Series five of the controversial programme focuses heavily on what the late-Queen described as her “annus horribilis” meaning ‘horrible year’ of 1992. The 1990s saw the Royal Family endure scandal after scandal, a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, the breakdown of the marriages of the Queen’s three eldest children, and the death of Diana, the late Princess of Wales.
The new series of The Crown is set to be its most controversial with its depiction of Princess Diana’s mental health struggles, separation from Prince Charles and tragic death.
According to Royal Executive Editor for Yahoo News UK, Omid Scobie, the 1990s defined by the “battle of the Wales’”.
Scobie took to YouTube for Yahoo News UK to address the “Charles vs Diana: True story behind divorce and ‘Squidgygate’ scandal” upon the release of the new Netflix programme.
The Royal editor noted that “The Crown has always blurred the lines between drama and reality”.
Scobie attempted to separate these blurred lines in his analysis of the fifth series, notably around its portrayal of Princess Diana’s involvement in the book ‘Diana: In Her Own Words’.
“The early episodes… really delve into the origins of this book and for one of the most documented and speculated moments in Diana’s history, a lot of it remains close to fact”, Scobie said.
The Crown portrays accurately the construction of Andrew Morton’s book which saw Diana secretly tape her story in her own words which were then transcribed by the author who denied her input.
The tapes were secretly carried between Kensington Palace and Andrew Morton by Diana’s friend James Colthurst who encouraged her to tell the world her story.
Morton later said: “Quite simply, she wanted the liberty to speak her mind, the opportunity to tell people the whole story of her life and to let them judge accordingly.”
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The Crown covers a number of stories which Morton spoke about including the method of delivering the tapes and the break-in at his house which occurred when Colthurst got knocked off his bike as he was transporting the tapes.
However, Scobie noted that “there are moments in the show where we get to see how the writers have taken small nuggets of truths and blown them up into full on scenes.”
The journalist credited the producers and writers of the series for their “sensitivity” towards depicting the “hard-hitting moments in [Diana’] life”.
He said: “The producers and writers had taken some sensitivity in picking out moments from Diana Her True Story to share in the show.
“We don’t get to hear about those five moments that Diana describes in great detail in the book that she tried to harm herself.”
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However, this comment is slightly untrue as the second series shows Diana recording the tape in which she admits: “When I was pregnant with William, I threw myself down the stairs at Sandringham.”
In Moreton’s book it was claimed that Diana tried to take her life at five points during her marriage to Charles.
The book stated that Diana was found at the bottom of the stairs by the Queen mother who was “horrified, physically shaking with the shock of what she had witnessed”.
The producers decided not to depict the actual moment in the programme and series four also depicted Diana’s struggle with Bulimia with a degree of sensitivity.
For the Royal Editor to give such praise to the writers and producers of the controversial series is a breath of fresh air for The Crown.
If you are experiencing feelings related to the issues discussed in this article, the Samaritans offers free and confidential support on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website to find out more.