What does the British royal family think of Netflix’s The Crown? Harry and Meghan, Princess Diana’s brother Charles and even Queen Consort Camilla have all commented – but some are happier than others

Fiction vs reality – how do the cast of Netflix’s The Crown match up to their real life royal counterparts? Photos: Handouts, Netflix
Royal watchers and TV buffs alike are abuzz with the news: Netflix’s hit series The Crown is back for season five, releasing today, November 9!
For those not in the know, the show is a fictionalised chronicle of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and royal family scandals. Many have wondered what the British royal family members themselves think of the series … and, since its launch, some of them have actually spoken up about it. Princess Anne, Princess Eugenie and Meghan Markle have said they’ve watched some episodes. In fact, Camilla, the Queen Consort, also referenced the show when meeting two of its stars.
From left, Elizabeth Debicki, Will Powell, Senan West and Dominic West as Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles in season five of The Crown. Photo: Netflix/TNS

Here’s what each of them have said …

1. Princess Eugenie

Princess Eugenie of York, pictured here with the late Queen Elizabeth, has said of The Crown that “the story is beautiful”. Photo: Indigo/Getty Images

Princess Eugenie told Hello! magazine in 2017 that she watched “a couple of episodes” of The Crown and thought it was “filmed beautifully”.

“The music is wonderful, the story is beautiful,” she said. “You feel very proud to watch it. I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s how I felt when I watched it.”

Eugenie also named Kate Beckinsale as the actress she’d like to see portray her on the show.

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2. Sarah Ferguson

Princess Eugenie’s mum Sarah Ferguson was keen to get her portrayal right in The Crown, and offered to be a consultant. Photo: @princesseugenie/Instagram

Eugenie’s mother Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York said she enjoyed seeing her wedding featured on the show, and even offered her services as a consultant. She told Town and Country magazine in 2021 that she wrote to Andy Harries, one of the show’s executive producers. “I said to him, ‘Why can’t I help my character?’” Ferguson said.

Her offer was declined, but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying The Crown. “I thought it was filmed beautifully,” she told Us Weekly in 2021. “The cinematography was excellent. I loved the way they put my wedding in as well.”

3. Princess Anne

Princess Anne was reportedly baffled by the length of time it took the hair and make-up team on The Crown to recreate her hairstyle on Erin Doherty. Photo: AP

In an ITV documentary, Princess Anne said she watched some earlier episodes, calling them “quite interesting”.

The Crown actress Erin Doherty, who plays Princess Anne in seasons three and four, told Town and Country in 2019 that her character’s voluminous hairstyles took two hours to create.

In the 2020 ITV documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, Anne said that she couldn’t believe it took that long. “Actually I read an article the other day about the – I don’t watch Netflix and The Crown – but the actress was talking about how long it took them to do their hair like I did,” she said. “And I’m thinking, ‘How could you possibly take that long?’ I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”

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4. Charles Spencer

Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer has said previously he doesn’t watch The Crown, and declined to allow producers to film on his estate. Photo: Getty Images

Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer said that he refused to let The Crown film at his family’s Althorp House estate.

Princess Diana grew up at Althorp House, an estate in Northamptonshire, England. She is also buried there.

“They applied. They wanted to shoot here. But I don’t really do that stuff,” Spencer said on BBC Breakfast in 2021. “Actually, to be honest, I don’t watch The Crown so I just said: ‘Thank you, but no thank you,’” he added.

Prince William, Earl Spencer and Prince Harry walk together at the funeral procession for Princess Diana in 1997. Photo: AP

Spencer also expressed concerns about the show in an appearance on the ITV show Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh.

“The worry for me is that people see a programme like that and they forget that it is fiction,” Spencer said, per Hello! magazine. “They assume, especially foreigners. I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.”

5-6. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

During their interview, James Corden and Prince Harry rode around Southern California on an open top bus. Photo: The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube

Prince Harry told James Corden that he’s “way more comfortable with The Crown” than tabloid stories that “pretend to be news”.

“It’s fictional … But it’s loosely based on the truth,” Harry said in a 2021 appearance on The Late Late Show With James Corden. “It gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that. I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife, or myself.”

Harry also told Corden that he’d want Damian Lewis to play him on the show.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, during which Markle admitted she’d also seen The Crown. Photo: Harpo Productions/PA Media
When asked about The Crown in her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle said she and Harry had seen “some of” the show.

7-8. Zara and Mike Tindall

Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, joked that Charlize Theron could play her in The Crown because they look similar. Photo: @zara_tindall/Instagram
Zara Tindall, the queen’s granddaughter, discussed the show’s casting on her husband Mike Tindall’s podcast, House of Rugby, in 2019.
While discussing who would play Zara in The Crown, Mike named Charlize Theron, House of Rugby co-host Alex Payne said Margot Robbie, and Zara suggested Jessica Biel.

“Obviously, I look very similar to all of them!” Zara joked.

Zara Tindall’s husband Mike Tindall told a podcast that he had watched several seasons of The Crown. Photo: AP

In 2020, Mike said he got halfway through season three and needed to catch up. “I actually saw the advert for it and I was like, ‘Ooh, I need to catch up,’” Mike said on a 2020 episode of the podcast The Good, The Bad, and The Rugby. “Because I only got about halfway through season three, so I started watching season three last night and then I’ll catch up.”

He continued: “I’m quite intrigued to see where they go with it because obviously it’s an era people are fascinated with. It’s getting to more things that people know about, isn’t it, and have opinions about – so that’s where it gets difficult. But remember everyone, it is a drama, so it’s going to be made into a bit of a drama.”

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9. Queen Consort Camilla

Camilla, then Duchess of Cornwall, met actress Emerald Fennell who portrayed her in The Crown during a reception for International Women’s Day. Photo: AFP
Camilla, the Queen Consort, referenced The Crown when meeting stars of the show.

At a reception for International Women’s Day at Clarence House in March, Camilla acknowledged attendee Emerald Fennell, who played her in the show’s third and fourth seasons.

“For me, it’s very reassuring to know that if I should fall off my perch at any moment, my fictional alter ego is here to take over,” Camilla said in her remarks at the event. “So, Emerald – be prepared!”

In an interview with Radio Times magazine in October, Dominic West, who plays Prince Charles in the show, also said that Camilla jokingly greeted him as “Your Majesty” at an event in 2021 after his casting was announced.

This article originally appeared on Insider.
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  • Prince Harry told James Corden that the TV show gave people ‘a rough idea’ what it’s like to be a royal, while Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Tindall joked about Margot Robbie playing her
  • Sarah Ferguson tried to be a consultant on The Crown while Princess Anne said she was baffled by the two-hour effort that went into Erin Doherty’s hair