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How Accurate Is The Crown Season 5's Portrayal Of John Major?

Season 5 of Netflix's "The Crown" arrives November 9, but it's already stirred up plenty of controversy prior to its release. Just recently, the streaming service added a disclaimer to the series following an open letter that Dame Judi Dench wrote in which she criticized the series' claims to veracity. Even so, sources close to Buckingham Palace have already begun to denounce the series, reiterating to The Telegraph that "The Crown" is a "drama, not a documentary."

And while "The Crown" Season 5 touches on many potentially sensitive topics, one, in particular, has attracted a swift response from a former Prime Minister. Specifically, it's a scene involving King Charles (formerly Prince Charles) and John Major, who served as Britain's Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997. In fact, in a recent statement, a spokesperson for Major denounced the scene and called it "damaging and malicious fiction." But why did Major react so strongly?

In Season 5, Prince Charles makes the case for himself as King

In one particular scene in "The Crown" Season 5, Prince Charles (Dominic West) meets with Prime Minister John Major to address a Sunday Times poll regarding whether Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) should abdicate. Charles then appears to proffer himself as a replacement and invites Major to an upcoming party to see for himself if the Queen is still fit for duty. "You'll have an opportunity to judge for yourself whether this institution that we all care about so deeply is in safe hands," says Charles.

But in a statement to The Guardian, a spokesperson for Major asserted that Netflix never consulted with the former Prime Minister nor approached him regarding the scene. Indeed, according to the statement, Major had not "co-operated in any way with The Crown." But the statement did not end there — and even took on a pointed tone.

John Major says the scene was entirely fiction

Regarding the actual content of the scene, John Major's spokesperson went even further and told The Guardian, "There was never any discussion between Sir John and the then-Prince of Wales about any possible abdication of the late Queen Elizabeth II—nor was such an improbable and improper subject ever raised by the then Prince of Wales (or Sir John). Neither Sir John nor Dame Norma [John Major's wife] have discussed the Monarchy remotely in these terms. As you will know, discussions between the Monarch and prime minister are entirely private and—for Sir John—will always remain so.... They are fiction, pure and simple."

And if that didn't make the former Prime Minister's feelings about "The Crown" clear, the next part of the statement certainly did. In addition to calling the Emmy-winning drama "damaging and malicious fiction," the statement denounced it as "a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum—and entirely false—dramatic impact."

To see the "malicious fiction" for yourself, you can check out "The Crown" Season 5, which just debuted on Netflix on November 9.