Netflix rejects calls to add disclaimer to ‘The Crown’

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana stands with eyes downcast and wearing an elaborate, puff-sleeved wedding dress.
Emma Corrin stars as Princess Diana in the new season of Netflix’s hit show “The Crown.”

Netflix has “no plans” to add a disclaimer to “The Crown” to make clear that the lavish drama about Britain’s royal family is not a documentary.

In a statement Saturday, Netflix said it had always presented the dramatic work as just that.

“We have always presented ‘The Crown’ as a drama — and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” it said.


“As a result we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.”

The British government’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, recently urged Netflix to add the disclaimer to the drama’s new season.

The hit show debuted in 2016 and traces the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which began in 1952. Questions of historical fidelity didn’t cause a stir during earlier seasons of the show, despite dramatic license being taken with some of the events depicted.

Uneasy lies the nation that watches ‘The Crown,’ as Shakespeare might’ve written about present-day Britain’s attitude toward the hit Netflix show.

Dec. 4, 2020

But the latest season, the show’s fourth, is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade in Britain. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 transfixed the nation and the world.

Some Conservatives have criticized the program’s portrayal of Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Britain’s first female prime minister, who died in 2013, is shown clashing with Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth to an extent that some say is exaggerated. Others complain that Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, is unfairly depicted as the villain in his and Diana’s rocky marriage.

“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan, whose work also includes history-based dramas “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.

Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother, called on Netflix to add a disclaimer.

“I think it would help ‘The Crown’ an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that ‘this isn’t true but it is based around some real events,’” he told broadcaster ITV. “I worry people do think that this is gospel, and that’s unfair.”