The Crown Creator Defends 'Made Up' Scene of Prince Charles Being Scolded for His Affair
The Crown creator Peter Morgan is defending taking creative license on the life of the royal family.
The writer of the Netflix drama appeared on the show's official podcast to speak about season four's fabricated scenes, particularly in the first episode where Prince Charles (played by Josh O'Connor) is scolded by his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) for his romantic affair with Camilla, who is already married to Andrew Parker-Bowles.
On the show, Lord Mountbatten wrote a letter accusing Prince Charles of bringing "ruin and disappointment" to the family — and insists he finds "some sweet and innocent well-tempered girl with no past" to marry. The letter is received by Charles only after Lord Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA.
There may be no record of such a letter in real life, but Morgan said the scene represented the two men's relationship and opinions on the matter.
"I made up in my head — whether it's right or wrong — what we know is that Mountbatten was really responsible for taking Charles to one side at precisely this point and saying, 'Look, you know, enough already with playing the field. It's time you got married and it's time you provided an heir,' " Morgan said.
"As the heir, I think there was some concern that he should settle down, marry the appropriate person and get on with it," Morgan continued. "In my own head I thought that would have even greater impact on Charles if it were to come post-mortem, as it were."
"I think everything that's in the letter that Mountbatten writes to Charles is what I really believe — you know, based on everything I've read and people I've spoken to, that that represents his view," he added. "We will never know if it was put into a letter, and we will never know if Charles got that letter before or after Mountbatten's death, but in this particular drama, this is how I decided to deal with it."
He might not have sent a letter to Charles on the eve of his death, but Mountbatten certainly dispatched copious amounts of advice to his great-nephew. Their relationship was more one of a grandfather-grandson, and mentor Mountbatten took it upon himself to counsel the prince in matters of the heart. He encouraged him to “sow his wild oats” before settling down and he advised a perfect bride would be one with no past and was young enough to be “molded to the role as wife and mother,” as Prince Charles' biographer Jonathan Dimbleby put it.
During an appearance on BBC Breakfast, O'Connor praised Morgan's ability to link real events with dramatized scenes.
"Ultimately, what Peter does so brilliantly is that he kind of takes the historical facts, you know, the moments in history that you can either remember or you've seen footage of, and then paints in-between those punctuation moments," the actor said.
But O'Connor reiterates that they're not trying to get all the facts correct for the show.
"There's a fascination with the royals, and sometimes people will want to believe that this is what happened," he said. "I think it's just always worth checking in and remembering that this — we're actors, and we're not real, and it's not a real story."