Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown (2016)

Why Is This Season of ‘The Crown’ Becoming So Controversial?

Netflix’s The Crown is returning in early November, and this season, more than any other, has gotten a lot of controversy from sources close to the Royal Family—not shocking, as this is the first season to follow the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Since the beginning, the series The Crown has fictionalized the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II in order to tell a more condensed story of the modern monarchy. Yet, it has assumed that the audience could tell the difference or, at the very least, assume that there were liberties being taken. Plus, there are many, many books on the subject to fact check.

Still, knowing this season was leading up to the annus horribilis for Queen Elizabeth it was always going to be something people took issue with—especially since Diana remains a popular figure and beloved by the people, which isn’t great for her former husband, the now-King Charles III. King Charles has always struggled with his own popularity aside his younger first wife, but now as king, with his second wife and former mistress by his side as Queen consort, this is the worst time to bring up this period in his life.

Following reports that the upcoming season will be embellishing quite a lot, actress Dame Judi Dench penned an open letter calling out the show and asking Netflix to put a disclaimer on the show:

“Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series—that King Charles plotted for his mother to abdicate, for example, or once suggested his mother’s parenting was so deficient that she might have deserved a jail sentence—this is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent.”

She added, “The time has come for Netflix to reconsider—for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve its reputation in the eyes of its British subscribers.”

There are rumors that the show is including an affair that Prince Phillip had and that King Charles will try and undermine his mother, and while I can see how that would be upsetting, we also are putting these issues at the forefront rather than everything else about the monarchy that is problematic.

The streaming service has added a disclaimer in the text of the official YouTube video, but there is no indicator if that will be put on the episodes themselves. I think the conversation is worth having if only because we have seen a lot of fictionalized historical dramas become fact for many, but that has always been the case. If we are doing this here, let’s do it with all of them and not just for the benefit of one royal family.

The Crown is scheduled to be released on November 9th, one month and one day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

(image: Netflix)


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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.