a Palace functionary.

Horsley said producers replied to her with a “very kind letter,” saying “that they understood my concerns but they hope I will feel that they deal with difficult subject matters with integrity and great sensitivity.” She added that she thought it was very unkind to many members of the family to dramatize the accident, and that they should have consulted her.

Elsewhere, Camilla Parker-Bowles, spouse of Prince Charles, has faced trolling on Instagram after a picture of her announcing the winners and runners up of the 2020 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay competition was uploaded on the social media platform’s Royal Family page. The picture attracted more than 6,000 comments, most of them in support of Princess Diana.

“Charles should have been allowed to marry Camilla in the first place. Then Diana Spencer might still be alive & happily married to a man who cherished her,” wrote user Mizbigbear.

“I understand it was a long time ago but honestly, I am upset that Camilla was a married woman and Charles was married to Diana but they disregarded their spouses completely and now they are praised as a happily ever after future King and Queen,” posted user deblood16.

Netflix declined to comment on the responses to the show. Buckingham Palace told Variety that it does not comment on “The Crown.”

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