'The Crown' has 'moral responsibility' to stress it's a drama, says Helena Bonham Carter

The actress, who plays Princess Margaret in the latest season of the Netflix show, has weighed in on the fact vs fiction debate

Helena Bonham Carter stars as Princess Margaret in season four of ‘The Crown’. Netflix 
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While its storyline may be grounded in true events, The Crown is a slickly produced TV series, not a documentary.

However, following the debut of the latest season last month, a number of names have called for the Netflix smash hit to carry a disclaimer, making clear the biopic of the British royal family relies on a hearty dose of artistic licence.

The latest to back a campaign for such a warning is Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Princess Margaret in seasons three and four of the show.

The Crown has a "moral responsibility" to tell viewers it is a drama, the actress stated in a Netflix podcast released on Monday, November 30.

"It is dramatised. I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say: 'Hang on guys, this is not … it's not a drama-doc, we're making a drama.' So they are two different entities," Bonham Carter, 54, said on The Crown: The Official Podcast.

Questions of historical fidelity were not a major issue during earlier seasons of the show, which debuted in 2016 and traces the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which began in 1952.

But the current fourth season is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade that many remember vividly. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and the late Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 traumatised the nation.

The troubled relationship of Prince Charles (played by Josh O’Connor), and Diana (portrayed by Emma Corrin), is a major storyline in the series, and has been criticised by the latter's family.

Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has also said the show should carry a notice that “this isn’t true, but it is based around some real events".

He told broadcaster ITV: “I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair."

This week, Oliver Dowden, the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, weighed in, revealing he planned to ask the streaming platform to add a disclaimer to the show.

Picture shows: Queen Elizabeth II (OLIVIA COLMAN) and Prince Charles (JOSH O CONNOR)
Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman) and Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) in a scene from 'The Crown' season four. Netflix

"It's a beautifully produced work of fiction. So as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that," Dowden told the Mail on Sunday. "Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact."

Last month, the creator of The Crown defended inventing a controversial scene between Prince Charles and his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten in the latest season.

Peter Morgan admitted the opening episode features a fictional scene in which Mountbatten scolds the Prince of Wales for pursuing Camilla, who was married to Andrew Parker Bowles.

The Crown employs researchers, but has always made clear some events are embellished for entertainment.