Netflix delays Prince Harry and Meghan documentary as ‘The Crown’ comes under fire

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Outrage over Netflix‘s fictional series The Crown reportedly has the streaming giant a bit “rattled,” to the point where they’re planning to postpone an upcoming documentary about defected British Royal Family members Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Deadline reports that Netflix execs think “it would be foolhardy to stream The Crown in November followed by the Harry and Meghan documentary in December.”

The Crown, a fictionalized drama that follows the sometimes-true, sometimes-exaggerated history of the British Royal Family, has raised eyebrows and ire amongst both the public and some of the show’s real-life subjects, after trailers for the upcoming episodes allegedly paint a season full of invention and insensitivity.

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Former British Prime Minister John Major is one of the people addressing the issue, saying The Crown‘s portrayal of the then-Prince Charles trying to recruit him in a scheme to dethrone the queen was “malicious” and “a barrel-load of nonsense.”

Deadline reports that particular episode, titled Queen Victoria Syndrome, was based on a poll conducted by the Sunday Times in 1991, which argued that Queen Elizabeth had grown stale as a monarch and should abdicate to her first-born son.

The barrage of criticism has forced Netflix to issue a rare defence of the show, reminding people that it’s a “fictional dramatization.”

‘The Crown,’ Claire Foy (as Queen Elizabeth II), ‘Smoke & Mirrors,’ (Season 1, ep. 105, aired Nov. 4, 2016). CP / Everett Collection

A spokeswoman for The Crown told the BBC: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events. Series five is a fictional dramatization, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family—one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”

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The Daily Beast points out that Netflix has refused to add a disclaimer to the show’s opening credits, warning viewers of the show’s fictional status; because of this many believe that the show’s events are overwhelmingly accurate.

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Although no broadcast date was ever set for the untitled documentary series, produced by Netflix and Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions, Netflix had said several times this year it intended to run The Crown and the documentary series back-to-back.

According to Cosmopolitan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex allowed camera crews into their life for more than a year, and were filmed while they travelled internationally. The magazine reports that the couple is “expected to talk extensively about other members of the Royal Family, including King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla and the Prince and Princess of Wales.”

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The Crown is grappling with a few overlapping real-life royal issues going into its Season 5 release next month — the show is trying to be respectful following the queen’s death, and is also getting set to shoot scenes that tell the story of Princess Diana’s death.

Prince Harry has largely remained mum on The Crown, despite his very vocal disdain for the press and photographers.

He told James Corden in an interview: “It’s fictional. But it’s loosely based on the truth. Of course it’s not strictly accurate, but it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle — the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else — what can come from that.”

He continued: “I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife or myself, because it’s the difference between fiction—take it how you will—and being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”

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The pushed-back date on the documentary comes after news earlier this month that a tell-all memoir penned by Prince Harry and scheduled to come out this fall will also be delayed.

The “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life is said to be delayed so the prince can reconsider some of the content in the wake of his grandmother’s death, as well as address the funeral and surrounding events as he returned to the U.K. with his wife to be close to his grieving family.


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