The final return to the palace. The Crown is coming back for one more season — and filming got underway before season 5 even premiered.
Production on the Netflix drama’s sixth season began in summer 2022, months before the show’s fifth batch of episodes dropped on the streaming service. Shortly after filming got underway, however, the real Queen Elizabeth II died at age 96. Immediately after her September 2022 passing, her eldest son, King Charles III, assumed the throne.
After the queen’s death, The Crown creator Peter Morgan called the series “a love letter” to the late monarch. “I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect,” he added, noting that production on season 6 would temporarily pause “out of respect” for Elizabeth.
When filming resumed, season 5 still hadn’t debuted, but the new episodes were already making headlines. In an open letter, Judi Dench slammed the show as “completely inaccurate” and called for Netflix to add a disclaimer to the series.
“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 Oscar winner wrote in London’s The Times. “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.”
Days after Dench’s letter appeared online, Netflix added a disclaimer to the show’s official website and the YouTube trailer for season 5. “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign,” read the statement.
After the season 5 premiere, Princess Diana‘s biographer Andrew Morton exclusively told Us Weekly that he thought it was “ridiculous” to add a disclaimer to the show. “I mean, it is a drama,” the author explained in November 2022. “It’s not a documentary. That’s been said about 10 million times. Not everything in it is going to be authentic.”
Morton’s relationship with the late Princess of Wales was a major plot point in season 5, which covered the period when Diana secretly recorded her life story and passed it to the journalist. The tapes served as the basis for the book Diana: Her True Story, though her participation wasn’t public knowledge at the time of the biography’s 1993 release.
“It was a very detailed and imaginative portrayal,” Morton told Us of season 5’s take on the events. “I mean, for example, my house wasn’t broken into, but my office was broken into. James [Colthurst] 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.”
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