Hardman: ‘The Crown’ is ‘manifestly not in Britain’s interests’ or the king’s interests

Over the weekend, the Daily Mail published another hysterical screed about The Crown Season 5, this one by Robert Hardman. The embargo has been lifted, so more detailed reviews are coming out now, but don’t mistake this for a review. Hardman’s piece is a genre we’ve already seen before, and we will continue to see in the days and weeks ahead. That genre? “This one thing is not completely factual, therefore the entire series is trash!” Hardman also sprinkles in some whining about how The Crown hurts the Windsors’ human rights and image. As I said, hysterical. Some highlights:

Wounded Windsors: Should they ever watch this catalogue of tasteless distortions, errors and, at times, curated malevolence masquerading as quality drama, then I am sure they would be very wounded indeed. Clearly rattled by the backlash, The Crown’s makers have added the words ‘fictional dramatisation’ to the blurb for the trailer — which feels rather like adding a sticking plaster to a fig leaf.

The established pattern: We now have an established pattern for each new series. Royalists wince at the implausibility of the dialogue while nitpickers delight in all the mistakes: Churchill dying in midsummer, people wearing the wrong medals and so on. The cast and producers counter with gushing interviews praising creator Peter Morgan. Doe-eyed fans and Netflix apologists tell the critics: ‘It’s only a drama, get over it.’ And, of course, the Royal Family say nothing, for fear of giving any further publicity or credence. This time, though, it feels different; a line really has been crossed.

How dare the Sussexes! Having covered this period in great detail for newspapers, books and television, I refuse to accept any weasel protestations that the producers are merely deploying ‘dramatic licence’. They have invented entirely fresh canards and amplified them. How the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can pocket their Netflix dollars after watching this will beggar belief.

A chilling nonchalance. That is clear at the outset with the appearance of a sick child, Leonora Knatchbull. Her tragic death, aged five, is used purely to establish an inuendo-filled subplot involving her mother, the Duke of Edinburgh and carriage-driving. A friend of the Knatchbull family tells me they are beyond horrified.

The Windsors won’s sue: Up until now, Morgan and Netflix have worked on the (correct) basis that the Royal Family will neither sue nor enter into a slanging match. The problem, though, is that as we move closer to the present day, there are more and more people outside the Palace who can — and will — point out glaring howlers in the script because they were there. Additionally, there is a growing section of the British public who will be disgusted that, in the aftermath of the deaths of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, this will be the prism through which millions remember them both. And believe me, millions will, as they do already. At the start of the reign of a new King, this is manifestly not in Britain’s interests — or his.

[From The Daily Mail]

So much of the criticism of The Crown mirrors the criticism of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It’s really extraordinary that there are so many royalists, royal journalists and royal sources whining about this or that, and ultimately, their complaints are: this looks bad for the Windsors. Like, that’s not a real argument? That’s not a “reason” to critique a piece of art, nor is it a reason to smear the Montecito royals. Who gives a sh-t if it “looks bad for the Windsors”? If they were worried about optics, they shouldn’t have behaved so poorly for so many years. They shouldn’t have run the exact same play on Princess Diana and the Duchess of Sussex. They shouldn’t have been such degenerate cheaters, liars and racists.

Photos courtesy of Netflix/The Crown.

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