The Crown Season 5 Consultant And Friend Of Princess Diana's Has Left The Series Due To Concerns Over Portrayal

"The Crown" is no stranger to controversy. Usually the Emmy-winning drama saves the scandals for its storylines, but every now and then, the show itself becomes a topic of intriguing conversation. Now, from the show that brought us onscreen marriage scandals and offscreen wage gap controversy, comes a startling new development: British television producer and close friend of Princess Diana, Jemima Khan has pulled her support and contributions from the upcoming fifth season of "The Crown."

In an interview with the UK's Sunday Times (via IndieWire), Khan discussed her role as a consultant on the upcoming season. After introducing the Princess of Wales in season 4, "The Crown" spent the season focusing on the early years of her marriage to Prince Charles. The fifth season will recount the years leading up to Diana's 1997 death, and brought Khan onboard to help craft that chapter of the story. According to Khan, series creator Peter Morgan asked her to co-write on the upcoming season and she signed on because, "It was really important to me that the final years of my friend's life be portrayed accurately and with compassion, as has not always happened in the past."

Khan specified that she worked on the outline and scripts from September 2020 through February 2021. So where did things go wrong? Well, in her interview with the Sunday Times, Khan expressed her disappointment that "The Crown" would not portray Diana's final years "as respectfully or compassionately" as she hoped. Here's what she had to say:

"When our co-writing agreement was not honoured, and when I realised that particular storyline would not necessarily be told as respectfully or compassionately as I had hoped, I requested that all my contributions be removed from the series and I declined a credit."

In the upcoming fifth season of "The Crown," the story is expected to cover her romances with British-Pakistani surgeon Hasnat Khan (a distant cousin of Jemima's ex-husband, Imran Khan) and Egyptian film producer Dodi Al-Fayed. The season will also include the ex-royal's controversial interview with Martin Bashir. In season 5, the role of Diana has been passed from Emma Corrin to Elizabeth Debecki. This is in accordance with the show's approach to aging up the characters, which sees them recast every two seasons.

How Accurate is The Crown?

In response to Khan's interview, Netflix has already released a statement about her departure, with no comment on the nature of season 5's approach to Diana's life. Instead, they merely counter that Khan never served as a co-writer:

"Jemima Khan has been a friend, fan, and a vocal public supporter of 'The Crown' since Season 1. She has been part of a wide network of well-informed and varied sources who have provided extensive background information to our writers and research team — providing context for the drama that is 'The Crown.' She has never been contracted as a writer on the series."

Accuracy on "The Crown" is murky by nature: the show never purports to be a historically accurate retelling and clearly values the ability to run wild with creative license. Still, this is hardly the first time its truthfulness has been the subject of heated debate. Supporters of the Royal family, and even some members of the British monarchy have voiced their complaints in the past. That's never changed the fact that the show dramatizes personal moments in the public family's life, however rooted in history the scenarios may be.

British historian and historical consultant for "The Crown," Robert Lacey has rationalized the show's approach to truth by saying:

"There are two sorts of truth. There's historical truth and then there's the larger truth about the past. Peter is very, very insistent, and so am I, that this is not a history documentary. We're not pretending this is a chronological record of those years. There are lots of documentaries that do that sort of thing. This is a drama, which picks out particular objects."

Season 5 of The Crown is expected to premiere in November 2022.