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‘The Crown’ Should Be Labeled As ‘Fiction’ According to U.K. Culture Secretary

The Crown season 4 has reignited conversations about the real-life events behind the Netflix show. The latest installment depicts the rocky marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Princess Margaret dealing with health problems and the truth about dark family secrets, and the queen’s less than rosy treatment of Diana following her fairytale wedding. After a season which cast several of the royal family members in an unflattering light, those close to the monarchy are speaking out.

One such individual is U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who oversees the country’s arts and culture sector, including broadcasting, museums, and tourism. He told The Mail on Sunday that each episode of The Crown should have a “health warning” before it. “It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told the British publication. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

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Dowden went so far as to tell the outlet that he planned on writing to Netflix about including a disclaimer for episodes. Netflix declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter about Dowden’s concerns. However, a spokesperson mentioned to THR “that it had already been widely reported that The Crown was a drama based on real-life events.” According to The Mail on Sunday, a source close to Prince Charles referred to The Crown‘s fourth season as “highly sophisticated propaganda.”

As for the late Princess Diana’s camp, her brother Earl Spencer also aired his grievances with the show’s creative license. He recently told the host of Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh that The Crown shouldn’t not be taken as entirely accurate. “The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction,” he reportedly said. “They assume—especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.” Spencer added, “It is very hard, there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact.”

As the season currently stands, there is already a disclaimer before several episodes that depict Princess Diana’s behind-the-scenes battle with bulimia.

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