The Royal Family Has Every Right To Object To The Crown's Tacky Princess Diana Narrative

Netflix's acclaimed series "The Crown" is about to wrap up its successful run with its sixth and final season in November 2023. Millions of viewers have tuned in to follow the dramatized account of the late Queen Elizabeth's reign, from her 1953 coronation to the early part of the millennium. The "Crown" creators have often made it clear that the show is a work of fiction based on real events, and as such, it's not meant to be a perfectly accurate representation of the royal family. However, one reported plot point in Season 6 is predicted to make the real-life royals cringe — and rightly so.

It's no secret that the season will feature the 1997 death of Princess Diana in a car wreck and its effect on her former in-laws. But there's more: The Daily Mail reports an episode will include Diana's ghost (as portrayed by Elizabeth Debicki) appearing at least twice. Her spirit will have an "emotional reconciliation" with her ex-husband (better known now as King Charles) and also appear to the queen as she sets about making funeral arrangements. Mail editors are slamming the plot point as being "distasteful" and likely to upset the king and his family. Commentator Richard Fitzwilliams adds that not only should the final season never have been made in the first place, but also "the idea that they have even contemplated Diana as a ghost seems absolutely weird."

Weird indeed. Is "The Crown" going all Ghost of Christmas Past on us, and why?

The Crown is jumping the shark with a ghost

A Netflix rep has assured the Daily Mail the Princess Diana apparition storyline won't turn "The Crown" into a royal version of "Ghosts." The scenes featuring her spirit are supposed to represent the "innermost thoughts" of the queen and Prince Charles, rather than an actual spooky visitation. We're not convinced. At best, having Diana make peace from the afterlife comes off as a phony happy wrap-up to complex situations.

 "The Crown" has avoided painting the royals — Diana included — as outright heroes or villains; for five seasons, we've seen their quarrels, triumphs, and missteps. Why bring Diana back now for an imagined "reconciliation" with her ex, or a posthumous meeting with the queen that reportedly leaves Her Majesty (as played by Imelda Staunton) in tears? Is the People's Princess going to become Saint Diana, offering her benevolent forgiveness to her guilt-ridden family? This would seem to go against the whole focus of the series.

Another expert also pointed out the ghost storyline might "appall" William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, by "[changing] the narrative of the memory of their beloved mother." Harry has already made it clear how the death of the princess caused him lifelong psychological damage. Whatever one thinks of the prince, this seems like an unnecessary re-opening of a deep wound.

The tragedy of Diana's death is all the time she missed with her loved ones and all the good she could have done if she had lived. Not even a hit TV series can bring closure to an un-closable situation.