The 6th and final season of The Crown has been announced by Netflix. Its first part will be coming out 16 November and the second on 14 December. The Crown has been a record breaking series from Netflix.
Discover our latest podcast
When they first announced its release, back in 2016, description under the trailer said:
At a time when Britain was recovering from war and her empire was in decline, a young woman took the throne as a matter of duty not desire. Prepare for a world full of intrigue and revelations in The Crown.
For many, this trailer was the first time they discovered actors like Claire Foy or Vanessa Kirby. Of course, much excitement around Matt Smith's presence was felt as he had raised to fame as the 11th Doctor in Doctor Who. Throughout its run The Crown has made a reputation for itself in the casting department. It has also made history in different aspects.
The Crown is fictionalised History
The Crown breaks the Palace walls and lets viewers in on the lives of British royals. At least, that's how it feels. However, as the story centres around the personal lives of these historical figures, it is hard to determine whether what is on screen really happened.
In May 2023, CNN took it upon themselves to research which historical event depicted on The Crown actually happened. For instance, quite early on in the show, Prince Phillip (Matt Smith) and Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) argue about the surname of their children. Prince Phillip of course wants Mountbatten but the Queen decides to keep the royal name Windsor. On that CNN writes:
In real life: Philip apparently did complain about this, according to a 2004 biography. Elizabeth formally decreed a new family surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, in 1960.
Still early on in the show, Prince Phillip is strongly against kneeling to his wife during the coronation. According to CNN's fact checking reveals that this is 'unlikely that there was any drama whatsoever about the royal protocol.'
The ethics of The Crown
Throughout its run, The Crown has had its fair share of scandals. Indeed, one musn’t forget that the shows portrays people who are still living. As the show goes on, the events depicted become closer to the present. To that affect, season 6 will end in the early 2000s around the time Prince William first met Kate Middleton.
Because of how near some events are to the present, The Crown has gathered significant backlash.
One of them was about Prince Phillip's alleged affair with Penny Knatchbull, portrayed in season 5 of The Crown. The issue with this storyline wasn't about whether or not it was accurate but whether or not the timing of it was appropriate and ethical. Indeed, season 5 of The Crown was released worldwide on 9 November 2022, just two months after the passing of Queen Elizabeth. Sky News talked to Dickie Arbiter who worked as the Queen's press secretary between 1998 and 2000. He qualified the storyline as 'distasteful' and added:
The truth is that Penny was a long-time friend of the whole family. Netflix are not interested in people's feelings.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, calls for Netflix to add a disclaimer at the start of each episode came in mass. One famous voice was the one of Dame Judi Dench who penned a letter to The Times asking the streaming giant to specify that The Crown is 'fictionalised drama'.
In Judi Dench's letter you can read:
The time has come for Netflix to reconsider - for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve its reputation in the eyes of its British subscribers
While The Crown is far from a perfect show, its success highlight the high popularity and fascination the British Royal Family still possess. And maybe, The Crown even helped the monarchy's popularity...
CBS: How historically accurate is "The Crown"?
Sky News: Why has The Crown become so controversial?
Radio Times: When will The Crown end? Number of Netflix seasons confirmed