The Crown: Netflix Adds 'Fictional' Disclaimer to Season 5 Trailer

The Crown Season 5

Netflix is taking an additional step to highlight that royal drama The Crown is, in fact, a work of fiction.

On Friday, a disclaimer was added to the video description that accompanies the Season 5 trailer on YouTube. “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatisation tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign,” it reads.

The same disclaimer, we should note, has long served as the official logline for The Crown, as seen on the series’ Netflix landing page:

The Crown Netflix Series Description

The decision to add the disclaimer to YouTube comes just two days after Dame Judi Dench published an open letter to the UK’s The Times that condemned the royal drama for presenting “an inaccurate and hurtful account of history.” She urged Netflix to add a disclaimer to the beginning of every episode reiterating that the series is a “fictionalised drama.” But in the past, the streaming giant has resisted such pleas — including one from former cast member Helena Bonham Carter.

“It is dramatized,” Carter said, adding her support for a disclaimer during a November 2020 episode of The Crown: The Official Podcast. “I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, ‘Hang on, guys, this is not… it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.’ So they are two different entities.”

Following Carter’s comments, a Netflix spokesperson told our sister site Variety that the service had no plans to add a disclaimer to The Crown. “We have always presented The Crown as a drama — and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” the company said. “As a result we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer.”

Season 5, which is due out Wednesday, Nov. 9, picks up in the early 1990s, as Charles and Diana’s marriage is falling apart. “Prince Charles pressures his mother to allow him to divorce Diana, presenting a constitutional crisis of the monarchy,” according to the official description. “Rumors circulate as husband and wife are seen to live increasingly separate lives, and as media scrutiny intensifies, Diana decides to take control of her own narrative, breaking with family protocol to publish a book that undermines public support for Charles and exposes the cracks in the House of Windsor.”

The fifth season marks another cast changeover for the Emmy-winning drama: Imelda Staunton takes over for Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce steps in as Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, and Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki make their respective debuts as Charles and Diana. The new cast also includes Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker-Bowles and Jonny Lee Miller as UK Prime Minister John Major.

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