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‘Inaccuracies’: Pro-royal lobby group urges boycott of The Crown amid ‘explosive’ premiere

Just hours before the highly-anticipated latest season premiere of Netflix blockbuster The Crown finally drops, the Australian Monarchist League has issued a harsh plea to boycott it and the streaming giant because of “inaccuracies”.

Fans of The Crown have waited almost two years for season five, which will concentrate on Queen Elizabeth’s reign throughout the 1990s – a troubled period of increasing unpopularity, the breakdown of royal marriages and the devastating Windsor Castle fire.

It was a tough time – the late Queen even famously described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” (Latin for “horrible year”).

Correct the record

With the new series dropping in Australia later on Wednesday, the AML also stepped into the spotlight, with a stern statement.

The AML is a volunteer lobby group whose campaign committee is led by former federal government minister Eric Abetz. It is dedicated to retaining the British monarch as Australia’s head of state.

“Falsehoods and inaccuracies, particularly about His Majesty the King … being broadcast … will lead monarchists and right-minded people to withdraw support for the program [sic] and Netflix as a whole if the platform does not act to correct the record,” chairman Philip Benwell warned.

“It is one thing to create a clearly fictitious narrative such as Robin Hood, but quite another to purposefully build a series including falsehoods and inaccuracies about people still living.”‘

“We have accordingly launched a protest and should Netflix not publish a definitive disclaimer, we will launch a campaign requesting monarchists to discontinue any association with Netflix,” it told its supporters via email.

It is unclear whether the AML has actually seen any of The Crown‘s latest episodes – although the upcoming series has been marred by controversy.

The royal editor of Britain’s Mirror newspaper, Russell Myers, has already binge-watched the series. He described it as “uncomfortable viewing”, especially as the new King rides a “wave of popularity” in Britain.

However, he said the new season “brings The Crown to life” and offered a deeper understanding of how the royal family was perceived during that decade.

“It feels like the present day, everything we know about the royal family, especially the relationship between [then] Prince Charles and Diana.

“It’s absolutely explosive, [Australian actress] Elizabeth Debicki is masterful in her portrayal [of Diana].

“It has theatre, intrigue, deceit,” he told Nine’s Today Extra.

Ahead of the first episode at 5pm Wednesday (AEDT), the cast “dazzled” at the world premiere red carpet in London.

Fact or fiction – either way it’s ‘toe-curling’ stuff

The AML remains most concerned about widespread reports that the new series features “a totally false conversation between the then Prince of Wales (now King) and the then Prime Minister, Sir John Major, about the Queen abdicating, cause great concern”.

“Even before Sir John issued a statement saying that that fictitious conversation was ‘a barrel-load of malicious nonsense’, it is fundamentally clear that Prince Charles would never have spoken about the Queen abdicating,” it said.

“He, of all people, knew that because of the oath Her Majesty swore at her coronation, she would never abdicate, as the commitment she gave was for life.

streaming

The Crown‘s Charles and Diana in happier times. Photo: Netflix

The whispered scene also drew fire from actor Judi Dench, who wrote to The Times complaining of Netflix’s “crude sensationalism”. That prompted Netflix to finally give in and agree to add a disclaimer, warning viewers the show is a “fictional dramatisation inspired by real-life events”.

The disclaimer appears under the YouTube trailer for series five and on Netflix’s title synopsis page.

Netflix told BBC News The Crown “has always been presented as a drama based on historical events”.

Regardless, the Australian monarchists accused Netflix of being “negligent in its duty to the public by not providing any sort of accuracy about such ‘real-life events’.

“Droves of people” would leave Netflix unless the record was corrected, AML said.

Diana

Australia’s Elizabeth Debicki will be seen as Princess Diana for the first time in the new series. Photo: Netflix

By contrast, Myers says series five offers – on balance – “a view” of how the royal family was perceived in the 1990s.

“The Queen had a tough time in the 1990s. She had the breakdown of her children’s relationships, and this is even before Diana’s death, which will be dealt with in the sixth series,” he said.

“The Queen had to come from a position of fighting for her reputation, and the reputation of the monarchy.

Myers said The Crown was “a fictionalised series” – and that, when approached, Buckingham Palace had said it did not comment on fiction.

“The storylines that play out are absolutely tremendous … but don’t be fooled by everything,” he said.

“This is really uncomfortable viewing … we learn of [then Prince Charles’] affair with Camilla, we learn of the unfortunate Tampongate.

‘It is really a toe-curler at some instances, and the brutality of the relationship with Diana is quite fresh in the memories.

“Whether it’s fact or fiction, it’s definitely going to be uncomfortable viewing, and uncomfortable headlines,” he said.

Myers reckons the show is a “great window into the world, and the craziness” of the era.

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