Netflix’s “The Crown” Concludes with Controversy Amid Historical Inaccuracies
The much-anticipated final season of Netflix’s “The Crown” debuts on Thursday, delving into the late 1990s, particularly Princess Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed and the events leading to her tragic death in 1997. However, the release is overshadowed by criticism surrounding historical inaccuracies in the portrayal of events.
Royal historian Kelly Swaby expressed dismay, stating, “As a historian, it sometimes makes me want to cry. Viewers expect accuracy, but we don’t always get that.” Despite Netflix asserting that the show is a drama based on historical events, concerns persist about the blurred line between fiction and reality.
Divided into two parts, the initial four episodes premiered on Thursday, with the remaining six scheduled for release on December 14. Series creator Peter Morgan, who has been at the helm since 2016, crafts the narrative that kicks off with Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Prince Charles (Dominic West) navigating life apart after their divorce.
The series unfolds the media scrutiny around Diana and Dodi’s relationship, culminating in the tragic car crash in Paris in 1997. Producers promise a sensitive portrayal of the immediate aftermath, including reactions from the Queen and Mohamed Al Fayed. Imelda Staunton reprises her role as Queen Elizabeth II, with Jonathan Pryce returning as the Duke of Edinburgh.
The December release will cover significant events, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Prince Charles and Camilla’s wedding, and the courtship of Prince William and Kate Middleton at the University of St Andrews. However, criticism persists regarding the series’ artistic licence in depicting sensitive moments, raising concerns about the portrayal of private events, especially considering the living individuals involved.
Swaby emphasised the need for careful handling, given that “most of the people in it are still alive.” She pointed out that events surrounding Princess Diana’s death, in particular, require thoughtful consideration as they continue to impact her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who are now being portrayed for entertainment purposes.
As “The Crown” concludes its impactful run, controversies around historical accuracy underscore the delicate balance between dramatisation and respect for real-life events.