Why Is a U.K. Government Official Demanding ‘The Crown’ Be Labeled Fiction?

The Crown Season 4 Prince Charles princess diana

The Crown has been streaming for four seasons, but it wasn’t until the most recent installment, which dropped Nov. 15, that the U.K.’s Secretary of Culture took a strong stand against the drama, asking it to provide a warning that it’s fiction before each episode.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Oliver Dowden spoke to the Daily Mail, denouncing Peter Morgan‘s series for misleading impressionable viewers. In his remarks, Dowden commended the show on its strong storytelling, but chalked it up to being just that.

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“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,” Dowden said. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

The Netflix program, which debuted in 2016 and which has made clear it’s a work of fiction that takes its cues from real life, has chronicled various moments in the royal family’s history, from Queen Elizabeth II‘s first wearing of the crown to her reign.

the crown season 4 princess diana prince charles

(Credit: Netflix)

Conversations that take place in the scripted drama series, then, are known to be fabricated rather than fact.

It seems that the Culture Secretary has especially taken issue with the depiction of Princess Diana‘s (Emma Corrin) treatment by the royal family and her ex-husband Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor). Scenes have not shied away from focusing on the tension in their marriage, much of it stemming from his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

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Plenty of Diana’s personal accounts, including remarks made in the 2017 documentary Diana: In Her Own Words (also available on Netflix), detail Charles’ infidelity.

Love for the People’s Princess remains strong over 20 years after her death, and her popularity has long been a sore point for the royal family. It makes sense that The Crown would stir up strong reactions to Morgan’s creative version of events on both sides of the “who’s-at-fault-for-the-marriage” debate.

the crown season 4 emma corrin josh o'connor

(Credit: Netflix)

Storylines that hew especially close to actual events are often noted as such at the end of the episodes. Examples of this in Season 4 include Michael Fagan’s break-in at Buckingham Palace, and the fate of the Queen (Olivia Colman) and Princess Margaret’s (Helena Bonham Carter) cousins who were institutionalized.

Do you feel The Crown does enough to delineate truth from fiction? Let us know in the comments below.

The Crown, Streaming now, Netflix