The Duke of Cambridge has been the President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the BAFTAs, since 2010. He is copying his royal relatives who have been involved with the awards since 1959, when Prince Philip was appointed as its first President. Netflix’s incredibly popular drama series, The Crown, is a fictionalised take on what the Royal Family is like behind the scenes and covers some of the most significant events of the Queen’s reign.
The latest season has divided audiences, especially over its depiction of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ relationship, which some worry could make a serious dent in the heir’s reputation.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden even expressed fears “a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact” after watching the Netflix show.
Despite this difficult backdrop, several of the stars are likely to be nominated for the BAFTAs as the show has secured a range of accolades in the past.
Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana, is expected to win big during next year’s award season.
Yet, attending the BAFTAs next year could mean bumping into William.
Sources close to the second-in-line to the throne have claimed he was furious the streaming platform was using his parents’ marriage as a “simplistic way to make money”.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles as portrayed by Netflix’s The Crown, along with Prince William
Diana is portrayed by Emma Corrin in the hit series, The Crown
Insiders have also alleged Charles feels the show is “trolling on a Hollywood budget”, while the whole Palace fears the heir’s public image may not recover.
However, none of the royals have openly expressed their thoughts on the show.
William himself only made a subtle allusion to it during his opening speech at the awards ceremony back in February.
The Duke of Cambridge playfully noted: “I must admit I don’t know whether I should be proud, or slightly alarmed, about the number of winners over the last decade who have portrayed members of my own family.”
At the time he was referring to Olivia Colman, who played the Queen in season 3 and 4 of The Crown, as well as Queen Anne in The Favourite.
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William and Kate arriving at the BAFTAs in February 2020
Stars of The King’s Speech, which tells the story of William’s great-grandfather King George VI, also won their fair share of accolades back in 2010.
Yet, with the latest season having caused a major stir, it’s not clear how the royal may feel about having to meet The Crown stars.
When asked in an interview if she thought William and Harry would watch her performance as Diana, actress Ms Corrin replied: “I try not to think about whether people watch it because I think that’s a slippery slope… You can’t really control if they do and also if you start thinking about, ‘I wonder what they’ll think’… It’s kind of, yeah, it’s quite stressful.”
Amid the backlash about the accuracy of The Crown, she also emphasised: “We use these real-life people as a jumping off point to tell a story.”
Even so, The Crown has also raised questions for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Some fans are encouraging the pair to drop their lucrative Netflix deal, estimated to be worth £112million, which they signed earlier this year.
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Diana, Charles and baby William during their tour of Australia back in 1983
The Crown’s depiction of Diana and Charles’ tour of Australia
The production deal is expected to be their main source of income now they’ve left the royal frontline.
It means the couple will be able to produce, and possibly present, a series of shows on causes close to their hearts.
For instance, an animated series about inspirational women is already in the works.
But, as relations between the Sussexes and the Royal Family are already strained after Megxit, critics believe it may not have been the wisest move — especially as the senior royals are poised to review the Sussexes’ arrangement in March next year.
Some reports suggested the Duke and Duchess of Sussex requested that Netflix stop The Crown’s production before the chronological series reaches their relationship.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk: “Harry and Meghan will be keen on launching their non-profit foundation Archewell as soon as the pandemic permits.
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“They are now financially independent, as they intended to be and will be involved in planning their deal with Netflix.
“There will be enquiries as to the work they plan to do, especially given the intentionally malign portrait that Netflix’s The Crown has painted out of the Royal Family in fourth season.”
He noted that this could be “problematic” for the pair even though they are not directly involved with the drama.
Another commentator, talkRADIO host Mike Graham, speculated this week that the couple “are in a bit of trouble” over their reaction to The Crown as “Harry has said nothing about the way in which his mother and father have been portrayed in this series”.
Journalist Olivia Utley added: “Netflix is where their next paycheck is coming from.
“Prince Harry is going to find himself in situations like this surely over and over again.
“How could he have just run off to Hollywood and not realised there are going to be huge consequences?”