The creators and cast of The Crown have rejected criticism of the series, which has been described as “exploitative” of the royal family after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The fifth series of the Netflix drama will cover some of the worst years for the monarchy, including the bitter divorce between the then Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Trouble began last month when the Daily Telegraph quoted an unnamed friend of King Charles calling the series “exploitative”. This week a spokesperson for John Major said certain scenes .
Should be seen as “malicious fiction” and “a barrelload of nonsense” after it emerged that the first episode of the fifth series included a fictitious scene in which Charles complains to the then prime minister about his mother’s long reign and seeks her abdication.
The broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby said the scene was “nonsense on stilts”, while the royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith claimed the show was “doing significant damage to people’s perception of history and their perception of the royal family”.
Speaking to Variety magazine, the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, and the actors Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West, who play Diana and Charles, rejected claims that it was being unkind to the royal family.
“I think we must all accept that the 1990s was a difficult time for the royal family, and King Charles will almost certainly have some painful memories of that period,” Morgan said.
“But that doesn’t mean that, with the benefit of hindsight, history will be unkind to him or the monarchy.
The show certainly isn’t. I have enormous sympathy for a man in his position – indeed, a family in their position. People are more understanding and compassionate than we expect sometimes.”
The cast were preparing to start filming the sixth series, which will depict Diana’s death, when it was a announced the Queen had died.
“Peter and the entire crew do their utmost to handle everything with such sensitivity and truth and complexity, as do actors,” Debicki told Variety about filming Diana’s death.
West said that depicting Diana’s death carried with it a “heavy, heavy responsibility to get it right”, adding that it was “something I think we all take pretty seriously”.