Princess Diana’s biographer discusses how his book and himself ended up influencing ‘The Crown’ season five

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in 'The Crown'
via Netflix

Season five of Netflix’s crown jewel, The Crown, is now available on the streaming site as it hurtles towards one of the most infamous moments in the royal family’s recent history, the separation of Charles and Diana and the press surrounding their disastrous marriage. This is a subject that has been gone over with a fine tooth comb by almost everyone, from royalists, journalists, authors, and filmmakers, and now it’s The Crown‘s turn, and it would seem they got their intel from a very reliable source.

Season four saw the show’s introduction of one of the most famous individuals in the world, Lady Spencer Diana. Played by Emma Collins, the young Diana seems lost within the royal family as she and Charles court before their eventual marriage. Season five, with Elizabeth Debicki now in the role, will pick up where season four left off, continuing to examine the breakdown of Diana and Charles’s marriage, the affair scandal, and the difficulties it created for all parties involved.

Many should bear in mind that, though the show is based on true events, it is still a dramatization, a fact that many critics, including the Royal Family themselves, wish were made more clear by including a disclaimer in the show’s bio and opening. The show still wants to try and create something as close to what happened in real life though, which is why they reached out to Princess Diana’s biographer to get a little more insight into what went down.

Andrew Morton is the Royal Biographer and has been writing about the family for over 40 years, having written 13 books in total. He knows that it’s one book in particular that many will have latched onto, Diana: Her True Story, a 1992 “unauthorized, authorized biography,” as he tells Time Magazine. What many didn’t know at that time was that it was written using Diana’s own words, made from secret recordings that she handed to Morton. After her death in 1997, Morton republished the book with the new title, Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words. It’s this book that fuels the latest season’s plotline.

Not only will his work feature in the plot but the biographer himself will be introduced in the show, played by Andrew Steele. His inclusion will revolve around the creation of this famous biography, with Morton saying, “this extraordinary story, which you will see on The Crown, of a future Queen involved in a secret conspiracy with somebody she hardly knew—that was me.” Having originally been used as a consultant for the show, he had an inkling that he would be making an appearance at some point.

“I would have a conference call with eight script writers, and they would ask quite detailed questions like, “What was the color of your daughter’s wallpaper?” Because for a time I used her bedroom as an office. But they’ve kept their cards very close and didn’t involve me in the scriptwriting process. They just wanted the factual detail.”

Image via Netflix

When asked how authentic he thinks the show is (the most hotly contested discussion surrounding the Netflix series) he doesn’t give an overly clear view; how very politic of him.

Someone who has seen it says the bits which are authentic and accurate are the least flattering for the royals, and the bits which are made up are not so bad. I get the sense that the episode involving me is probably the most authentic because you don’t have to exaggerate much. It’s an astonishing story. Here’s a woman who rarely spoke in public unveiling the secrets of her heart, her difficulties inside the royal family, a failed marriage, and her sense of isolation and loneliness.

Regardless of what many would think, with royalists having been upset with the supposed “attack” made on the royal establishment by Morton’s biography, the author is proud of his work. When asked if he thought it was the right thing to do he told The Times,

“Of course. I’m very proud of Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words. It told her story in a way that was compelling, convincing, and compassionate. The book is 30 years old, and it has been described as a modern classic. It revealed what many people inside the royal world knew and were keeping quiet about because of the subterfuge and secrecy.”

You can watch the series’ dramatic interpretation of these real-life events, and see the role Morton had to play in this part of the Royal family’s history, in season five of The Crown, now streaming on Netflix.