Viewers have spent four seasons watching the British Royal Family's drama play out on the small screen. But Netflix may add a disclaimer reminding fans The Crown is fictional because of UK officials' concerns. Culture secretary Oliver Dowden recently pushed for the streaming service to make it clear that the royal drama took some liberties with historical events.
"It's a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning that it is just that," Dowden said on Sunday, Nov. 29, in an interview with The Daily Mail. He added that without a "health warning" at the beginning of each episode, "I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact." The Crown has previously included some disclaimers, such as content warnings for scenes featuring Princess Diana's bulimia, but Netflix hasn't flagged episodes for historical inaccuracies. Elite Daily reached out to Netflix reps for comment on Dowden's remarks, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
It's not just Dowden who's worried — many prominent figures have expressed concern over how Season 4 could impact fans' perceptions of the royal family, especially Prince Charles. The new season includes controversial moments of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles' affair during his marriage to Princess Diana, as well as scenes in which he's verbally abusive towards her.
An anonymous friend of Prince Charles also spoke to The Daily Mail, claiming, "It is quite sinister the way that [creator Peter] Morgan is clearly using light entertainment to drive a very overt republican agenda."
Even Princess Diana's own brother, Charles Spencer, warned viewers that The Crown's depiction of his late sister isn't completely true. "I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if at the beginning of each episode it stated that 'this isn't true but it is based around some real events,'" Charles said during an appearance on the British daytime show Lorraine on Wednesday, Nov. 25. "Because then everyone would understand it's drama for drama's sake."
Emma Corrin, who shot to stardom playing Princess Diana in Season 4, had her own thoughts on backlash towards her character. In a recent interview on the Tamron Hall Show on Monday, Nov. 16, the actor explained, "I think for everyone in The Crown, we always try and remind everyone that we are, the series that we're in, is fictionalized to a great extent."
"With Diana, it's still very fresh, I suppose, everything that happened," Corrin added. "So I do really understand if people would be upset."
In his remarks, Dowden stated his intention to lay out his argument for Netflix to include a disclaimer in The Crown in a message to the network, so fans can expect Netflix to make a decision one way or the other soon enough.