Buckle up, bitches! Buckingham Palace has commenced their full-throated campaign against… a TV show. King Charles has been on the throne for less than two months and he’s already using all of the tools at his disposal to… whine about The Crown. King Charles’s message is “please boycott The Crown, because I said so!” Millions and millions of dollars of free press for one of Netflix’s biggest hits. None of these people have ever heard of the Streisand Effect. So, Buckingham Palace arranged a full briefing for the Mail on Sunday, and they even roped in former Prime Minister John Major to complain about the show. As always, the biggest complaint is “historical accuracy.” As always, no one is saying that The Crown is a documentary. Everyone knows that’s a dramatization and that Peter Morgan is trying to get the broad strokes right. Some highlights from the MoS’s front-page story:
A hurtful smear!! Friends called the portrayal of the new monarch as a disloyal schemer ‘false, unfair and deeply wounding’ and urged viewers to boycott the hit Netflix show. The new series, due to be screened next month, shows Charles lobbying Prime Minister John Major in a bizarre attempt to force his mother’s abdication. But Sir John told The Mail on Sunday the meeting never happened and called the scene a ‘barrel load of malicious nonsense’.
Made-up dialogue!! Another well-placed source said: ‘All the dialogue is completely made up. All the one-to-one conversations you see on screen are utter fiction and some scenes have been entirely created for dramatic and commercial purposes with little regard for the truth. People should be boycotting it.’
The first episode of Season 5 is ‘Queen Victoria Syndrome’: The first episode of the forthcoming fifth series is set in 1991, against a background of speculation about the future of the monarchy and Charles’s constitutional role. The Crown’s writers suggest that Charles believed his mother, then 65, was repeating Queen Victoria’s mistakes by refusing to stand aside for a younger heir. But critics point out that Charles was in reality acutely aware that abdication was unthinkable and would devalue the institution.
These people are ridiculous: Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, a friend of the King, said of the latest fabrication: ‘The Crown is full of nonsense, but this is nonsense on stilts.’ And royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith added: ‘The events depicted here are outrageous and totally fictional. This programme is doing significant damage to people’s perception of history and their perception of the Royal Family. It has been packed full of malicious lies from the beginning but this level of abuse is now beyond the pale.’
LOL, The Crown will show Charles briefing against his mother: The Prince, played by Dominic West, is shown actively briefing against the Queen who he believes is too old and too out of touch. Such is his determination to draw the Prime Minister into his conspiracy that he is shown cutting short a holiday with Princess Diana and William and Harry to race back to London. Summoning Mr Major, played by Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller, to a private meeting, he asks him to keep their discussions secret. In their exchange, Charles hints that the monarchy should follow the lead of the Conservative Party which a year earlier had ousted Mrs Thatcher in favour of the younger Major. He says: ‘What makes the Conservative Party the successful electoral force that it is? ‘Its instinct for renewal and its willingness to make way for someone younger.’
Tory elders are getting in on the action: Sir Malcom Rifkind, Foreign Secretary under Mr Major, said the implication that the Prince was pressing the PM to encourage the Queen to make way for him was ‘pathetic and absurd’, adding: ‘At the time, the Queen was in her 60s – younger than the King is today. It’s pure fantasy which is what we have come to expect from this particular programme.’ David Mellor, who also served in Mr Major’s Government, called the episode ‘bunkum’.
John Major is mad?? Several of The Crown’s storylines are likely to prove deeply hurtful to Sir John, who is known to have been close to the late Queen. In one scene, during a private conversation with his wife Norma, he describes the senior Royals as ‘dangerously deluded and out of touch’ and the junior Royals as ‘feckless, entitled and lost’. But a spokesman for the Majors said: ‘What you report as depicted in the script has never been their view, never would be their view, and never will be their view.’
One of the best parts of The Crown is when Peter Morgan shows the absurd, archaic reality of prime ministers trotting over to the Palace for their meetings with the Queen, and the absurdity of having to fly up to Balmoral during the summer too. One of the best parts of Season 4 was seeing Margaret Thatcher (who came up through humble working class roots) suddenly realize that the Windsors are uneducated, provincial trash. As for this specific storyline about Charles wanting his mother to abdicate… he did want that. He made remarks about that in his interview with Jonathan Dimbleby in the 1990s too, that he was eager to take over if only his mother would just retire or abdicate. Charles briefed against his mother consistently for decades and it’s a f–king joke to pretend like he didn’t. Again, of course the dialogue is “made up” – it’s a dramatization not a documentary. Morgan, as always, aims to get the broad strokes right.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, Netflix.