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Why The Crown Season 5 Has The Royals Concerned

The Royal Family has a long and largely unfriendly association with the media. While the majority of their ire is usually aimed at the tabloids of the United Kingdom (and similar institutions around the world), this contentious relationship has been known to spillover into the world of television and film production. While the Royal Family has previously been said to be allegedly quite pleased with the portrayal of Queen Elizabeth's first years on the throne in the first few seasons of "The Crown" (as reported by via Sunday Express, though never officially confirmed), later seasons have not produced such high appraisals from the royals. 

Season 4 was the first season of the critically acclaimed series to feature Princess Diana, a famously troubling subject for the living members of the Royal Family. Though the season was lavished with praise from audiences, the Royal Family was said to be unhappy with the portrayal of the Prince and Princess of Wales's troubled marriage, as well as the latter's struggles with bulimia. According to a story by the Daily Mail, Prince William has been particularly displeased by later seasons of the royal drama, going so far as to say that he "feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money."

Prince William's view of the Netflix drama is unlikely to improve anytime soon, given the alleged plans for the upcoming Season 5, in which "Harry Potter" actress Imelda Staunton will take over the role of Queen Elizabeth and "Tenet" actress Elizabeth Debicki will portray Princess Diana.

Princess Diana's Panorama Interview might be featured

According to a claim by the British tabloid the Sun, an entire episode of the 10-episode season of "The Crown" may focus on the Panorama interview that Princess Diana granted journalist Martin Bashir in 1995 (transcript). At the time of its airing, the interview was considered a cultural turning point for the public's view of the Royal Family and Princess Diana. According to the BBC, the interview was watched by more than a third of the British population at the time of its initial airing.

During the interview, Diana divulged intimate details of her failed marriage to Prince Charles, including her admission that she had attempted to harm herself and that she struggled with depression and bulimia. Most remembered from the conversation is Diana's statement that she felt like there were "three people" in her marriage, of course alluding to her husband's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall.

In recent years, the controversial interview has become even more complicated as reports emerged in 2020 that Bashir used forged bank statement to secure the interview (via Sky News). Prince William has since made a statement to the BBC in which noted that the network's failures "contributed significantly to [Diana's] fear, paranoia and isolation." He further noted his opinion that the interview "holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again."

For now, whether or not the series will actually feature the Panorama interview remains to be confirmed.