The Crown's Creator Is Careful About When He Chooses To Bend The Truth

Historical fiction is a tricky genre — there are limits to how it can tell the truth, bend the truth, and still stay within the genre of fiction. Netflix has been churning out more fictitious tales based on real-life personas now more than ever before, picking stories from culturally recognizable times, blending fact into fiction, and depicting real-life events while reimagining them to fill in the blanks. Peter Morgan's royal drama "The Crown" has made the British monarchy relevant to the rest of the world and become a staple of pop culture conversation ever since its premiere in 2016.

The series showcases an unseen side of the royal family and its members, diving deep into the past, and yet, it is littered with factual inaccuracy. Morgan has always maintained that the drama series isn't fictionalized; it is a product of historical research and imagination. And yet, the showrunner has asked viewers not to receive certain scenes as facts. The big-budgeted drama is based on actual events in British royal history; still, the visionary behind the show is careful about bending the truth — certain circumstances are tweaked to fit his vision and narrative for the show. Although Morgan's series might lean on its creative freedom from time to time, it doesn't mean he isn't attentive to the underlying message "The Crown" provides.

Some inaccuracies are unavoidable

"The Crown" unravels decades of British history, portraying the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding to her coronation and her reign until the early 21st century. The drama also focuses on the lives of multiple royal family members — its recent seasons covered the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the upcoming fifth season is set to depict their marital turmoil, among other significant events.

Sometimes, the show takes creative liberties, making changes necessary for narrative compression. During times like these, Peter Morgan heavily relies on the "covenant of trust" he shares with the show's audience, the showrunner told The New York Times.

"They [the audience] understand a lot of it is conjecture. Sometimes there are unavoidable accuracy blips — an event might not have taken place where, or even when, I imagined it did. But I'm absolutely fastidious about there being an underlying truth."

Nothing is set into stone

Morgan's writing process for "The Crown" was documented in the interview, revealing that no script was ever set into stone. The writer consults eye-witnesses and press clippings before a season goes into development. Nevertheless, if a particular event doesn't help the narrative or the theme move forward, it is reimagined or entirely removed from the script. Morgan wants to tell a true story, but he is deeply concerned about how he tells it.

Whether "The Crown" relies on the truth or not, what it has done is generate a deep interest in the lives of Britain's royal family, making them endlessly relevant in today's world. "The Crown" is complicated, the performances are stellar, and the cinematography is astonishing. Morgan is a deeply compelling storyteller, and the show's success proves it.