As the Netflix hit show The Crown continues to take steps through the decades, reaching the 1990s, criticism and concerns continue to face the series ahead of Season 5, starring Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret.
The Crown is moving closer to the death of Princess Diana, with Season 5 of the show documenting her divorce from Prince Charles, but more significantly, the show will now be watched following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Speaking to Yahoo Canada about the heightened tensions around The Crown ahead of the new season, Lesley Manville indicated that she understands the “sensitivity” in the wake of the Queen’s death, while stressing that Season 5 and the following season, Season 6, will not be going near the time of her death.
“I understand that there's this heightened set of feelings because obviously the Queen has died and that has generated an enormous amount of emotion, not just for individuals, but for art, for my nation, and globally,” Manville said. “But The Crown Season 5 and Season 6 will not be going anywhere near that time.”
“We are dealing with them now in the ‘90s, some 30 years or so before the Queen's passing, and we can't alter anything about the series because this event has happened. There is nothing we can do. It's out of our control. But I do understand the sensitivity.”
But Manville also highlights that there is room for individuals to actually celebrate the Royals with The Crown, particularly Queen Elizabeth II.
“After the Queen died, I know that people went back to watch the earlier seasons of The Crown because they wanted to feel that connection with Elizabeth, and I find that very touching actually,” Manville said.
'What would be the point of making a documentary about the royal family'
Lesley Manville’s comments come after Judi Dench called The Crown “crude” and “cruelly unjust” in a letter to The Times. Dench’s words are suggested to be a significant part of why Netflix has added a disclaimer stating that the show is fictionalized.
"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,” Dench said.
While certainly a lot of the attention from the upcoming season will be on how the show recreates moments we’ve seen in history, like Princess Diana’s Panorama interview and the publicized transcript of the 1989 phone call between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles known as the “tampongate” scandal, there’s no denying that what really draws the audience into The Crown is that fictionalized element that lets you see a version of possible personal moment that happened when no one was watching.
“That's what tempts you to do the series, because what would be the point of making a documentary about the royal family, we all know the facts,” Manville said. “The great thing about the writing is that…it lets the audience in to see and humanizes the royal family, and you get to understand that they are just people with emotions, and feelings and hearts, and like anybody else.”
“I think that's the mission of The Crown, it wants to show you this side of the royal family that you don't know about,...their inner feelings are not public knowledge, so that's why, when you're doing a drama about them, you can investigate those inner feelings."
The public will be the ultimate judges of how entertaining or destructive The Crown is when Season 5 premieres on Nov. 9 on Netflix.