‘The Crown’ star Jonathan Pryce is ‘hugely disappointed’ by the show’s latest critics

Jonathan Pryce in a tuxedo
Jonathan Pryce, pictured at the 2020 Academy Awards in Los Angeles, portrays Prince Philip in Netflix’s “The Crown.”
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Netflix’s “The Crown” has found support among its stars, just a week after scathing criticism from Judi Dench and former U.K. Prime Minister John Major.

Jonathan Pryce, who portrays Prince Philip in the series, told Deadline in an interview published Thursday that he’s “hugely disappointed by my fellow artists.” He did not mention Dench by name, but she was the latest actor to openly condemn the Netflix series.

Last Thursday, the Oscar winner wrote an open letter in the British newspaper the Times dismissing “The Crown” as “inaccurate and hurtful.”

“The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely art seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism,” Dench wrote in her letter, which was published with the headline “The Crown is crude and cruel, says Dame Judi Dench.”


Oscar-winning actor Judi Dench wrote a heated letter about Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ in the British newspaper the Times. She said the streamer should reconsider adding a disclaimer.

Oct. 20, 2022

In addition to expressing her worries about how the series represents the royal family, Dench called on Netflix to add a disclaimer reminding viewers that “The Crown” is fictionalized.

In response, Pryce told Deadline that he believes “the vast majority of people know it’s a drama.” Why?

“They’ve been watching it for four seasons,” he said.

In her letter, Dench cited the death of Queen Elizabeth II as one of the reasons why Netflix should “reconsider” its stance on disclaimers. But Pryce’s co-stars Lesley Manville and Imelda Staunton said the monarch’s death may be why “The Crown” has recently come under fire.

“There is, and for my part as well, a great deal of compassion towards the Queen, and depths of feeling that she is no longer with us,” Manville, who will play Princess Margaret in the next season, also told Deadline. “That has certainly heightened it all.”

Staunton, who will portray Queen Elizabeth in Season 5, said she understands where some critics are coming from, noting that “their nerve endings are still a little bit raw.” But she defended the series and creator Peter Morgan as “honest and true and respectful.”

“He obviously adores this family in many ways, and he’ll show both sides of the characters, for good or for worse,” Staunton told Deadline. “He’ll show them and make no judgment, he’ll leave that up to the audience.”

In an open letter, Judi Dench said ‘The Crown’ is ‘inaccurate and hurtful.’ But there’s a disclaimer of sorts on the Season 5 trailer’s YouTube page.

Oct. 21, 2022

Amid the criticism, Netflix has made an effort to remind viewers that “The Crown” is simply “inspired by real events” and a “fictional dramatisation” of British history. While such language has been previously used on press materials and on the Netflix website, the Season 5 trailer was the series’ first to feature the “dramatisation” line on Netflix’s YouTube account.


Netflix has been firm on forgoing a disclaimer even before 2022. In November 2020, Britain’s then-secretary for culture, Oliver Dowden, urged the platform to remind viewers that “The Crown” is a piece of fiction with a notice. But that wasn’t in any of Netflix’s plans.

“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 in a statement.

Season 5 of “The Crown” debuts Nov. 9 and also stars Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West and Olivia Williams.