‘A house divided’: The Crown release new posters showing a separated Queen, Prince Charles and Princess Diana… after royal biographer slammed ‘odious’ and ‘deliberately hurtful’ series for ‘inventing storylines’
The Crown has released two new posters to promote the fifth season, following backlash towards the show for blurring the lines between fact and fiction.
The Netflix hit series will release the new season on November 9, just weeks after the death of The Queen.
The new posters depict Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, looking regal in a blue dress, white gloves and sapphire tiara.
Divided: The Crown has released two new posters to promote the fifth season, following backlash towards the show for blurring the lines between fact and fiction
She is shown looking towards Elizabeth Debicki’s Princess Diana, who sports a white dress and looks down forlornly, separated from the Queen by a table.
To the Queen’s right, the then Prince Charles stands stoically, played by Dominic West.
A crack is shown in the wall between the two sides, with the tagline reading: ‘A house divided’.
It comes after it was revealed that the show plans to dramatise Princess Diana’s final moments.
Fifth season: The Netflix hit series will release the new season on November 9, just weeks after the death of The Queen
The hit series is reportedly set to cover the hours before the royal’s tragic death in Paris in August 1997.
The show is already facing criticism over other storylines set to feature in the new series, including depicting the then Prince Charles as a disloyal schemer who plotted against his mother and Prince Philip ‘pursuing an affair’ with his close friend Penny Knatchbull.
William Shawcross, the Queen Mother’s official biographer, branded the series ‘odious’ and ‘deliberately hurtful’ over an apparently invented scene where Charles tells the Queen she should be ‘thrown… into jail’ for being a ‘bad mother’.
Last night, Netflix risked adding fuel to the fire by refusing to add a disclaimer to the series stating that the scenes, branded ‘malicious’ by one royal expert, are not fact but fiction.
Criticism: Netflix is facing fury over plans to dramatise Princess Diana’s final moments before her tragic death in Paris in its new season of The Crown (Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown, season five)
Meanwhile, according to The Sun, even crew members are concerned in relation to the scenes depicting the lead-up to Diana’s death, with one reportedly saying: ‘It feels as though a line is being crossed.’
One source close to Prince William last night told the paper that they expect the Prince of Wales will be angered by Netflix’s move to reproduce his mother’s final days for entertainment purposes.
Netflix insists Diana’s death, in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in central Paris, will not be recreated in the new series.
But one set source reportedly told The Sun: ‘To be going back to Paris and turning Diana’s final days and hours into a drama feels very uncomfortable.
‘The show always tried to present a fictional version of royal history with as much sensitivity as possible. But lately, as things get closer to the present day, it feels harder to strike that balance.’
Denial: Netflix insists Diana’s death, in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel (pictured: The Flame of Freedom statue above the Pont de l’Alma) in central Paris, will not be recreated during the new series
Fury: One source close to Prince William (pictured with Prince Harry) last night told the paper that they expect the Prince of Wales will be angered by Netflix’s move to reproduce his mother’s final days for entertainment purposes
Prince William’s fury as Netflix is accused of profiteering by re-enacting his mother Diana’s BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in new series of The Crown
Prince William thinks Netflix is profiteering by re-enacting his mother Diana’s BBC Panorama interview, palace sources have said.
The streaming giant will recreate excerpts of Diana’s 1995 encounter with journalist Martin Bashir for the fifth series of The Crown.
A source told The Telegraph that the Prince of Wales made his feelings ‘very clear’ and a depiction in the show would be ‘met in the way you would expect’.
They added it was understandable that he was angered about the ‘dramatisation of it for financial gain’.
An independent inquiry found that Bashir deceived Diana to get the interview, seen by more than 20million viewers, and then lied to BBC managers.
He got a BBC graphic artist to produce fake bank statements that appeared to show payments by a newspaper group to an ex-member of staff of Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother.
The inquiry said this was to gain the Earl’s confidence so he would introduce Bashir to Diana.
It is thought the interview contributed to her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996 – a year prior to her fatal car crash in the Tunnel de l’Alma in Paris.
Series five of The Crown opens in 1991, and a key plotline is the deteriorating relationship between Charles, played by Dominic West, and Diana, portrayed by The Night Manager’s Elizabeth Debicki.
It is understood that Netflix, which has cast Prasanna Puwanarajah in the role of Bashir, will show how the discredited reporter persuaded Diana to give the interview by playing on her paranoia.
But to tell the story, it will recreate what an insider called ‘snippets’ from Diana’s Panorama appearance.
However, any reference to the interview, even if critical of Bashir, is likely to be greeted with dismay in Buckingham Palace.
The storyline where Charles plots to oust his mother was branded a ‘barrel-load of malicious nonsense’ by former prime minister Sir John Major as those close to the new monarch called for a boycott.
Critics argue the show should carry a warning that the ‘false, unfair and deeply wounding’ scenes are fiction, which not all viewers realise.
Yet The Crown has confirmed that series five will air from November 9 without a disclaimer.
Meanwhile, the Queen Mother’s official biographer called the series ‘odious’ and ‘deliberately hurtful’.
Mr Shawcross, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, said that the programme is ‘filled with lies and half-truths encased in lace and velvet’.
He also accused creator Peter Morgan of organising ‘a campaign to abuse’ the monarchy and ‘to destroy by lies a vital institution’.
Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries said that it was only fair that the show regularly displays such a warning, as is common with other programmes.
The Tory MP added: ‘If a programme is purely fiction as this series of The Crown obviously is, in the name of fairness and transparency it should clearly state so.
‘It’s quite bizarre that it would feature people who are alive today but are bound by protocol and unable to rebut false impressions and invented scenarios, knowing that many viewers would believe them to be real.’
Royal insiders have previously described the programme as ‘trolling on a Hollywood scale’, and last night no one was said to have been dissuaded from that view.
But Buckingham Palace has not formally commented on the row as it is believed officials want to rise above the fray with dignity.
A spokesman for the series said: ‘The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.
Series Five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the Royal Family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.’
The new series, set in the 1990s, opens with Charles – then the Prince of Wales – lobbying then prime minister Sir John in a bizarre attempt to force the Queen’s abdication.
The prince, played by Dominic West, actively briefs against the Queen, whom he believes is out of touch.
But Sir John told The Mail on Sunday that the meeting did not happen and the ‘improper subject’ was never discussed. His office said that not one scene is ‘accurate in any way’, adding: ‘They are fiction, pure and simple.
‘They should be seen as nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction – a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum – and entirely false – dramatic impact.’
In another scene, Charles says: ‘If we were an ordinary family and social services came to visit they would have thrown us into care and you [the Queen] into jail.’
While the new series was written at least a year before the Queen died and filming completed months ago, the timing of its release may lead to criticism.
Sources close to the Palace have said the Queen’s death just six weeks ago makes the scenes particularly hurtful.
Storyline: The new series, set in the 1990s, opens with Charles – then the Prince of Wales – lobbying Prime Minister John Major in a bizarre attempt to force the Queen’s abdication (pictured: Charles and John Major together in 1994)
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