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Helena Bonham Carter: ‘The Crown’ Has a ‘Moral Responsibility’ to Tell Viewers It’s Fictional

Princess Diana's brother criticized American viewers of "The Crown" for believing events depicted in the series are true.

The Crown

“The Crown”

Helena Bonham Carter believes “The Crown” has a “moral responsibility” to tell its viewers that events depicted in the series are fictional. The actress picked up the role of Princess Margaret from Vanessa Kirby in the third and fourth seasons of the Emmy-winning Netflix royal drama series. The fourth season of “The Crown” premiered November 15 and has faced backlash from family and friends of the British royals for its dramatization of events, most notably the marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

“It is dramatized,” Bonham Carter said on an official podcast for the series (via The Guardian). “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.”

Over the weekend, U.K. Cultural Secretary Oliver Dowden urged Netflix to add a disclaimer to “The Crown” episodes notifying viewers the events depicted are a dramatization of history. “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,” he said, noting that without a disclaimer he fears “a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”

Earl Charles Spencer, the brother of the late Princess Diana, garnered headlines earlier this month by revealing he rejected a request from “The Crown” crew to film part of the fourth season at his family’s ancestral home, Althorpe, in Northamptonshire, England. Spencer said “The Crown” is full of “conjecture” and “invention” and doesn’t go far enough to tell viewers otherwise.

“The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction,” Spencer added. “They assume, especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched ‘The Crown’ as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t…You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact.”

“The Crown” will continue for two more seasons, in which Oscar nominee Lesley Manville will take over the role of Princess Margaret from Bonham Carter. All four seasons of “The Crown” are now streaming on Netflix.

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