Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their kids on a boat in The Crown season 5

‘The Crown’ Season 5 Is Already Causing Chaos

The Crown Season 5 is drawing ever closer and Netflix has already revealed that it will focus on one of the most dramatic periods of recent royal history: the worsening marriage between then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

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The fifth season was written and filmed while Charles was still the Prince of Wales. Now, he has become King Charles and leads the royal family.

As the release date of November 9 comes closer, controversy has already started to stir, with former Prime Minister Sir John Major openly criticising the show for its upcoming season. Other critics even called for the release of the fifth season to be delayed following Queen Elizabeth II’s death, as a mark of respect.

Nonetheless, the show will go on (air) and Netflix is also sticking by its decision not to warn viewers that some scenes may be fictionalised. Here’s a look at exactly why the show’s content is stirring the pot.

Why is The Crown season 5 so controversial?

Netflix’s description for the fifth season of The Crown revealed that it will cover “new challenges on the horizon” for the Queen and the rest of her family.

“The collapse of the Soviet Union and the transfer of sovereignty in Hong Kong signals a seismic shift in the international order presenting both obstacles and opportunities,” it reads. “Meanwhile, trouble is brewing closer to home. Prince Charles pressures his mother to allow him to divorce Diana, presenting a constitutional crisis of the monarchy.

“Rumours circulate as husband and wife are seen to live increasingly separate lives and, as media scrutiny intensifies, Diana decides to take control of her own narrative, breaking with family protocol to publish a book that undermines public support for Charles and exposes the cracks in the House of Windsor.”

Imelda Staunton as the Queen in The Crown Season 5

The relationship between Charles and Diana, soon to be played by Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West, was one of the key focuses of Season 4 of the historical drama. One scene in particular from Season 5 is sparking criticism, where Prince Charles is shown to wish for his mother to abdicate while speaking with then-Prime Minister Sir John Major, to make way for his own ascension to the throne.

Sir John Major told The Mail on Sunday that this was “a barrel-load of malicious nonsense.” His office went on to state that “Sir John has not co-operated in any way with The Crown. Nor has he ever been approached by them to fact-check any script material in this or any other series.”

A spokesperson for the show defended this scene and The Crown as a whole, saying: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events. Series five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”

Indeed, the scene that Sir John has taken issue with is certainly based in fact, as a real poll was published in the 90s that suggested 47% of the public believed he should replace his mother as monarch. This is the very same one that is referenced in the show, sparking the apparently fictional conversation between Prince Charles and the Prime Minister.

With Charles now King of England and the Queen herself only recently departed, having this conversation aired on TV does seem awkward, to say the least. However, the show’s creator Peter Morgan told Radio Times that there was no intention to present Charles in a negative light.

Although he agreed that the period in the 90s will have “painful memories” for King Charles, it “doesn’t mean that, with the benefit of hindsight, history will be unkind to him, or the monarchy.”

“The show certainly isn’t. I have enormous sympathy for a man in his position — indeed, a family in their position. People are more understanding and compassionate than we expect sometimes.”

(featured image: Netflix)

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