John Major calls The Crown a ‘barrel-load of nonsense’

Victoria Hervey says The Crown airing 'too soon' after Queen's death

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Amid fears that Netflix’s new series, which documents the life of the Royal Family, could damage the new King’s reputation, the Conservative former prime minister’s spoke out. And his comments are likely to put pressure on the US streaming firm to attach a warning label at the beginning of the show’s fifth series to make clear that parts of the script are fictional.

In a statement, Sir John’s spokesman said: “Sir John has not co-operated – in any way – with The Crown.

“Nor has he ever been approached by them to fact-check any script material in this or any other series.

“Discussions between the monarch and prime minister are entirely private and – for Sir John – will always remain so.”

Scenes featuring imagined conversations between the prime minister and the late sovereign were “fiction, pure and simple”, the spokesman added.

There were similar calls for a “health warning” from Oliver Dowden, culture secretary at the time, when the fourth series of The Crown caused controversy in November 2020.

And Sir John, 79, issued the statement amid growing concern in political circles that, as the series moves closer to the present, it will have the ability to inflict significant damage to the new King and his reputation.

Sir John, who was prime minister from 1990 to 1997, was moved to issue the statement after suggestions were raised that the series, which is due to be released on November 9, imagines conversations between him and the late Queen Elizabeth II.

There have been rumours that one of the plotlines involves the Prince of Wales, as the King then was, summoning Sir John to a meeting and hinting that he wants his support for the Queen’s abdication.

Another is said to imagine conversations about the Queen and Royal family between Sir John and his wife, Dame Norma Major, in which Sir John talks about some of the family members in disparaging terms.

Sir John has never disclosed the nature of any of the discussions he held with the late monarch at their weekly audiences, although part of one audience was captured in a fly-on-the-wall documentary in 1993.

Scenes imagining dialogue between Sir John and the late queen should be “seen as nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction” and “a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum – and entirely false – dramatic impact”.

The spokesman said: “There was never any discussion between Sir John and the then Prince of Wales about any possible abdication of the late Queen Elizabeth II – nor was such an improbable and improper subject ever raised by the then Prince of Wales (or Sir John).”

The spokesman added that Sir John and Dame Norma had never discussed the Royal family in disparaging terms, adding that “has never been their view, never would be their view, and never will be their view”.

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