“The Duchess was in contact with Andy Harries, who produces The Crown, last year and they had a discussion about the possibility of adapting her novel Her Heart for a Compass into a TV series,” a spokesperson for the Duchess of York, 63, told Us Weekly in a statement on Friday, October 28. “They did not discuss The Crown or any idea of her helping with the series in any way.”
The spokesperson added that while “a suggestion” that Ferguson — who was married to Prince Andrew from 1986 to 1996 — assist on the show was brought up at one point by “a mutual friend,” nothing came of it. “The Duchess did not approach Left Bank offering to be a consultant,” the statement concluded.
Rumors that the My Story author, who shares daughters Princess Beatrice, 34, and Princess Eugenie, 32, with her ex-husband, 62, had worked as a consultant on The Crown come one week after Dame Judi Dench slammed Netflix for their “inaccurate” portrayal of the royals. “The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism,” the Oscar winner, 87, wrote in an open letter to The Times on October 20. “No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged.”
Dench continued: “Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a ‘fictionalized drama,’ the program makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode. The time has come for Netflix to reconsider — for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve their own reputation in the eyes of their British subscribers.” (Dench’s statement came over one month after Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96.)
The Belfast actress specifically cited an upcoming story line about King Charles III wanting his mother to abdicate from the throne in her letter. “This is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent,” she wrote.
While Netflix did not immediately address Dench’s allegations, the streaming service has since added a statement in the season 5 trailer clarifying that The Crown is fictional. “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign,” the teaser, which was released on October 20, states.
In addition to a plot line about the tension between the 73-year-old king and his late mother, season 5 of The Crown will cover a great deal of personal drama among the royals. Earlier this month, star Dominic West confirmed that the series will include a leaked phone call between the then-Prince of Wales and Queen Consort Camilla, where he said that he wanted to “live inside” her trousers and be reincarnated as her tampon.
At the time, both Charles and Camilla, 75, were both married to other people: him to Princess Diana and her to Andrew Parker-Bowles.
“I remember thinking it was something so sordid and deeply, deeply embarrassing [at the time],” The Affair star, 53, told Entertainment Weekly at the time. “Looking back on it, and having to play it, what you’re conscious of is that the blame was not with these two people, two lovers, who were having a private conversation. What’s really [clear now] is how invasive and disgusting was the press’ attention to it, that they printed it out verbatim and you could call a number and listen to the actual tape.”