The Crown – should we believe everything we see?

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Since it’s arrival in 2016, Netflix’s The Crown has received much acclaim, won awards and had plenty of attention from fans of the royal family who love to watch moments of history played our on screen. Even those who are unaware of British royal history can become familiar with key events and figures.

However, The Crown’s controversial newest season, which focuses on the political career of Margaret Thatcher, as well as the relationship between Prince Phillip and Lady Diana, has come under fire, for depicting fiction as fact. 

Initially, the first season of the crown is set in the 1950’s, but as the events surrounding season 4 run up to the 1990’s, it is very recent history. Although the Netflix series depicts stories based on true events, Netflix takes creative liberty in showing the events for entertainment purposes. 

Subsequently from the first season’s release, 2017 saw the arrival of 3 documentaries about Lady Diana’s life and history. While this could be because 20 years had passed since her death, with more time to consider the facts or new ones revealed, it could also be as a result of surging interest in the royal family because of The Crown. 

Here’s a listicle of Netflix’s Princess Diana documentaries all released in 2017, so you can decide for yourself whether season 4 shows dramatisation, fact or total fiction.

Diana: in her own words

Based on the book Diana: Her true story, this documentary is a depiction of conversations Diana had with her friend and journalist, Andrew Morton.

Focusing on her personal life before and during her relationship with the royal family, this deep documentary has Diana exploring in her own words, the troubled childhood she experienced, as well as her turbulent engagement.

Even going as far as to highlight how she was aware of Camilla’s affair with prince Charles, there is much more detail about her own struggle in this documentary than featured in The Crown.

Diana even goes as far as to discuss her miscarriage, mental health struggles, and how despite her problems, she has always had a desire to help people. Diana’s delicate handling of her struggles, resembles that of Meghan, who has recently gone into the media to discuss mental health and grief.

This documentary is for those who want to have a better understanding of Diana and her life, from the invaluable perspective of herself.

The story of Diana

In this two part documentary, the first part is dedicated to the early stages of Diana’s relationship and struggle with the media attention. While the second part explores the deterioration of her marriage, and the tragic circumstances surrounding her death.

The second part also features insightful interviews with people who knew her, including journalists, photographers, and even a personal interview from her brother Charles Spencer.

Ideally, this documentary would suit those who want to explore the wider historical context surrounding the royal family at the time. While Diana is the focus of this documentary, she is not the focal point, which allows the viewer to have a better understanding of the British press.

The Royal House of Windsor

This documentary is a six part series, each an hour long, going into extensive detail on the royal family as a whole. Episodes one to three sets the backdrop of the history prior to Diana joining the royal family. Which can be of crucial importance for those who want to understand the history prior season 4 of The Crown.

Episodes four and five give more detail on the circumstances surrounding Diana life. However, this documentary dedicates very little time to any scandals or controversial events the royal family may have been involved in. Instead, it puts the focus on the nobility and importance of the royal family.

Ideally, this documentary would suit the viewer who desires a stronger impression of the royal family, than that given by The Crown.


Words by Beth Adams | Subbed by William Murray

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