Dame Judi Dench Has Harsh Words For Netflix Over The Crown

As Netflix's hit show "The Crown" — which tells a fictionalized version of the very real events in the life of Queen Elizabeth II — heads into its fifth season, it's getting closer and closer to the present day. Season 5, the penultimate season, will start in 1990 and run through, likely, at least the early 1990s, which included what Queen Elizabeth called her "annus horribilis," per Harper's Bazaar UK. The teaser of Season 5 of "The Crown" – which is coming out on November 9 — showed that there will be a focus on the separation of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, which happened in 1992. This is when Prince Harry reportedly wants "The Crown" to end.

There will also be a storyline about Prince Philip pursuing an affair with friend Penny Knatchbull, per The Sun. People have called it out as being in poor taste considering the queen's death in September 2022. The queen's former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, told The Sun the story was "cruel rubbish." Another contentious and fictional storyline is about Prince Charles consulting with Sir John Major, the prime minister at the time, about getting the queen to abdicate, according to The Guardian. Sir Major called it a "barrel-load of malicious nonsense," via BBC, and Dame Judi Dench has now added her voice to the critics of Netflix's "The Crown."

Dame Judi Dench wants a fiction disclaimer for The Crown

Dame Judi Dench, who has been a dame since 1988, wrote a letter to The Times in which she asked for Netflix to include a disclaimer that the show was fictionalized. In it, she referenced Sir John Major's concern about the made up elements in the show and the fact that people may believe them to be true. Dench called out the show, saying, "The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism." Her fear is that, without a disclaimer, those watching would take the events presented in "The Crown" as historical fact, and she calls some of the storylines as "both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institute they represent." She wants Netflix to include a disclaimer particularly in light of the queen's recent death.

In 2020, the UK culture secretary asked the show to include a disclaimer, per The Chicago Tribune. The show did not do so then, and with renewed calls for a disclaimer from Sir Majors and others, a spokesperson for the show said that Season 5 "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 scrutinized and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians," according to The Scotsman. Time will tell if Dame Dench's added plea will help change minds.