Saturday, November 18, 2023
The final season of The Crown has received criticism for its portrayal of major royal events and characters in the 1990s.
Historian Hugo Vickers slammed Imelda Staunton's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II as a "bored housewife" rather than keeping her wit and humor during difficult times.
The show is also accused of fabricating details and ignoring facts for dramatic effect. This includes scenes depicting Diana's final days with Dodi Fayed before her tragic death.
“The timeline of those final days has been gone over so many times, it’s very easy to get this part right. But [producers] could not give a d*mn about getting details right — they just want the drama,” said Vickers.
In reality, the timeline of events has been closely examined and details like Diana turning down an alleged marriage proposal are unproven.
Vickers also criticized the shows portrayal of Princess Diana, saying, "‘The Crown’ paints her as so articulate, so together — which she definitely wasn’t at that time. She was spiraling into chaos in this terribly volatile way.”
A call she supposedly had with Princes William and Harry embellishes the truth of their brief goodbye. Prince William said of the call: “Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘See you later.’ If I’d known now obviously what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else."
Creator Peter Morgan defended fabricating scenes as a dramatist exploring royal lives, but critics argue it does disservice to truth and to Diana's memory.
Scenes contradicting the queen's decisive actions after Diana's death are also criticized. Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith wrote in The Times: “Contrary to ‘The Crown,’ which has Charles pushing against his resistant mother and father to send a Royal Air Force plane to Paris to bring Diana’s body back to England, it was the queen who dispatched the aircraft to France … The queen also decided instantly that despite the divorce from Charles, Diana was to be treated as a member of the royal family, with her own royal standard covering the coffin.”
While the show provides entertaining drama, critics argue the facts of major royal events in the 1990s are compelling enough without alterations that disrespect real people.