The Crown Season 4 Controversy

The Crown season 4 has reignited conversations about the real-life events behind the Netflix show. The latest installment depicts the rocky marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret dealing with health problems and the truth about dark family secrets, and the queen’s less than rosy treatment of Diana following her fairytale wedding. After a season which cast several of the royal family members in an unflattering light, those close to the monarchy began speaking out. Some have voiced their support for disclaimers branding the series fictional before each episode.

Now, one of The Crown‘s own stars, Helena Bonham Carter has weighed in on the controversy surrounding her hit Netflix show. Ahead, what a few major players have said regarding disclaimers on the royal drama.

Helena Bonham Carter says there’s “a moral responsibility” to label The Crown a dramatization.

Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in seasons 3 and 4, appeared on Monday’s episode of The Crown: The Official Podcast. During her interview, she reiterated that the show is an interpretation of real-life royal events, not a straight-up documentary. “It is dramatized,” she explained, adding,. “I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, ‘Hang on, guys, this is not… it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.’ So they are two different entities.”

Bonham Carter in The Crown’s fourth season.


The U.K. Culture Secretary is reportedly lobbying for Netflix to have a “health warning” before episodes.

One such individual to start the conversation about a disclaimer is U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who oversees the country’s arts and culture sector, including broadcasting, museums, and tourism. He told The Mail on Sunday that each episode of The Crown should have a “health warning” before it. “It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told the British publication. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

diana and charles in the crown vs real life

Netflix / Getty

Dowden went so far as to tell the outlet that he planned on writing to Netflix about including a disclaimer for episodes. Netflix declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter about Dowden’s concerns. However, a spokesperson mentioned to THR “that it had already been widely reported that The Crown was a drama based on real-life events.” According to The Mail on Sunday, a source close to Prince Charles referred to The Crown‘s fourth season as “highly sophisticated propaganda.”

Princess Diana’s brother also addressed the controversy.

Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer also aired his grievances with the show’s creative license. He recently told the host of Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh that The Crown shouldn’t not be taken as entirely accurate. “The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction,” he reportedly said. “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.” Spencer added, “It is very hard, there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact.”

The actors who play Prince Charles and Princess Diana have spoken about the show’s creative liberties.

Prior to the controversy, both Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana in season 4, and Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles in seasons 3 and 4, admitted to the show’s fictionalization of history. “We are creating a work of fiction, albeit based in some reality. But ultimately, there’s only so much research you can do,” O’Connor told Town & Country. “After a time, you just got to crack on and create something for yourself.”

Meanwhile, Corrin conceded that she understood why some viewers would be disappointed by her portrayal of the People’s Princess. “I think for everyone in The Crown we always try and remind everyone that what we are, the series that we’re in, is fictionalized to a great extent,” she said on the Tamron Hall Show. “Obviously it has its roots in reality and in some fact but Peter Morgan’s scripts are works of fiction.”

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Corrin continued, “I understand why people would be upset, because this is history. And even with Diana, it’s still very much fresh, I suppose, everything that happened. So I do really understand if people would be upset.”

As the season currently stands, there is already a disclaimer before several episodes that depict Princess Diana’s behind-the-scenes battle with bulimia.

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Editorial Fellow
Savannah Walsh is an Editorial Fellow at

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