“I thought it was ridiculous,” the author exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his new book, The Queen: Her Life, which hits shelves on Tuesday, November 15. “I mean, it is a drama. It’s not a documentary. That’s been said about 10 million times. Not everything in it is going to be authentic.”
Season 5 of the series dropped on Wednesday, November 9, marking the first new episodes of the show since Queen Elizabeth II‘s death in September. Following backlash about The Crown‘s accuracy — including in an open letter written by Judi Dench — Netflix added a statement to the show’s official web page that reads: “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.”
While the show is fictionalized, Morton thinks the cast and crew have done an excellent job recreating the period when he knew Diana.
“It was like being transported back in time,” he told Us of watching the new episodes. “It was quite unnerving, quite frankly, because the woman who plays Diana — Elizabeth Debicki — absolutely nailed everything about her mannerisms, her gestures, her speech patterns. … I was kind of shaking really with the verisimilitude of it all.”
In July 1992, Morton published Diana: Her True Story, which was written with help from the late Princess of Wales. She secretly sent him audio tapes of herself narrating her life, which he then used to write the book. At the time of its publication, however, her involvement with the book was not public knowledge.
Season 5 of The Crown depicts Diana’s collaboration with Morton, which she pulled off with help from their mutual friend Dr. James Colthurst. Morton noted that the writers took some liberties with the way it all unfolded, though it was true that Diana referred to him by the nickname Clark Kent.
“It was a very detailed and imaginative portrayal,” the Meghan: A Hollywood Princess author told Us. “I mean, for example, my house wasn’t broken into, but my office was broken into. James was knocked off his bicycle whilst he was carrying tapes and so on, and that was in Parliament Square, would you believe? Just outside the Houses of Parliament. That’s all authentic.”
The royal family is gearing up for the release of another potential bombshell book: Prince Harry‘s memoir, Spare, due out in January 2023. “[I think] it will be thoughtful and it will make headlines,” Morton told Us. “I think that the royal family will be bracing themselves for revelations.”
Earlier this month, an insider told Us that the Duke of Sussex, 38, hopes that the book doesn’t cause too much tension among his relatives. “Harry has been working hard to strike a balance that will hopefully minimize the fallout caused by this book,” the source said, adding that writing the memoir had been emotional for the U.K. native. “It’s been a very rough process. And very difficult for him to recount certain traumatic events from his childhood.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi