'The Crown': 'Outrageous' to add a disclaimer to Netflix drama, says Josh O'Connor

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read
The Crown S4. Picture shows: Prince Charles (JOSH O CONNOR) and Princess Diana (EMMA CORRIN)
Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin as Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in season four of The Crown. (Netflix)

Adding a disclaimer to The Crown on Netflix would be “outrageous”, according to the actor who plays Prince Charles in the latest season of the drama.

Josh O’Connor said the calls from people including relatives of people featured in the show, as well as culture secretary Oliver Dowden, for the streaming giant to add a note to remind viewers the show was fiction were a “low blow”.

Season four landed on Netflix in November, as England was in lockdown, and has been the subject of criticism as people suggest it has blurred the lines between fact and fiction.

The season covers the arrival of Princess Diana, and charts her marriage to Charles. The programme suggests Charles and Camilla continued an affair throughout the time he was married to Diana.

However this is not the side of the story that Charles, now 72, has previously told. He admitted to an affair in 1994, but said that he and Camilla only resumed their contact after his marriage to Diana had broken down.

Clarence House, which manages the real royal household of Prince Charles and Camilla, even stopped allowing replies on its Twitter posts for a short time, as there were so many trolling responses to the Duchess of Cornwall.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during an event to thank local volunteers and key workers in the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle on December 8, 2020 in Windsor, England. (Photo by UK Press Pool/UK Press via Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla were trolled on social media after season four of The Crown was released. (Getty Images)
Josh O'Connor during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. Picture date: Thursday November 5, 2020. Photo credit should read: PA Media on behalf of So TV (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
Josh O'Connor said he thought the disclaimer suggestion was a 'low blow'. (PA Images)

The series prompted Dowden to ask Netflix to add a disclaimer to the show, but the US company refused.

O’Connor said: “We were slightly let down by our culture secretary, whose job it is to encourage culture.

“In my opinion, it’s pretty outrageous that he came out and said what he said. Particularly in this time when he knows that the arts are struggling and they’re on their knees, I think it’s a bit of a low blow.”

He told LA Times’ The Envelope podcast that he feels viewers know the show is fiction.

Read more: The Crown: All the answers to every question you'll ask while watching season four

He said: “My personal view is that audiences understand.

“You have to show them the respect and understand that they’re intelligent enough to see it for what it is, which is pure fiction.”

O’Connor’s view is somewhat at odds with his on screen aunt, Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in the hit show.

Watch: Helena Bonham Carter agrees The Crown should stress it’s ‘dramatised’

She previously said the show has a “moral responsibility” to tell viewers it’s a drama.

Earlier this week, former minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean raised the issue in the House of Lords, accusing Netflix of arrogance for refusing to add the disclaimer.

It came as two members of the team said they had made up one of the scenes in the show to “break our hearts”.

Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has also voiced support for a disclaimer on the programme, and said he was particularly upset over the portrayal of their grandmother.

Watch: Is The Crown a true story?