Netflix Won't Add A Disclaimer To 'The Crown' Deeming It A "Work Of Fiction"

For three seasons, Peter Morgan's drama series The Crown has received praise and accolades for its complex character work and lavish depiction of the British royal family. But then season 4 hit Netflix, introducing the popular Princess Diana (played by newcomer Emma Corrin) to the fray. And it stirred up enough controversy that snowballed into the U.K. government sending a request to Netflix to add a disclaimer deeming The Crown "a work of fiction." Netflix has denied that request.

In a statement to Deadline in response to U.K. culture secretary Oliver Dowden asking the streamer to add a disclaimer deeming the series "a work of fiction" so as to not confuse audiences — who have ostensibly already been watching for three seasons — Netflix rejected the request. The streamer said:

"We have always presented 'The Crown' as a drama — and we have every confidence our members understand it's a work of fiction that's broadly based on historical events. As a result we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer."

Dowden had reportedly sent a letter to Netflix that the streamer had addressed privately, but the culture secretary had brought his concerns to the media in an interview with The Daily Mail, saying, "It's a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that."

He added that "without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact," proposing a "health warning" be added to episodes of The Crown, which he accused of damaging the monarchy, particularly Prince Charles.

Even Earl Spencer, the brother of the late Princess Diana, had warned viewers that The Crown takes some creative license with the depiction of his sister, making a similar suggestion as Dowden (via Today): "It would help The Crown an enormous amount if at the beginning of each episode it stated that, 'This isn't true but is based around some real events.' Because then everyone would understand it's drama for drama's sake."

What is it about season 4 of The Crown that has got the U.K. government all in a huff? The fourth season, which takes place between 1977 and 1990, gives major attention to Diana and her poor treatment by the royal family, including the affair between her husband Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana, who remains a beloved figure in the eyes of the public long after her death in 1997, apparently remains a sore spot for the royal family, so much so that it's stirred even the U.K. government to action after three seasons of The Crown, which until now had given a more sympathetic portrayal of the institution. But Netflix is wisely standing their ground to the (pretty silly) request.