The Prince of Wales’ chaotic marriage to Princess Diana has been brought back into the mainstream after season four of The Crown was released.As one of Netflix’s most popular shows, the latest episodes have prompted a flurry of speculation among its viewers over its accuracy. While creator Peter Morgan has repeatedly stated that he built up the narrative and used creative licence with the storylines, the subsequent backlash towards Charles and his second wife Camilla has left many concerned about the damage the heir’s reputation will incur.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden even urged Netflix to add a label to the show so viewers know it is fiction.
However, this has not stopped some royal fans, and Clarence House — the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s official account — have even turned comments off on their posts to deter trolls.
Howard Hodgson, who has met with Charles on several occasions and wrote the biography, ‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’, pulled apart the drama’s depiction of the Prince of Wales and said it is completely inaccurate.
He told Express.co.uk: “Charles is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
“[But] he’s just not the person created by Diana, and has been made out to be even more of a stupid caricature in The Crown.”
He said the show was “wilful character assassination” based on Andrew Morton’s book, ‘Diana — Her True Story’, a biography built on secret interviews conducted in Kensington Palace with the Princess of Wales.
Mr Hodgson continued: “He’s just not that person at all, if you ever met him, you’d know within two seconds he’s not vaguely like that.”
The royal biographer said The Crown “is farcical in its inaccuracies”.
Mr Hodgson explained: “He was never the obsequious little s*** portrayed in The Crown.
“He was never as wimpish as made out in The Crown at school.
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Discussing the royal’s reaction to the drama, Mr Hodgson said: “I suspect he probably didn’t like The Crown.
“I suspect he was very quiet about it all the way through, and I suspect he will continue to be very quiet about it — because what can he do about it?
“The Royal Family doesn’t ever say, ‘it isn’t true’, it’s very rare they make any comments.”
He added that they would be in danger of turning a small storm into a “huge hurricane” if they were to speak out against the drama publicly.
Mr Hodgson noted that if Charles wanted to mimic the Saudi Arabian monarchy which got an episode of Patriot Act pulled from Netflix after it joked about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he would have to go to court.
But, he continued: “He isn’t a politician, he isn’t head of state, he’s only the future constitutional head of state — he doesn’t have the power to do things.”
Not all viewers have agreed with Mr Hodgson’s take on The Crown.
Josh O’Connor plays Charles in season three and four of the drama, and has been nominated for the best supporting actor BAFTA for his performance.
During an interview with The Guardian, he said that The Crown’s creator advised him to play Prince Charles as Walter White — the chemistry teacher turned corrupt drug lord from the drama series, Breaking Bad.
Mr O’Connor explained: “In season three our job was to make people feel sorry for him, so that in season four, when he turns into this at times monstrous character, we understand how he got there.”
However, he did add that he regretted how “Charles never really had a chance to explain in his own words why his marriage to Diana was a mess” during the drama.
‘Charles — The Man Who Will Be King’ by Howard Hodgson was published by John Blake Publishing in 2007 and is available here.