fans of The Crown hold your breath: the series of phenomena dedicated to the reign of Elizabeth II concludes with an event that shook the British monarchy as rarely, the death of Princess Diana.
All ten episodes of the sixth and final season are premiering on Netflix in two stages: five on Thursday, and then the other half on December 14, forcing fans in a hurry to be patient.
During the 60 hours of broadcasting since 2016, the sovereign has been played successively by Claire Foy, Olivia Colman and Imelda Staunton. From the marriage of the young princess in post-war Britain to the family crises of the 1990s, the series, with a large number of stars and a budget estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars, interweaves historical events and intimate scenes , taking sometimes controversial liberties with the truth.
In the years leading up to his death on September 8, 2022, the global success of The Crown it helped establish Elizabeth II as an icon, a sovereign who always managed to keep even the smallest of her opinions private and rarely let her emotions show in public.
The sixth season chronicles the last weeks of Princess Diana’s life, after her turbulent divorce from the current King Charles III, until her death on August 31, 1997. Pursued by the paparazzi, the sedan carrying Lady Di s was embedded in a pillar of The Alma tunnel in Paris, killing the 36-year-old princess and her new love, the wealthy Egyptian heir Dodi Al-Fayed.
The Queen was slow to react to the huge public outcry at the disappearance of what Tony Blair dubbed the “people’s princess” and it took the royal family years to get over the trauma.
“You finally managed to change everything in this house. This is nothing short of a revolution,” the queen tells the princess, played by Elizabeth Debicki, in the trailer.
A friend of celebrities and media figures, Diana had gained popularity around the world by showing her empathy for the most disadvantaged. She remains the object of immense admiration beyond the United Kingdom, and her memory casts a shadow over the image of the new King Charles III as well as his wife, Queen Camilla, who never quite got over her reputation as a wrecker. of marriages
The season is therefore awaited with nerves by those close to royalty; the family has never commented on the series. The first revelations about the appearance of a ghost of Lady Di have already provoked outraged reactions and accusations of disrespect.
In the magazine variety, series creator Peter Morgan has denied having wanted to show her as a “ghost in the traditional sense”: “What we see is that she continues to live in the minds of those she left behind. Diana was unique, (…) she deserved special treatment at the narrative level. »
This is far from the first time The Crown is under fire from critics. Throughout the seasons, she has been accused of having suggested infidelities of the queen and her husband Felipe, of having shown the current king as a fickle husband or even of having attributed to Charles the desire to see him abdicate his mother in the nineties.
The photographer of Ground Arthur Edwards, who has covered the royal family for 40 years, confided in the tabloid that he had to stop watching the series after two seasons, too upset by the inventions that punctuate the story. But aside from the inaccuracies, “what really bothers me is the awful way the show treats Prince Charles, now our king.”
Netflix decided last year to add a disclaimer specifying that it was fiction, without allaying all the criticism.
For royal historian Ed Owens, the series has had a significant influence on the image of the royal family, “especially among young people” who are numerous on Netflix and who have not experienced the events described themselves.
“They take what they see The Crown for the truth”, he believes, interviewed by AFP, stressing that the series has reinforced the positive image of Isabel II’s devotion. On the other hand, according to him, the current king remains unpopular “and this is partly because Charles does not present himself in a very positive way”.
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