Isabel II's former press secretary thinks that 'The Crown' has lost its cool

The inner circle of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was more or less silent during the first seasons of The Crown, at least to the public.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
26 November 2023 Sunday 16:36
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Isabel II's former press secretary thinks that 'The Crown' has lost its cool

The inner circle of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was more or less silent during the first seasons of The Crown, at least to the public. But, as the action of fiction approached the present and began to include Diana Spencer, increasingly explicit criticism began. Boris Johnson's government even issued veiled threats to Netflix for its critical view of the royal family. With the start of the sixth season, which includes the death of the former Princess of Wales, even Elizabeth II's former press secretary has taken a public position and not exactly in favor of what she has been able to see on television.

According to Dickie Arbiter, in the last episodes "they have lost their way" with dramatic license. He refers, for example, to the scene in which the then Prince Charles explained to his children that their mother had died. "It was very insensitive "Very unnecessary," he told Deadline, because "his mother's death is still a sensitive issue" for both Prince William and Prince Harry.

The first episodes of the final season have a clear structure: the first three episodes focus on the media war between Charles and Diana for the attention and favor of the public after the divorce, and on her love life, which includes her vacation in the Mediterranean with Dodi Al-Fayed before dying in the Alma Bridge tunnel in Paris. And, in the fourth, it is shown how the Royal House of Windsor addressed that tragic death that left the crown princes mortally orphaned.

“The scenes between Carlos and his mother, in which he lets it slip that she would want Diana to be brought back in a van from Harrods, do not make any sense,” said the man who was press secretary in that complicated week. “Of course a plane was going to be offered. The queen was the first to accept it,” he explained. And, regarding the decision to make Diana appear after her death in conversations with Charles or Isabel, Arbiter is clear how to define it: “Despair.”

The interesting thing about these chapters, however, may be the new way in which Peter Morgan, the creator of The Crown, has approached Diana's death, after having covered this same chapter in the history of the British monarchy in The Queen with a Helen Mirren who won the Oscar for best actress for the role of Isabel. If there the queen was shown as a person practically without feelings, sadder about the death of a deer than about her former daughter-in-law, in the series a greater role is given to Carlos.

In the third season, the current king was redefined for the public by showing him as a young man with an artistic spirit whose wings were cut for being the heir. In the fourth and fifth seasons, there were those who worried about the image that was given of him: an insecure, unfaithful and resentful being towards Diana because the princess had a natural charisma that photographers adored and that stole the spotlight from him. . However, in this sixth his figure is again vindicated in relation to the death of his ex-wife.

This implies rethinking the meaning of dramatic license taking into account that Peter Morgan, in theory, writes from two principles: that the work is a plausible speculation of what was happening in the palace and in the private lives of these very public people, and that the story flows on the narrative level. This implies taking dramatic licenses but, in principle, not being untrue. But what should the viewer think when contrasting two versions of the same events through The Crown and The Queen, both written by Morgan and which differ substantially?