End of an era: “The Crown”, the hit Netflix series on the reign of Elizabeth II, concludes with an event always extremely sensitive for the British monarchy, the death of Princess Diana.
The sixth and final season of the series created by Peter Morgan, multi-award winning but often criticized for its accommodations with historical reality, is being released in two stages.
Four episodes were posted online on Thursday. On December 14, the last six will bring to an end the 60 hours broadcast since 2016 which will have followed the late queen from her marriage to Philip in 1947 until the arrival of Kate Middleton, the current Princess of Wales, at the start from the 2000s.
The sixth season relates 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. Chased 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, the wealthy Egyptian heir Dodi Al-Fayed.
Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Diana, recounted during the premiere a shoot that was sometimes “incredibly painful and sad”: “We had to keep in mind the responsibility of telling this story as honestly as possible. That’s really what made it possible to bear the weight that it represented.
The royal family took years to overcome the trauma caused by the disappearance of the one whom Tony Blair nicknamed the “people’s princess”.
“It was such an important event in the life of the monarchy and the royal family and people linked to Diana are still alive, including her two now adult sons William and Harry,” notes Ed Owens, historian specializing in 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 an enemy 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 modernize or is this an institution that has managed to modernize since 1997?”
– “Extremely sensitive” –
The fourth episode of the last season recreates in particular the speech that Elizabeth exceptionally gave live on television from Buckingham Palace on September 5, 1997 to pay tribute to 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 recordings of the actual speech, because I needed to be as accurate as possible on this extremely sensitive topic.”
Diana had forged global popularity by displaying her empathy with the most deprived and her memory remains a shadow on the image of the new King Charles III and Queen Camilla, who never managed to completely annihilate her reputation as a breaker of marriage.
This final season was therefore nervously awaited by those close to royalty. Initial revelations about Lady Di appearing as a ghost have already triggered accusations of disrespect.
This is far from the first time that “The Crown” has come under fire from critics, especially since the series reaches Netflix’s young audience who sometimes discover certain events for the first time.
Over the seasons, the series has been accused of having suggested infidelities of the queen and her husband Philip, of having shown the current king as a fickle husband or of having attributed to Charles the desire to see his mother abdicate in the 1990s.
Netflix decided last year to add a warning specifying that it was fiction. The platform has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the series, one of its biggest successes whose total audiences remain a secret.
“It’s not often seen like this but it was probably our most important bet,” assured co-CEO Ted Sarandos. “It’s a real source of pride.”
published on November 16 at 10:36 a.m., AFP
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