Netflix has said it has no plans to add a disclaimer to The Crown stating that the hit series is a work of fiction, after the UK culture secretary said he was going to write to request such a caveat.
In a statement on Saturday, Netflix said: “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.
“As a result we have no plans, and see no need, to add a disclaimer.”
Oliver Dowden urged the company last week to add a note stressing that The Crown was a drama, following complaints about the historical accuracy of the fourth and latest season, which is set in 1980s.
Dowden told the Mail on Sunday that the series was “a beautifully produced work of fiction” but he was concerned that a generation of viewers who did not live through the events depicted may mistake it for fact.
Some Conservatives have criticised the programme’s depiction of Margaret Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. They say it exaggerates the extent to which she clashed with the Queen, played by Olivia Colman.
Accusations of inaccuracies in Peter Morgan’s production span from repeatedly showing the Queen “wrongly dressed for trooping the colour” to disputes over Charles’s fishing technique.
The biggest bones of contention, however, have been over the depiction of Prince Charles’ marriage to Diana. He is portrayed phoning Camilla Parker Bowles every day in the early years of the marriage, and Diana is depicted as forcing plans for the couple’s trip to Australia to be changed after throwing a tantrum.
Writing in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins accused the fourth season of having “upped the fabrication and the offence”. Arguing that modern history was “too close to what should be sacred ground, bearing witness to passing events”, he wrote that artistic licence could not justify fabrications that showed living or recently dead people in the worst possible light.
Charles Spencer, Diana’s brother, was among those calling on Netflix to add a disclaimer. He told ITV: “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,’. I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair.”
Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in the series, has said The Crown has “a moral responsibility” to say it is a drama and not a drama-documentary.
The Crown has also been praised for presenting the royal family as “real people”. Others have pointed out that Charles’ and Diana’s infidelity and marital problems are well recorded, including in interviews they both gave.
Morgan has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.