Ahead of the hotly-anticipated release of The Crown Season 5 on Nov. 9, the show’s creators are once again facing backlash. Following Queen Elizabeth II’s death and King Charles III ascension to the throne, concerns have been shared about the representation of the new monarch in the upcoming episodes. Sir John Major criticised the show for being “nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction,” and now Dame Judi Dench has written a letter to The Times calling on Netflix to use disclaimers, accusing the show of “crude sensationalism.”
The new season is set to pick back up with the royal family and follow them through the events of the 1990s and early 2000s. This includes the breakdown of several royal marriages, with a focus on the highly publicised divorce of the then Prince Charles (portrayed by Dominic West) and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki).
“I think we must all accept that the 1990s was a difficult time for the royal family, and King Charles will almost certainly have some painful memories of that period. But that doesn’t mean that, with the benefit of hindsight, history will be unkind to him, or the monarchy,” the show’s creator Peter Morgan told Variety. “The show certainly isn’t. I have enormous sympathy for a man in his position — indeed, a family in their position. People are more understanding and compassionate than we expect sometimes.”
The Crown’s lead cast members have also defended the series, with Debicki sharing that the show handled filming Diana’s death with “such sensitivity and truth and complexity.” The actor explained: “The amount of research and care and conversations and dialogue that happens over, from a viewer’s perspective, something probably that you would never ever notice is just immense.”
West also weighed in on how The Crown handled some of the royal family’s darkest years, saying that “it’s a hell of a season, because it deals with Diana’s death and appalling scenes, like having to break that news to your sons.” He went on to say, “I’ve got two boys of that age and so it’s a heavy, heavy responsibility to get it right and something I think we all take pretty seriously.”