The Crown left courtiers ‘upset’ with portrayal of Queen Mother

The Crown: Commentators on Queen Mother character

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Netflix drama series The Crown has faced criticism for the “dour and humourless” portrayal of the Queen Mother across some of its most recent episodes. Royal historian and author Gareth Russell discussed the series alongside other royal commentators on the latest episode of The Royal Beat, available on True Royalty TV. He claimed some individuals who shared a personal relationship with the Queen Mother had been left “horrified” by the television depiction of the much-loved royal figure.

Mr Russell, who penned the biography, Do Let’s Have Another Drink: The Singular Wit and Double Measures of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, suggested all of the great “anecdotes” used by the Queen Mother had been excluded from The Crown.

He said: “The Crown presented the Queen Mother as so unrelentingly dour and humourless.”

Mr Russell added: “Some of the people I spoke to, they were quite upset, particularly the Marion Bailey portrayal in season three and four.

“I think a lot of people who had known the Queen Mother were fairly horrified by how she was presented.”

Asked how friends of the Queen Mother viewed her portrayal across the series, the royal author suggested people had steadily grown more frustrated with her presentation as the series progressed.

Mr Russell said: “Maybe this is a wider conversation about The Crown, but season one they didn’t think was too far off the mark, season two they were starting to worry, season three they were worried, season four they were horrified. 

“That was sort of the progression. One of them said, ‘By season four, anything The Queen Mother does on screen you can assume the real one did the opposite’.”

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The Queen Mother was played by Victoria Hamilton in the first two series of The Crown. In series three and four, the character of the Queen Mother appeared less throughout the episodes as Marion Bailey stepped into the role.

Marcia Warren will take over the role in season five, which is set to be released on November 9 this year. The fifth season will mark the first to be released after the deaths of both Prince Philip in April 2021 and Queen Elizabeth II in September.

In an apparent effort to emphasise the series as a work of fiction, Netflix has added a disclaimer to the description of The Crown.

A trailer for the upcoming series was uploaded with the caption: “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatisation tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.”

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The new series is set to cover some sensitive events in the modern history of the Royal Family and has been suggested to include a recreation of the groundbreaking BBC interview given by Princess Diana in 1995.

The decision has reportedly angered members of the Royal Family as a royal source told The Telegraph that Prince William has made his feelings about the inclusion of the infamous Princess Diana interview in the Netflix series “very clear”.

The Prince of Wales has previously stated: “It is my firm view that this Panorama programme holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again.

“It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialised by the BBC and others.”

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