If I worked as a Netflix executive, I wouldn’t let anyone in the British media get one single advanced copy of The Crown. Salt Island media has been WILD about everything involving The Crown for three years now – I say, let them stew in their own toxic juices. But I guess the Netflix math is to allow advance screeners to be sent out because Netflix knows that the British media is going to overreact and cause a commotion. A commotion which will give the series so much free publicity. So it is this week, with frantic screeds being written in the Daily Mail, the Sun and other outlets. The Mail was downright hysterical when they saw the “lurid” fifth season. The Sun chose to focus on the fact that The Crown recreates parts of Princess Diana’s Panorama interview, the same one which Prince William successfully got buried. The interview will never be aired on British television again, with Diana’s firstborn son leading the charge to silence his “paranoid” mother. Well, The Crown dramatizes the interview… and not only that, they dramatize the then-teenaged William’s reaction to it.
A young William is shown watching the interview, and being asked by a teacher if he is all right. His father Charles is shown yelling as he watches, then crying. It was thought that streaming giant Netflix had slashed the length of the recreation to tiny snippets lasting just seconds. In fact, producers have taken the most inflammatory parts of Princess Diana’s hour-long 1995 interview and condensed them into a segment lasting four minutes, 23 seconds.
They include Diana referencing the “crowded marriage” she endured while Charles was having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. She also says she wants to be “a Queen in people’s hearts” but does not think she will ever be queen herself.
An investigation later found interviewer Martin Bashir used forgery and deception to gain access to the Princess. But in a move that will spark widespread fury the streaming giant has exaggerated the language and made up huge sections of conversation.
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine and friend of Diana, who died in 1997, said: “William will be furious. He said his piece when he said it should never be aired again. This is his mother and her memory they are doing this to. It must be very frustrating as he can’t say any more because it will just give Netflix more publicity. They should have listened to him. The interview has no credibility after the investigation. Everyone knows it has no legitimacy now.
“Charles will think they can say whatever they want about him but leave Harry and William out of it. He won’t give a stuff about how he comes across but just don’t attack his sons this way.”
The show’s tweaks and fabrications lay the blame for Diana’s plight squarely at the feet of the then Prince of Wales, and make the Princess, played by Elizabeth Debicki, sound more sympathetic. Charles, played by Dominic West, is seen yelling and swearing during the interview, as the Princess casts doubt on his ability to be King. The scene ends with him breaking down in tears as Camilla watches on helplessly by his side.
“The interview has no credibility after the investigation. Everyone knows it has no legitimacy now.” Again with this false argument that because Martin Bashir lied to Diana, the interview itself is somehow tainted, fruit of the poisonous tree. This is false because both things can be accurate at once: Bashir lied to Diana to secure the interview AND Diana meant every f-king word she said in the interview. Even the Dyson report (the investigation into how Martin Bashir scored the interview) emphasized that Diana was always going to tell her story to someone. She was always going to say all of that. It was just a matter of who gave her the platform.
“The scene ends with him breaking down in tears as Camilla watches on helplessly by his side.” Thus underlining every single thing Diana said in the interview – that there were three people in her marriage, that Charles would not be a temperamentally sound king, that no one in that bloody palace understood her or looked out for her.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Netflix, the BBC.