The latest season of The Crown has gone down a storm with critics and viewers alike, as the internet is lapping up the engrossing, tragic story of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s tumultuous marriage. However, in the UK, the unsympathetic portrayal of the Royal Family and the depiction of their treatment towards Diana has sparked backlash. British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden even went so far as to request that Netflix add a disclaimer to the show, making clear to subscribers that it’s a work of fiction.
The streaming giant has now responded to Dowden’s request, and unsurprisingly, they’ve elected to ignore it, explaining in a statement that they believe there’s no need to establish that The Crown is a drama series and not a docuseries when that’s already plain to see.
“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 company said in a statement to Deadline. “As a result we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”
Dowden shared his call for a disclaimer while speaking to The Mail on Sunday, but Deadline confirms that he also sent a private letter directly to Netflix on the topic. The trade likewise states that the platform responded to him personally, too, as well as releasing the above public statement.
“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 previously argued. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”
Royal experts and those with insider information on life at Buckingham Palace have hit back at The Crown season 4, arguing that the Windsors were much more welcoming and warm towards Diana than is portrayed in the series. Like Netflix’s statement says, though, the show is only “broadly” based on historical events, so creator Peter Morgan and his writing team have every right to tell the story the way they want to tell it in order to make it as engaging as possible.
That said, we’ve seen in the past how iconic biopic movies and the like can overwrite reality in the public imagination, and it’ll be interesting to see how The Crown affects the world’s perception of the Royal Family in the long run.