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The U.K. government’s Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, as well as Princess Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, have both called on Netflix to add the disclaimer

By Claudia Harmata
December 07, 2020 10:23 AM
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Netflix says it won't be adding a disclaimer to their popular royal drama, The Crownafter the U.K. government’s Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, requested they do so last week.

"We have always presented The Crown as a drama and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events," the streaming service said in a statement on Saturday, according to The Guardian. "As a result we have no plans, and see no need, to add a disclaimer."

Last week, Dowden spoke to The Mail on Sundayand urged Netflix to make it clear that the show is a drama based on the lives of real people.

"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 told the outlet. "Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact."

The controversy comes amid the show's fourth season, which focuses on the relationship between Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

princess diana, prince charles
Princess Diana and Prince Charles; Emma Corrin and Josh O'Connor
| Credit: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty; Des Willie/Netflix

Diana’s brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, also spoke out about the show, agreeing that a warning for viewers is needed. He told a U.K. morning show last week that Netflix and the producers should be “honest with the consumer.”

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Emma Corrin as Princess Diana The Crown
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown
| Credit: Netflix

"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,'" he said on the Lorraine show on ITV. "Because then everyone would understand it’s a drama for drama's sake."

Spencer added, "This is a hugely globally significant series, and for any movie that does this, you know, it’s playing fast and loose with history without saying that . . . You just have to be honest with the consumer."

"I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair. If we buy something in the supermarket we can look on the packet and see what we are getting," he continued.

Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in seasons 3 and 4 of the series, also urged Netflix to make the clarifications to viewers.

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Helena Bonham Carter
| Credit: Netflix

"It is dramatized. I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, 'Hang on guys, this is not … it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.' So they are two different entities," she told an official podcast for the show, per The Guardian.

However, Carter also praised the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, for the "amazing" research he's done for the series. "That is the proper documentary. That is amazing and then Peter switches things up and juggles," she added.

Morgan recently admitted on the show's official podcast that he had taken some creative license with the facts. In one key moment of the show, Charles's mentor and great uncle Lord Mountbatten wrote a letter accusing the prince 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.

"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.