The Crown Returns To The Netflix Top 10 Following Queen Elizabeth's Death

Over the past few days, viewership for Netflix's hit prestige drama "The Crown" has skyrocketed so dramatically that the series has snagged a place in the streamer's weekly Top 10 list. Season 1 of "The Crown" is topping the global chart in 26 countries with 17.57 million hours viewed for the week of September 5-11. That's enough hours to land it in seventh place, just above the fourth season of "Stranger Things," which is in its 16th week of trending.

Naturally, there are plenty of reasons to reimmerse yourself in the royal drama: like refreshing your memory ahead of the upcoming fifth season or continuing the Matt Smith hype train that's been reignited by "House of the Dragon." Or maybe folks are rewatching "The Crown" just for the hell of it — after all, it's one of Netflix's glossiest and best-written shows. But given the timing of this sudden surge, it's safe to assume that the renewed interest is a direct result of Queen Elizabeth II's recent death.

As you've undoubtedly heard, the Queen passed away on Thursday, September 8, marking the end of her 70-year reign as the Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. The early years of her reign happen to be the subject of the Netflix drama which seeks to document the ups and downs of the royal family since her uncle abdicated the throne, leading to Queen Elizabeth's coronation and seven decades as a monarch. To that end, showrunner and series creator Peter Morgan recently called the series a "love letter" to Queen Elizabeth but anyone already familiar with the show knows that it isn't nearly as royalist as that makes it sound.

How did Queen Elizabeth feel about The Crown?

For four seasons, "The Crown" has traced the story of Queen Elizabeth's initial rise to power and eventual reign — controversies, scandals, and political turning points included. Along the way, the series takes a critical eye to the structures of the monarchy and how the people within its system operate, contribute and benefit from the traditions. Naturally, this has led to some mixed reviews directly from the royal family, especially as the show grows more popular by the season. The Queen herself never publicly commented but following the initial release, a source close to the family said, "Happily, she really liked it, although obviously, there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatized."

Later, a senior courtier told that scenes about Prince Charles's time at school — and especially Prince Philip's insensitivity toward him — didn't sit well with the monarch.

"The Queen realizes that many who watch 'The Crown' take it as an accurate portrayal of the royal family and she cannot change that. But I can convey that she was upset by the way Prince Philip is depicted as being a father insensitive to his son's well-being.

Other family members have also weighed in over the years: with Prince William frequently expressing displeasure at the portrayal of his parents while Prince Harry once told Oprah Winfrey:

"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."

Is now a good time to revisit The Crown?

Overall, the series was more positively received by the royal family in its early seasons but became more complicated as the series moved into the controversial space of Princess Diana and her treatment by the media and royal family. Yes, in a shocking twist of events, the royals really enjoy when "The Crown" makes them look sympathetic but hate when they are portrayed in a negative light. Who would've thought?  Their opinion on the matter hardly matters at the moment though — in the wake of Queen Elizabeth's passing, people are seeking out the series as a refresher on the monarch's legacy. 

Obviously, as a dramatization of true events, shows like "The Crown" shouldn't be taken as fact, but the series still presents ideas about the monarchy — its pomp, pageantry, and actual power— that are well worth pondering. The show's fifth season is set to debut in November with a new cast that includes Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Dominic West as Prince Charles and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana. Morgan indicated that the sixth and (presumably) final season will pause production out of respect for Queen Elizabeth's passing.