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The Crown Cast & Crew Defend Show After 'Exploitative' Accusations

The Netflix series has come under fire for its impending depiction of Princess Diana's death.
  • Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown. (Photo: Netflix)
    Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown. (Photo: Netflix)

    The Crown's cast and crew are defending the Netflix original after being accused of exploiting the royal family

    Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September, the series has come under fire for its depiction of the royals, particularly the newly-crowned King Charles. Former Prime Minister John Major recently slammed the show as "damaging and malicious fiction", while The Daily Telegraph reported a source close to King Charles found the series "exploitative" and criticized the streamer for having "no qualms about mangling people’s reputations."

    Show creator Peter Morgan defended the series against these claims, acknowledging that the subject matter was sensitive but promising The Crown handles it with respect. "I think we must all accept that the 1990s was a difficult time for the royal family, and King Charles will almost certainly have some painful memories of that period," said Morgan. "But that 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."

    The fifth season of The Crown, which premieres next month, chronicles some of the royal family's stormiest periods over the 1990s, with the contentious divorce of Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Prince Charles (Dominic West) set to be a highlight.

    Season 6 of the series, which is currently in production, will depict Princess Diana's death and the aftermath. According to Morgan and his actors, The Crown does not take this responsibility lightly. Debicki stood up for the show and its depiction of Diana's death. "Peter and the entire crew of this job do their utmost to really handle everything with such sensitivity and truth and complexity, as do actors," said Debicki.

    "The amount of research and care and conversations and dialogue that happen over, from a viewer’s perspective, something probably that you would never ever notice is just immense. From that very first meeting [with] Peter, I knew that I’d entered into this space where this was taken seriously [in] a deeply caring way."

    Dominic West, who plays Prince Charles, echoed these sentiments. "It’s a hell of a season, because it deals with Diana’s death and appalling scenes, like having to break that news to your sons. I’ve got two boys of that age and so it’s a heavy, heavy responsibility to get it right and something I think we all take pretty seriously."

    The Crown Season 5 debuts on Netflix November 9. Seasons 1-4 are currently streaming on the platform.

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    Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.

    TOPICS: The Crown, Netflix, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki, Peter Morgan