How Realistic Is ‘The Crown’? Royal Family Clarifies They Don’t Endorse the Netflix Show

The Crown might be based on the very real life of Queen Elizabeth II and her family, but don’t get the idea that it’s completely factual. While the creators of the hit Netflix show — which returns for a third season on November 17 — do their best to stick to the facts when possible, plenty of parts of the series are made up. 

Mixing fact and fiction in ‘The Crown

“We really, really, really do our best” to stick to the facts, screenwriter Peter Morgan told the Guardian in a recent interview. “If we have something on record, if we are conscious of it, I’ll do it.” 

The series employs a team of five historical researchers whose job it is to ensure that timelines and other known details are correct. The show’s costume designers also recreate outfits the royals were pictured wearing, like Princess Margaret’s wedding gown or the dress the Queen wore when she met First Lady Jackie Kennedy.  

But when it comes to the personal drama between the characters, Morgan has to get creative. He said his job is “to join the dots, to find the thread that goes between the pearls.” He called the process “intuitive” though he also says he tries to be “sober” and “responsible” in his work. 

Morgan says he talks with the royal household about ‘The Crown’ 

Peter Morgan
Peter Morgan | Rich Fury/Getty Images

The Queen and the rest of the royal family have mostly stayed quiet about The Crown. However, Princess Eugenie admits she’s seen and enjoyed a few episodes. Officially, the royals have no involvement in the production. But Morgan hinted that he keeps the family in the loop about the show. 

Morgan, who also wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Queen, said that he meets with members of the royal household four times per year. He described them as “people who are very high-ranking and very active within the organization.” 

“[R]espectfully, I tell them what I have in mind, and they brace themselves slightly,” he said.  

Buckingham Palace clarifies that it doesn’t endorse ‘The Crown’ 

Royal family at Buckingham Palace
The Royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Morgan’s comments gave some the impression that the royal family had given its tacit approval to the series. But that’s apparently not the case. 

In a letter to the Guardian, Donal McCade, the Queen’s communication secretary, wrote that the article and Morgan’s interview “may have the unfortunate consequence of leading your readers to believe that the television series The Crown is made with some sort of endorsement by the royal household, or an acceptance by the royal household that the drama is factually accurate.”

Buckingham Palace isn’t “complicit” in the series, McCade went on to write. 

“The royal household has never agreed to vet or approve content, has not asked to know what topics will be included, and would never express a view as to the program’s accuracy,” he concluded. In other words, audiences should remember that they’re watching a TV show, not a documentary. 

Read more: How Did Olivia Colman Prepare for Her Role as Queen Elizabeth in ‘The Crown’?

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