Down with The Crown? The Netflix series has sparked controversy over the years for its embellished tales of the British royal family — and the behind-the-scenes drama is just as juicy as the Emmy-winning story lines.
Season 1 of the drama started streaming in 2016 with Claire Foy as the late Queen Elizabeth II and Matt Smith as her late husband, the late Prince Philip. Foy, who earned two Emmys for her portrayed of England’s longest reigning Monarch, noted early on that she dreaded the idea of Elizabeth watching her on TV.
“I would hate the idea of her watching it,” the First Man actress told Town & Country in 2017. “When you’re playing a real person, you never want to be ghoulish. I don’t want to pick apart a person. I want to invent someone. So, I would hate for her to watch it and think I overdramatized anything.”
The streamer dropped season 4 of the show in 2020 with Olivia Colman as the queen and Tobias Menzies as Philip. Season 5, set to debut in 2021, will bring in Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce as the royal couple.
While Her Majesty hasn’t spoken publicly about whether she has seen The Crown, some of her relatives have weighed in on the accuracy of the stories.
Sarah Ferguson, who split from Prince Andrew in 1992 after six years of marriage, hasn’t appeared much as a character on the Emmy-winning show, but she said she’d be happy to lend her expertise.
Ferguson joked in July 2021 that she wondered, “Where is Fergie?” while watching some of the earlier seasons. She later reached out to an executive producer named Andy Harries to offer him advice on what it’s really like within the royal family.
“I said to him, ‘Why can’t I help my character?’” she recalled during an interview with Town & Country at the time. However, Harries declined her offer.
Ferguson previously told Us Weekly exclusively that she was a fan of the show — which not everyone can say.
“I thought it was filmed beautifully,” the Her Heart for a Compass author said in January 2021. “The cinematography was excellent. I loved the way they put my wedding in as well.”
When it comes to how the royals are depicted in Peter Morgan’s successful drama, some people aren’t happy with it.
British politician Oliver Dowden, for example, expressed concern in November 2020 over viewers not being specifically told that the show should not be taken as fact.
Princess Diana’s brother Earl Charles Spencer argued in November 2020 that the series is not an accurate retelling of the events. “The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction,” he said during an appearance on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh. “They assume, especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.”
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Scroll down to see what controversies have happened behind the scenes on The Crown: