It’s an award-winning show that has courted controversy countless times as it follows the fates of the Royal Family since the 1940s.
Now The Crown risks a fresh row after pictures emerged showing a replica of the mangled Mercedes which had carried Princess Diana – on set at Elstree Studios.
Diana and Dodi Fayed died in the early hours of August 31, 1997, after the S-Class they were travelling in crashed at the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.
Images obtained by the Daily Mail show a recreation of the wreckage with the front wheel of a black Mercedes buckled, the bonnet crushed and the dashboard hanging out of the obliterated front windscreen.
The vehicle was said to be transported in secret under tarpaulin to Paris – one of two cars taken there for filming last year.
Now The Crown risks a fresh row after pictures emerged showing a replica of the mangled Mercedes which had carried Princess Diana – on set at Elstree Studios
The Crown actors Elizabeth Debicki and Khalid Abdalla pictured filming Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed’s tragic final day
A scene from the upcoming season of Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ is seen filming in October last year
In October, Netflix crews in the French capital were seen reconstructing Diana’s final journey. Other scenes shot in December depict investigators examining the wreckage.
While Netflix insisted at the time: ‘The exact moment of the crash impact will not be shown,’ a source has told the Mail: ‘I think a lot of people will find it quite sick that they went into such detail to recreate how the car was smashed up. I think it’s going to cause a lot of upset with the Royal Family. If it was any other family I’m not sure they’d do it.’
Mr Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul, 41, died instantly, while Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki, was taken to hospital and later died of her injuries. British bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor.
The sixth series will follow the royals from the late 1990s through to the early 2000s. Netflix has declined to comment.
Netflix faced a fierce backlash over the latest series, which features Elizabeth Debicki as Diana and shows the late princess sitting down for her infamous 1995 Panorama interview with disgraced ex-BBC journalist Martin Bashir.
When they released the trailer for series five, they accompanied by a statement online that acknowledges the drama is a ‘fictional dramatisation’.
But so far it has refused to add a similar statement on TV.
The Mail on Sunday in 2020 launched a campaign demanding the streaming giant make it clear to its millions of viewers that The Crown’s storylines twist the truth and present fact as fiction.
Diana, Princess of Wales, and her companion Dodi Fayed, walk on a pontoon in the French Riviera resort of St Tropez on August 22, 1997. The pair both died days after this photo was taken in a crash in Paris
Netflix faced a fierce backlash over the latest series, which features Elizabeth Debicki as Diana and shows the late princess sitting down for her infamous 1995 Panorama interview with disgraced ex-BBC journalist Martin Bashir
Famous interview: Series five features Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, shows the late princess sitting down for her infamous 1995 Panorama interview with disgraced Martin Bashir
A powerful coalition of politicians, Royal experts and a close friend of Charles backed the campaign, which followed mounting criticism over the distortion of a string of incidents depicted in the programme.
Netflix quietly added a disclaimer to its marketing for the show last year.
Among the critics was Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, who has said he felt uneasy watching his sister’s depiction in the drama.
He previously said he fears viewers will ‘forget it is fiction’.
Mr Spencer’s commentary followed the release of the fourth series of The Crown, which covers the years between Lord Mountbatten’s assassination by the IRA in 1979 and the ousting of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
Much of the series focuses on Charles’s doomed marriage to Diana and supposed tensions in the relationship between the Queen and Mrs Thatcher.
The series wrongly suggests the affair between Charles and Camilla continued throughout his marriage to Diana. In fact, Charles had virtually no contact with Camilla for the first five years of his marriage in 1981.
In a fabricated scene in the first episode, Lord Mountbatten writes to warn Charles he is in danger of bringing ‘ruin and disappointment’ to the family, while the third episode falsely depicts Mrs Thatcher being humiliated by the Royal Family at Balmoral.
A powerful coalition of politicians, Royal experts and a close friend of Prince Charles backed calls for Netflix to broadcast a disclaimer warning viewers of The Crown that many key scenes never happened or are distortions of the truth
The series wrongly suggests the affair between Charles and Camilla continued throughout his marriage to Diana
Similarly, last month Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting Lady Anne Glenconner said that she was ‘mad with fury’ after watching The Crown.
Lady Anne, 90, admitted she couldn’t believe the ‘rather awful’ portrayal of the late princess, having previously invited Helena Bonham Carter round for tea to advise the actress, 56, on the royal’s mannerisms.
The lady-in-waiting revealed she was so cross over the depiction of both Princess Margaret and herself (played by Nancy Carroll), she confronted Helena to express her dismay at series three.
‘I saw Helena Bonham Carter – she came to tea – about acting Princess Margaret: how she spoke and walked. I said I never saw her run,’ she says.
‘After seeing Helena in The Crown, I was very disappointed with the portrayal and told her, “It was rather awful, wasn’t it?” She said she had no choice other than to do what she was told.
Lady Anne added to Oldie Magazine that the production ‘couldn’t afford to film The Crown at Glen’ [her family’s ancestral home].
She says: ‘When they filmed Princess Margaret first meeting Roddy Llewellyn, we were sitting by a pool at what looked like a ghastly country club, they had me pimping for her, with us both in bikinis — Princess Margaret never wore a bikini. So cheap.
‘They really should put a disclaimer at the beginning of The Crown, saying it isn’t true.’
Lady Anne adds she thought The Crown ‘began well’, and called the scene of the Duke of Windsor watching the coronation in France as ‘excellent’.
Timothee Sambo (pictured left) portrays an uneasy-looking Prince William as he stands in front of the world’s media in the Netflix trailer for series five of The Crown. He pastes on a smile before looking overwhelmed by the occasion
Prince Philip, William, Earl Spencer, Harry and Charles are pictured during Princess Diana’s funeral procession in September 1997
Irked: The lady-in-waiting revealed she was so cross over the depiction of herself ‘pimping’ Princess Margaret that she confronted Helena
Unimpressed: She says ‘we were sitting by a pool at what looked like a ghastly country club, they had me pimping for her, with us both in bikinis — Princess Margaret never wore a bikini’
Friends of King Charles also made a call to boycott the show last autumn, alleging it was fabricating a ‘hurtful’ smear against the monarch.
In October, the show was criticised over a scene that depicted Charles secretly plotting to oust the Queen when he was Prince of Wales.
Charles was shown lobbying Prime Minister John Major in a bizarre attempt to force his mother’s abdication.
But Sir John told The Mail on Sunday the meeting never happened and called the scene a ‘barrel load of malicious nonsense’.
Another well-placed source said: ‘All the dialogue is completely made up.
‘All the one-to-one conversations you see on screen are utter fiction and some scenes have been entirely created for dramatic and commercial purposes with little regard for the truth. People should be boycotting it.’
The Crown’s writers suggested that Charles believed his mother, then 65, was repeating Queen Victoria’s mistakes by refusing to stand aside for a younger heir.
But critics point out that Charles was in reality acutely aware that abdication was unthinkable and would devalue the institution.
Other sources said the Queen’s death just weeks before the episode’s release made it even more ‘particularly hurtful.’
Last autumn, the show was criticised over a scene that showed then-Prince Charles lobbying Prime Minister John Major in a bizarre attempt to force his mother’s abdication. Pictured: Charles and Sir John together in 1994
In the episode, Charles is seen telling the Prime Minister that if he joins the Queen at an upcoming ball at Balmoral he will be able to judge for himself ‘whether this institution that we all care about so deeply is in safe hands’ (Pictured Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh)
In the episode, entitled Queen Victoria Syndrome, he is shown cutting short a holiday with Princess Diana and William and Harry to race back to London
Summoning Mr Major, played by Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller, to a private meeting, he asks him to keep their discussions secret in the episode
Around the same time, three Dames of the British Empire who starred in programme reiterated it must add an onscreen disclaimer making clear the royal drama’s explosive storylines are fiction rather than historical fact.
The call by Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Harriet Walter and Dame Janet Suzman, who were made DBEs for their service to drama, comes after a string of public figures have already called on the US streaming giant to act.
Actress Dame Judi Dench accused the show of being ‘cruelly unjust’ and backed calls for a disclaimer.
Dame Judi, 88, who has played Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, said the series risked damaging the monarchy. The Oscar-winning actress blamed the show for ‘crude sensationalism’ and blurring fact and fiction.
In a letter to The Times newspaper, she called on Netflix to display a disclaimer at the start of each episode to say it is ‘fictionalised drama’.
She said it should also show respect for the bereavement suffered by the Royal Family and the nation.
Actor Ed McVey, as Prince William and actress Meg Bellamy who plays Kate Middleton are seen during filming for the next season of The Crown at St Andrews on Friday
Actor Ed McVey, as Prince William is seen during filming for the next season of The Crown at St Andrews on Friday
Dame Eileen Atkins, meanwhile, who played Queen Mary in the first series, said: ‘My friends in America tell me that many people there think it’s a documentary.
‘Mostly if you are talking about real people, you say this is fiction based on fact. I don’t know why this hasn’t happened with this.’
Dame Eileen, who played Queen Mary in the first series, said: ‘My friends in America tell me that many people there think it’s a documentary. Mostly if you are talking about real people, you say this is fiction based on fact. I don’t know why this hasn’t happened with this.’
Dame Harriet, who played Sir Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine, added: ‘People have believed Shakespeare’s version of Richard III for centuries, but no one is alive to object on his behalf. By contrast, there are many people alive now who could be hurt if they thought the public might believe this.’
The Crown has been a huge hit for Netflix. Each episode now costs around approximately £11.5million to make.