Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on Thursday, Anne Tennant, Lady Glenconner said the hugely popular Netflix series “just makes me so angry”.
Netflix widely advertises the show as being a “fictional dramatisation” that is “inspired by real events”.
But Lady Glenconner said: “The trouble is that people, especially in America, believe it completely.”
Lady Glenconner was a friend of the late monarch since childhood, and spent more than 30 years as lady-in-waiting to her younger sister, Princess Margaret. She was also a maid of honour at the Queen’s coronation.
Speaking to Woman’s Hour, she discussed a particular episode of The Crown in which the the late Duke of Edinburgh appears to be responsible for his older sister Cecilie taking a plane that later crashed, killing her.
She described the narrative as “completely untrue”, adding: “To say something like that about people is terribly hurting. “Nobody wants to have their relations trashed like that.”
As someone close to the royal family, Lady Glenconner has herself been portrayed in The Crown.
She dismissed a scene that shows her character discussing men with Princess Margaret, saying “I mean, of course that never happened”.
She also dismissed a scene in which the late princess and then-US president Lyndon B Johnson are seen coming up with lewd limericks as fiction, saying: “Of course she never did that.”
Lady Glenconner also revealed that actor Helena Bonham Carter, who portrayed Princess Margaret in series three and four, visited her for “about two hours”, to learn “how Princess Margaret smoked, how she walked”.
She said: “I saw Helena after she’d been in The Crown and she said, ‘What did you think?’
“And I said, ‘Well, rather disappointed.’ And she said, ‘I know. But the thing is, I’m an actress, and I have to do what’s written for me.’”
In a statement to the BBC, Netflix stressed that The Crown “has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.”
The show chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her family from 1940s onwards. It has so far run for five seasons, earning Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for best drama and Emmy wins for actors including Olivia Colman and Claire Foy, who played the monarch at different stages of her life.