Prince Charles and Princess Diana look at each other. “Shall we give them some of the old magic?” He nods approvingly, a wink, then the couple spins on the railings of a spacious yacht, waving at photographers and turtles for the cameras of the world. But behind the scenes, the harmony is already falling apart considerably, as can be seen directly in the first new episode of the Netflix series “The Crown”.
The fifth season, which can be seen from November 9, takes place in the 90s and is dedicated to the most ignominious chapter in the life of the new British King Charles III.
“It is unfortunate for the king and the king’s wife that ‘The Crown’ came about by chance in these years at the beginning of his reign and ‘the subject of Charles Diana Camilla’ was raised,” says royal scholar Craig Prescott, who teaches law. constitutional. at Bangor University, Wales, in an interview with the German Press Agency.
Diana escapes from the gilded cage
As at the beginning of the third season, the series starts again with new actors to take into account the aging of the protagonists. Imelda Staunton, 66, succeeds Olivia Colman and Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and paints a compelling picture of the ever-compliant monarch.
Charles, now played by Dominic West (53), doesn’t last long in the sun-drenched maritime idyll vacation scene with his wife and children. Due to a supposed scheduling conflict, the family must cut their time aboard the yacht short. Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) wipes a tear from her face on the plane home, her little son William looks at her pityingly and shakes her hand. Her suffering, her escape from the gilded cage is the focus of the new season.
But back from the holidays, a “Sunday Times” poll initially determined the debate: More than half of Britons found Queen Elizabeth old-fashioned and unrealistic, her son Charles fared significantly better before Diana’s tragedy . Which makes her think aloud that her mother might give her up and leave her a place, even when she meets then-Conservative Prime Minister John Major.
“The Crown” has a lot of artistic liberties
Netflix leaves open what is fact and what is fiction here. Although the streaming giant resisted the demand to put the proper disclaimer at the beginning of its episodes, it never claimed to create a documentary series with “The Crown.” The fact that the plot of the series is closely linked to historical events, but leaves its artistic-fictional freedom, makes it sometimes difficult to distinguish for non-royal experts.
While most Britons are quite familiar with the actual events of the 1990s due to intense reporting, this is likely the first time that younger target groups abroad are dealing more intensively with the dramatic decade in the house of Windsor. “In Britain, the effect is perhaps overestimated,” says Prescott. “It could be bigger abroad.”
Unlike British broadcasters, which are otherwise responsible for most of the actual TV formats, Prescott thinks Netflix has more freedom. “The broadcasters depend on a good relationship with the palace for their reports. Netflix doesn’t care,” says the expert. The royal family has no influence or control, but it depends on Netflix.
Former Prime Minister John Major reacted angrily
The writers skilfully play with parallels, but also with strong contrasts with the present: Carlos on the throne? It could hardly be more up-to-date, but as we now know, it only became a reality some 30 years later. The unpopular queen? It couldn’t be further from the truth, where recently hundreds of thousands queued for days and nights on the banks of the Thames to pay their last respects to their monarch.
Even before the start of the new season, it was clear that there was something fantasy about the meeting between Charles and John Major. Former Prime Minister John Major, who ruled Britain from 1990 to 1997, described the series in The Times as “damaging and malicious fiction”. He denies speaking critically about the Royals or having a conspiratorial meeting with Charles.
It remains to be seen whether the palace itself, especially under King Charles, who is considered direct, will also fix things that flicker in the world through “The Crown”. “As we can see from John Major, there are plenty of others who like to do that,” says royal expert Prescott. Perhaps the palace doesn’t have to express itself at all to draw attention to one or another fictional twist by screenwriter Peter Morgan.
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