Each season of The Crown follows a new era for the British Royal Family and Season 6 deposits viewers in the late 1990s, as the royal princes were growing up and their parents, Princess Diana and then-Prince Charles, were forging new paths for themselves, post-divorce.
The season, which premieres Nov. 16, will be split into two parts — part one will focus on Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed. Part two, which comes mid-December, will focus on the royals following Diana’s death through 2005, including William and Kate Middleton’s early courtship.
In the first-look photos, we see the two actors that will play William and Harry as youngsters and young adults. Rufus Kampa plays the elder prince in part one, and Ed McVey plays him in part two; Fflyn Edwards plays the younger brother in part one, and Luther Ford portrays him in part two.
Speaking onstage in August at the Edinburgh TV Festival, executive producer Suzanne Mackie said the show’s crew have done their best to handle the portrayal of Diana’s 1997 death in a caring manner.
“The show might be big and noisy, but we’re not,” Mackie told the crowd. “We’re thoughtful people and we’re sensitive people.”
“There were very careful, long conversations about how we were going to do it,” Mackie said of their approach to the sensitive subject matter.
Elizabeth Debicki reprises her role as Princess Diana, alongside Dominic West as Prince Charles, and she said she credits the show’s creator and writer, Peter Morgan, with guiding her through Diana’s final days.
“I think it’s a really unique challenge as an actor, to portray those days,” she said in a Netflix press release.
“I really just trusted in Peter’s emotional blueprint that he created for us to follow. It’s his interpretation and I think it made emotional sense to me, so I clung to that. Because, obviously, it’s devastating and it’s fraught and we can never know.”
The Crown, especially in recent years, isn’t without its critics. As the dramatized royal story pushes closer and closer to modern times, some have complained the production is too sensationalized.
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In an open letter to The Times UK last year, Oscar-winning actor Judi Dench wrote that The Crown presents “an inaccurate and hurtful account of history.”
“Indeed, the closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism,” wrote Dench.
She worried audiences, particularly overseas, may take the show as truth.
At the time, Netflix responded and claimed The Crown “is a fictional dramatization, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the Royal Family — one that has already been scrutinized and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”
Prince Harry, speaking about the show last year in an interview with late-night host James Corden, said he’s generally been OK with how his family has been depicted.
“It’s fictional. But it’s loosely based on the truth. Of course it’s not strictly accurate, but it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle — the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else — what can come from that.”
He continued: “I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife or myself, because it’s the difference between fiction — take it how you will — and being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”
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