End of an era: “The Crown,” the hit Netflix series about the reign of Elizabeth II, ends with an event that is always extremely sensitive for the British monarchy, the death of Princess Diana.
• Read also: Everything you need to know about the sixth and final season of Netflix’s ‘The Crown’
The sixth and final season of the series created by Peter Morgan, multi-award winning, but often criticized for its adaptations to historical reality, is released in two stages.
Four episodes were released online on Thursday. On December 14, the final six will end the 60 hours of broadcast since 2016 that have followed the late Queen from her marriage to Philip in 1947 until the arrival of Kate Middleton, the current Princess of Wales them, at the beginning of the 2000s.
The sixth season recounts the last weeks of Princess Diana’s life, after her divorce from the current King Charles III, and her death on August 31, 1997, the climax of the third episode.
Pursued by paparazzi, the sedan carrying Lady Di crashed into a pillar in the Alma tunnel in Paris, killing the 36-year-old princess and her new love, wealthy Egyptian heir Dodi Al-Fayed.
Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Diana, recounted the sometimes “incredibly painful and sad” shoot at the premiere: “We had to bear in mind the responsibility to tell this story as honestly as possible. That’s really what she did possible to bear the weight it represented”.
It took years for the royal family to overcome the trauma caused by the disappearance of what Tony Blair dubbed the “people’s princess”.
“It was such an important event in the life of the monarchy and the royal family and people connected to Diana are still alive, including her two grown-up sons William and Harry,” said Ed Owens, a specialist historian of the monarchy.
“This is the key moment for which the series has been preparing since the first season,” he assures AFP. “We always wonder if Peter Morgan is a friend or foe of the monarchy and this season will give us a better idea of what he thinks: is it an institution that has made big mistakes and still needs to be modernized or is it an institution? institution that has been able to modernize itself since 1997? “.
The fourth episode of the final season especially recreates the speech that Elizabeth delivered exceptionally live on television from Buckingham Palace on September 5, 1997 to honor the princess and respond to the immense popular emotion.
“It was an incredibly powerful speech,” said Imelda Staunton, who plays the sovereign in the last two seasons, after Clair Foy and Olivia Colman. “I spent a lot of time listening to the recordings of the actual speech because I needed to be as accurate as possible on this extremely sensitive subject. »
Diana had forged global popularity by showing her empathy for the underprivileged and her memory remains a shadow in the image of the new King Charles III and Queen Camilla, who never managed to completely annihilate her reputation as a marriage breaker.
Therefore, this last season was awaited with nerves by those close to royalty. Initial revelations about Lady Di appearing as a ghost have already sparked accusations of disrespect.
This is far from the first time “The Crown” has come under fire from critics, especially since the series reaches young Netflix audiences who are sometimes discovering certain events for the first time.
Throughout the seasons, the series 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 of having attributed to Charles the desire to see the abdicate his mother in the nineties.
Netflix decided last year to add a disclaimer specifying that it was fiction. The platform has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the series, one of its biggest hits whose total audiences remain secret.
“It’s not often seen like this, but it was probably our biggest bet,” said co-CEO Ted Sarandos. “It’s a real pride. »