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Netflix ‘The Crown’ should be labeled as ‘fiction’, says British Culture Minister



Britain’s Culture Minister is convinced that the royal drama “The Crown” is a fiction.

Cultural Secretary Oliver Dowden told the newspaper Mail on Sunday that the hit series on Netflix should include a disclaimer amid criticism of the historic liberties taken about the real British royal family.

“It’s a beautifully produced fiction,” he explained to the outlet. “As with other TV productions, Netflix needs to be very clear in the beginning, that’s exactly it. Without this, I am afraid that a generation of viewers who have not reviewed these events may fail fiction for fact.

Dowden is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his views. The streaming service did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press. However, a spokesman pointed out to The Hollywood Reporter that it had already been reported that “The Crown” is a drama based on actual events.

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Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin play as Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 'The Crown'.

Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin play as Prince Charles and Princess Diana in ‘The Crown’.
(Netflix)

The show, which premiered in 2016, tracks Queen Elizabeth II, 94, which began in 1952. While “The Crown” has been dissected over the years for its dramatic interpretations of the royal family, season 4 has sparked most debates and headlines. so far.

The current season, which takes place in the 80s, focuses on the widely publicized marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana as well as the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s 11-year term, which transformed and divided Britain.

Diana died in 1997 at the age of 36 due to injuries she sustained in a car accident in Paris. Thatcher died in 2013 at the age of 87.

The troubled relationship between Charles and Diana, played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin, is a big story in the series. Former Royal Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter has called “The Crown” a “hatchet job” on Charles, 72, who is heir to the British throne as well as Diana.

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Gillian Anderson plays Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 'The Crown'.

Gillian Anderson plays Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Crown’.
(Netflix)

Arbiter has also accused the series of “extending dramatic licenses to the extreme,” the Hollywood Reporter shared.

Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, a year before her death. The Prince remarried in 2005 to Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall. Arbiter told the BBC that “The Crown” has portrayed Charles and Camilla, 73, as “villains”.

Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has also said the show should have a message that “this is not true, but it is based on some real events.”

“I’m worried that people think this is the gospel and it’s unfair,” the 56-year-old TV station told ITV.

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Emerald Fennell plays Camilla Parker Bowles in 'The Crown'.

Emerald Fennell plays Camilla Parker Bowles in ‘The Crown’.
(Netflix)

Some conservatives have also criticized the program’s portrayal of Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Britain’s first female prime minister is portrayed as a clash with Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth to an extent that some say is exaggerated.

The creator of “The Crown” Peter Morgan, whose work also includes recent dramas “The Queen” and “Frost / Nixon”, has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.

In a 2017 discussion of “The Crown,” Morgan said, “sometimes you have to give up accuracy, but you never have to give up the truth.”

Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, said the proposal that “The Crown” bears a disclaimer was “reasonable and yet meaningless.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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