Netflix in fresh The Crown row as close friend of Princess Diana hits out at series


A close friend of Princess Diana has slammed Netflix as ‘sadistic and wicked’ over its depiction of her final hours in the latest series of The Crown.

Simone Simmons was highly critical of the show’s decision to recreate the moments before Diana’s untimely death in a Paris car crash in 1997. 

The streaming giant’s fifth season of the programme, which airs on November 9, features haunting scenes showing the former Princess of Wales enter a limousine shortly before the fateful accident. Netflix insists it will not recreate the crash.

Ms Simmons told The Sun: ‘These are cruel, sadistic and wicked people to recreate these moments. They are the lowest of the low.

‘They are rewriting history as they go along and that’s what makes me very angry.’

Elizabeth Debicki wears sunglasses and looks the image of Diana as she sits in the back of a car with Khalid Abdalla, 40, who plays Dodi Fayed, who the princess was travelling with when the car crashed in Paris

Ms Debicki wore a seatbelt in the back of the car as she filmed - which may be a sign the crew were not filming the exact car journey taken by the princess and Dodi in their final moments. It has been found neither wore seatbelts in the 1997 crash

Ms Debicki wore a seatbelt in the back of the car as she filmed – which may be a sign the crew were not filming the exact car journey taken by the princess and Dodi in their final moments. It has been found neither wore seatbelts in the 1997 crash

Trailer shows Ms Debicki as Diana screeching to a halt in car chase scene in the fifth series, to be released on November 9

The outfit is strikingly reminiscent of one worn by the Princess of Wales on ski trip to Lech, Austria in 1994, when she took William and Harry to the exclusive resort in the Alps

Trailer shows Ms Debicki as Diana screeching to a halt in car chase scene in a red puffer jacket – reminiscent of one the princess wore skiing in Austria in 1994, right

'I never stood a chance': The new trailer shows Diana in a skin-baring swimsuit as she floats in the water

‘I never stood a chance’: The new trailer shows Diana in a skin-baring swimsuit as she floats in the water

Ms Simmons went on to slam the flagship show as ‘disgusting and sick’ and questioned if they were ‘setting out’ to hurt the feelings of Princes William and Harry. 

‘It’s forcing them to relive the pain, agony, and psychological torment they suffered when their mother died,’ she said.

It is anticipated the Prince of Wales may be angered at scenes recreating his mother’s infamous 1995 interview with Martin Bashir, which was last year deemed to have been obtained unlawfully after Bashir falsified invoices to gain the princess’s trust.

William, 40, later issued a public statement saying the interview had been a ‘major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse’ and said it should never be aired again.

In a recent letter to The Times, actress Dame Judi Dench described the upcoming series of The Crown as ‘crude sensationalism’ and ‘cruelly unjust’ to the Royal Family and suggested it should feature a disclaimer at the start of each episode.

She wrote: ‘No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged.

‘The programme makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode. The time has come for Netflix to reconsider – for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve their own reputation in the eyes of their British subscribers.’

The Crown has been a huge hit for Netflix and it now spends around £11.5million per episode.

Two years ago, the then-culture secretary Oliver Dowden asked the streaming giant for a ‘health warning’ on episodes so viewers would know scenes were fictionalised, but Netflix refused. It defended the show this week as ‘fictional dramatisation’.

In the fifth series, Barcelona was used for filming as a stand-in for Paris, where Diana died with her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed. 

Actors Elizabeth Debicki, who plays the princess, and Khalid Abdalla, who plays Al-Fayed, were spotted filming scenes in Francesc Macia Square in the centre of the Spanish city.

It comes as one of the late Queen’s closest friends claimed that the latest season of The Crown, ‘would have destroyed her’ because of how ‘vicious’ the dramatised plotlines are. 

The unnamed source told The Sunday Times she’s ‘horrified’ by the vicious untruths set to be presented as fact when the season airs on November 9. 

The latest season of The Crown 'would have destroyed the Queen' because of how 'vicious' the dramatised plotlines are, one of her close friends has revealed. Pictured: Imelda Staunton plays Elizabeth II in the fifth series

The latest season of The Crown ‘would have destroyed the Queen’ because of how ‘vicious’ the dramatised plotlines are, one of her close friends has revealed. Pictured: Imelda Staunton plays Elizabeth II in the fifth series

‘I’m horrified by what is going on with Netflix and how they are vilifying the Royal Family. It is vicious. It’s as if they’re trying to destroy the Royal Family,’ the source said.

‘It would have destroyed her.’ 

She has joined calls for Netflix to include a disclaimer stating the show is fiction ahead of every episode.

This season will cover events from 1990 to 1997 – a famously tumultuous period of royal history.

A spokesman for Netflix said the show has always been a fictional dramatisation of the Royal Family’s inner workings.

‘Series five is… imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.’

Among the most controversial scenes are reenactments of Diana's funeral and the fire which tore through Windsor Castle in 1992. Pictured: Ms Debicki as the Princess of Wales

Among the most controversial scenes are reenactments of Diana’s funeral and the fire which tore through Windsor Castle in 1992. Pictured: Ms Debicki as the Princess of Wales

The family pictured at Diana's 1997 funeral. Netflix's scene depicting a grief-stricken William and Harry – then aged 15 and 12 – was filmed in secrecy at a disused RAF base and is due to be broadcast in series six next year

The family pictured at Diana’s 1997 funeral. Netflix’s scene depicting a grief-stricken William and Harry – then aged 15 and 12 – was filmed in secrecy at a disused RAF base and is due to be broadcast in series six next year

A teaser trailer from the new season revealed the show will chronicle the early days of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla’s relationship.

The series will showcase the couple – played by Dominic West and Olivia Williams – sharing intimate moments while they were married to other people.

One impending storyline which has the potential to cause the most angst for the royal family is the dramatisation of Diana’s death and funeral.

Amid mounting outrage over the show’s disregard for historical truth, the macabre scenes are set to depict a grief-stricken William and Prince Harry – then aged 15 and 12.

To the further horror of Diana’s family and friends, The Crown’s production team will be in Paris next week to recreate her final hours, The Mail on Sunday revealed.

They will portray her time spent in the French capital with her boyfriend Al-Fayed. While it is understood that the crash that killed them won’t be recreated but scenes of them leaving the Ritz hotel together will be. 

Imelda Staunton and Jonathon Pryce, who play the Queen and Prince Philip in the new series of The Crown, received honours from Prince William and Elizabeth II

Imelda Staunton and Jonathon Pryce, who play the Queen and Prince Philip in the new series of The Crown, received honours from Prince William and Elizabeth II

Last night those close to the Royal Family lambasted the Netflix series as ‘crude, cruel and totally insensitive, particularly in light of the Queen’s recent death’.

An unnamed close friend of the late Queen has told The Sunday Times she's 'horrified' by the vicious untruths set to be presented as fact when the season airs on November 9

An unnamed close friend of the late Queen has told The Sunday Times she’s ‘horrified’ by the vicious untruths set to be presented as fact when the season airs on November 9

William Shawcross, the Queen Mother’s official biographer, said: ‘Nothing is sacred to [the writer of The Crown] Peter Morgan. He has made his republican sentiments and his contempt for our late Queen very clear.

‘This is a vile series which lies to the public and has been incredibly hurtful to the Royal Family from the Queen and our new King down. Unlike any other family, they cannot sue.’

It is most unlikely that Morgan and his colleagues on The Crown will have failed to understand the sensitivities around recreating the day William and Harry had to say goodbye to their beloved mother, who died aged 36.

Both princes have spoken publicly of their anguish at having to follow the coffin for its final mile along the Mall, through Horse Guards Parade, along Whitehall to Parliament Square and on to Westminster Abbey.

The Duke of Sussex has been notably outspoken, telling biographer Angela Levin: ‘My mother had just died and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television.

‘I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today. No child should lose their mother at such a young age and then have his grief observed by thousands of people.’

Another storyline with show King Charles's relationship with the Queen Consort. The couple are played by Dominic West and Olivia Williams

Another storyline with show King Charles’s relationship with the Queen Consort. The couple are played by Dominic West and Olivia Williams

Three Dames who starred in The Crown join calls for Netflix to add an onscreen disclaimer making clear the royal drama’s storylines are fiction 

By Chris Hastings for The Mail On Sunday 

Three Dames of the British Empire who starred in The Crown have said Netflix must add an onscreen disclaimer making clear the royal drama’s explosive storylines are fiction rather than historical fact.

The call by Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Harriet Walter and Dame Janet Suzman, who were made DBEs for their service to drama, comes after a string of public figures have already called on the US streaming giant to act.

Last week in this newspaper, Sir John Major condemned The Crown as a ‘barrel load of malicious nonsense’. And just days ago, Dame Judi Dench branded it ‘crude sensationalism’ and urged Netflix to add a disclaimer.

Last night, Dame Eileen, who played Queen Mary in the first series, said: ‘My friends in America tell me that many people there think it’s a documentary. Mostly if you are talking about real people, you say this is fiction based on fact. I don’t know why this hasn’t happened with this.’

Dame Harriet, who played Sir Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine, said: ‘People have believed Shakespeare’s version of Richard III for centuries, but no one is alive to object on his behalf. By contrast, there are many people alive now who could be hurt if they thought the public might believe this.’

This newspaper has led the campaign for Netflix to recognise its obligation to act.

Dame Janet, who played a literary agent in series four, said: ‘This is clearly fiction and people must know it.’

Jemima Khan, who worked on the show until severing ties with it last year over its depiction of her friend Princess Diana, said: ‘There should be a disclaimer in all episodes.’

Last week Netflix released a new trailer, accompanied by a statement online that acknowledges the drama is a ‘fictional dramatisation’.

But so far it has refused to add a similar statement on TV.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk