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Royals in revolt: Season 4 of ‘The Crown’ accused of ‘hijacking and exploiting’ the British royal family

Storylines in the latest season of the hit Netflix show include Diana’s bulimia, Charles and Camilla’s affair, and Lord Mountbatten’s assassination

Emma Corrin in a replica of Princess Diana's wedding dress for season four of 'The Crown'. Instagram / Emma Corrin
Emma Corrin in a replica of Princess Diana's wedding dress for season four of 'The Crown'. Instagram / Emma Corrin

Royal insiders have attacked the latest season of hit Netflix show The Crown, hitting out at storylines they say have “hijacked and exploited” the British royal family.

With season four of The Crown set be released on Sunday, royal insiders who typically don’t comment on stories or shows depicting the family told British newspaper the Daily Mail: "This is drama and entertainment for commercial ends being made with no regard to the actual people involved who are having their lives hijacked and exploited."

Season four of the show introduces Princess Diana, played by newcomer Emma Corrin, and follows the early courtship, engagement and marriage of Diana and Prince Charles.

This image released by Netflix shows Emerald Fennell, left, and Emma Corrin in a scene from "The Crown." Season four premieres on Sunday, Nov. 15. (Des Willie/Netflix via AP)
Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell) greets Emma Corrin's Princess Diana in a scene from the season four premiere of 'The Crown'. Courtesy Netflix

"In this case, it’s dragging up things that happened during very difficult times 25 or 30 years ago without a thought for anyone’s feelings," insiders continued. "That isn’t right or fair, particularly when so many of the things being depicted don’t represent the truth."

Charles’s ongoing affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell) is also in the spotlight, and X Files star Gillian Anderson portrays former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, with whom Queen Elizabeth II is said to have had a fractious relationship.

Portrayal of Diana’s struggle with bulimia ‘upsets Prince William’

The new season will also focus on Diana’s struggle with bulimia, which was discussed in royal biographer Andrew Morton’s 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words. According to People magazine, for the book, Diana would record her thoughts on tape, which her friend, James Colthurst, would then give to Morton.

“The bulimia started the week after we got engaged,” Diana said on the tapes. “My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: ‘Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?’ and that triggered off something in me. And the Camilla thing.”

The show is unflinching in its portrayal of Diana's health struggles, in scenes that are said to have upset Prince William.

This image released by Netflix shows Emma Corrin, left, and Josh O'Connor in a scene from "The Crown." Season four premieres on Sunday, Nov. 15. (Ollie Upton/Netflix via AP)
The latest season takes an unflinching look at Diana (Emma Corrin) and Charles's (Josh O'Connor) troubled marriage. Courtesy Netflix

“The Duke of Cambridge is none too pleased with it,” reports the Daily Mail. “He feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money.

"There is no sense of telling carefully nuanced stories – it’s all very two-dimensional. This is trolling with a Hollywood budget. The public shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this is an accurate portrayal of what really happened.”

‘The pain is still raw’

Also portrayed on screen is the 1979 assassination of Lord Mountbatten by the IRA, which placed a bomb on his fishing boat in County Sligo, Ireland, killing him and three others.

Mountbatten, who was close to Charles, was seen in season two trying to unsuccessfully persuade Prince Philip to send his son to school at Eton, rather than Gordonstoun in Scotland, which Philip attended and enjoyed, but where his son was famously bullied and unhappy.

“These events are not the history of 100 or even 50 years ago. The pain is still raw and not enough time has elapsed,” the Daily Mail reports.

Updated: November 15, 2020 05:46 PM

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