Royal drama with Netflix continues to worsen, as season four of the streaming service's The Crown becomes one of the series' most popular to date.
British culture secretary Oliver Dowden has urged Netflix to add some form of a disclaimer, labeling The Crown fiction and not historically accurate, after the show painted Prince Charles — who is next in line to the throne — in a poor light. Netflix has refused to add a disclaimer, as it would compromise the streaming service's global programming decisions if they yielded to the requests made to benefit the monarchy.
The U.K. government official's attempt to pressure the media company into clarifying the historical accuracy suggests the show's events may not be as far off from the reality of past situations. It is also quite ironic that royal loyalists are going against one of the running themes in The Crown — which highlights the importance of not reacting to the media.
The four-season series — which is clearly labeled as a "drama" — follows the royal family through Queen Elizabeth II's ruling over England and their interpersonal relationships. Season four focuses on the Prince of Wales' marriage to Princess Diana and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, his now-wife. While the entire series depicts the royals as a stiff-necked, cold family — who prioritize their royal duties above all else — the newest season paints Princess Diana as a natural heroine who is stuck with an unloving and unsupportive husband.
The feud with Netflix seems far from over, as most of the real people depicted in the show are still alive and affected by the dramatized series. While Charles' marriage to the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry ended over 25 years ago, their relationship remains a cultural flashpoint.
Royal insiders previously shared their frustration with Netflix for portraying the royal family in a false light for entertainment and monetary gain. "There is no sense of telling carefully nuanced stories — it's all very two-dimensional. This is trolling with a Hollywood budget," a source told the Daily Mail. "The public shouldn't be fooled into thinking this is an accurate portrayal of what really happened."
Charles' pals have even chimed in to shame the media company for their portrayal of his relationships. "In this case, it's dragging up things that happened during very difficult times 25 or 30 years ago without a thought for anyone’s feelings," a source said. "That isn’t right or fair, particularly when so many of the things being depicted don't represent the truth."
Another insider noted William "feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money," according to the Mail. While the 38-year-old is "not too pleased with" the depiction of his parents' relationship, Harry seems to be taking Netflix's side in the whole ordeal, as the 36-year-old has remained silent.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed a $150M deal with Netflix — which may have to do with why the two are biting their tongues over the controversial matter. "Meghan Markle and Harry are in a bit of trouble with this over the fact Harry has said nothing about the way in which his mother and father have been portrayed in this series," talkRADIO host Mike Graham previously said.
Royal experts have urged the red-headed prince and Suits alum, 39, to abandon their deal with the streaming giant. However, the new deal allows the royal turned Hollywood couple to be financially independent from the royals. The multi-million deal also helps Harry and Meghan rebrand themselves as Hollywood stars as they start their lives anew in the U.S.
“Their reported $100 million (£78 million) deal with the U.S. streaming giant will help give Harry financial freedom but it has raised eyebrows back home — particularly among those close to Charles and William," Mail on Sunday columnist Emily Andrews explained.
"How can he take money from a company that traduces his family? That unfeelingly recreates the Irish terrorist bomb that killed Lord Mountbatten and three others?" she questioned. "That mawkishly picks over the carcass of Harry and William's parents' bitter marriage break-up like a vulture?"