Netflix has allegedly postponed the release of a reported docuseries featuring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship to the royal family following backlash against a controversial plotline on Season 5 of “The Crown.”
Deadline reported that a “rattled” Netflix has pushed back the unofficial premiere of the surprise documentary series, originally set for a December release on the heels of “The Crown” Season 5 launching November 9.
A particular Season 5 episode titled “Queen Victoria Syndrome” has recently received pushback from former UK Prime Minister John Major. The episode includes a plotline suggesting that in 1991 Prince Charles (now King Charles III) complained to Major about waiting to take over the throne.
The episode is based on a poll that ran in the UK Sunday Times which argued that the monarchy was dated and that Queen Elizabeth should abdicate in favor of Charles, via Deadline. A scene includes Dominic West as Prince Charles agreeing with the poll and saying “an aging monarch, too long on the throne whose remoteness from the modern world has led people to grow tired not just of her but of the monarchy itself” should step aside.
In “The Crown,” Charles requests a meeting with Major where he compares his position to that of Edward VII being “kept waiting in the wings” for decades as Queen Victoria ruled.
Major has stated that no conversation took place and deemed the episode “malicious nonsense.” Royal insiders previously said that the family believes Season 5 to be “exploitative” as it also centers on Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki).
“What people forget is that there are real human beings and real lives at the heart of this,” a source close to King Charles said.
The final two seasons of “The Crown” are set to span the 1990s to 2003, with Season 6 including Princess Diana’s death, which Netflix has stated will not be shown onscreen.
However, the controversy ahead of the Season 5 premiere has allegedly changed the Netflix release schedule for its upcoming Duke and Duchess of Sussex docuseries, produced by Netflix and Archewell Productions.
“They’re rattled at Netflix and they blinked first and decided to postpone the documentary,” a source told Deadline.
Netflix has stated that “there’s never been any documentary from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed” on the streamer. Yet Deadline reported the series was filmed at Harry and Meghan’s Montecito home, with both serving as executive producers through their production company Archewell and under their Netflix banner deal. Deadline also noted that the delay in the docuseries premiere could have been influenced by the Queen’s death September 8.
IndieWire has also reached out to Netflix for comment.