A Complete Breakdown of How Royal Family Members Feel About ‘The Crown’
Who watches and who won't admit it?
Back in 2016, Netflix gave royal-obsessed streamers The Crown, which chronicled the British royal family with drama, high style, and one more outlet for people to question what about the royals was fact and what was fiction. The show's fourth season is set to hit the streaming service on November 15, 2020, and will include Prince Charles's and Princess Diana's romance. With the show already slated to have a sixth season, the actual royals have had plenty of time to watch, critique, and vehemently deny that they watch along with the commoners. Few have mentioned the show outright, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't come up in casual conversation.
The Times reports that Buckingham Palace does get a heads up from the show. Officials are informed of the show's salient plot points before a new season goes into production (though, since the show is based on actual history, it seems unnecessary). There's no information on what — or if — the palace or its residents have objected to anything or requested changes, but here's what we do know.
Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret in seasons 1 and 2, does have some insight. In an interview, she said that she met someone with some insider information: Princess Eugenie.
"A friend of mine was at a party and didn't know anyone, so he sidled up to this group who were talking about The Crown," Kirby told Harper's Bazaar. "One girl said, 'Well, my granny watches it and really likes it.' It slowly dawned on him that the girl was Eugenie and her granny was the queen."
Eugenie has spoken about the show specifically, saying that it made her ″proud" when she watched it, though she didn't offer any other insight as to which other members of the royal family enjoy the show.
"I did watch a couple of episodes of The Crown. It is filmed beautifully. The music is wonderful, the story is beautiful," Princess Eugenie told the Daily Mail. "You feel very proud to watch it. I can't speak for everyone, but that's how I felt when I watched it."
Insiders note that Elizabeth enjoyed the show's first season, but took issue with the second.
"The queen realizes that many who watch The Crown take it as an accurate portrayal of the royal family and she cannot change that," a senior royal courtier told Express. "But I can convey that she was upset by the way Prince Philip is depicted as being a father insensitive to his son’s wellbeing. She was particularly annoyed at a scene in which Philip has no sympathy for a plainly upset Charles while he is flying him home from Scotland. That simply did not happen."
Another source has told Vanity Fair that "the Queen has no desire to watch herself in a fictitious TV program, while Anne has no time for such nonsense."
There's some secondhand information about Prince Philip's viewing habits, too. Matt Smith, who plays him on the show, had a similar situation to Kirby's.
"A friend had dinner next to [Prince Philip] and asked him if he'd watched The Crown," Smith told the Mirror. "He turned around to him and went, 'Don't be ridiculous.'"
Prince William and Kate Middleton:
Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth, confirmed that Prince William doesn't watch.
″He asked what I was doing at the moment before he quickly added, 'Actually, I know what you're doing," she said on the Graham Norton Show. "I was so excited and asked, 'Have you watched it?' His answer was a firm, 'No.' But he was very charming and very lovely."
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle:
Though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle haven't mentioned the show in any of their interviews, a source close to the Sussexes confirmed — in a very ″royals, they're just like us" way — that the couple does watch.
"An accomplished cook, Meghan loved to make extravagant dinners for Harry, and they enjoyed staying in and eating her delicious homemade meals and watching films and TV shows like The Crown on Netflix," biographer Katie Nicholl wrote in her book Harry: Life, Loss, and Love.
Later, however, Nichols spoke with a family friend about season 4, which features a young Harry and his mother Diana, and they said he had only seen the trailers. Adding, it would be "quite sad" for him and his brother William to watch.
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles:
Camilla Parker Bowles's nephew, Ben Elliot, told Vanity Fair that his aunt enjoys the series — though she ″wasn't looking forward to the bits to come." Her character is played by Emerald Fennell and the show's fourth season is set to cover Prince Charles's extramarital affair, so Bowles has good reason to be concerned about how the series portrays her.
However, a friend of Camilla's told Vanity Fair that the Duchess of Cornwall does indeed plan on watching the fourth season.
"I imagine she’ll be tuning in with a glass of red wine to watch it, she has seen the previous series," the friend said. "She has a wonderful sense of humor and this won’t fuss her in the slightest."
"She has watched it, of course she has and I believe [Charles] has too," added the source. "I don’t think she has any real issue with it. Her feeling is very much 'never complain, never explain.'"
Queen Elizabeth's nephew, Arthur Chatto, also watches the show. He told the Telegraph that he doesn't let it affect how he treats his family members and told viewers to remember that the show's just an interpretation of facts.
″Yes, I have watched it," he said. "I guess it’s only an interpretation. So I just kind of remember what they're actually like and don’t let the TV persona mar my judgment of any of them."