It has become as much an annual tradition as the that he offered to resign from the Trust, the charity founded by King Charles III to help vulnerable young people, after he was cast in the role. His offer was refused in a letter from Charles’s private secretary. West summarized the letter as saying, “You do what you like, you’re an actor. It’s nothing to do with us.” West added, “I think that’s probably how [Charles] regards it.”
Camilla has sought to make light of the show as well. When giving a speech at an International Women’s Day event at Clarence House in March 2022, at which Emerald Fennell—who played Camilla in Seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown—was present, she joked: “For me, it’s very reassuring to know that if I should fall off my perch at any moment, my fictional alter ego is here to take over… So, Emerald—be prepared!”
A Netflix source defended the new scenes with Diana’s ghost to the Daily Telegraph, saying: “After her death, Diana appears as part of an inner dialogue in separate scenes with Prince Charles and the queen who are both reflecting on their relationship with the late Princess. These sensitive and thoughtful imagined conversations seek to bring to life the depth of emotion that was felt after such a seismic tragedy struck at the heart of the family.”
Of course, ghosts are a story-telling device as old as narrative itself, and Netflix can now convincingly argue that including such scenes make the idea of adding a disclaimer to the opening credits of The Crown completely unnecessary.
And while William may feel disgust and Charles may roll his eyes, the real question will be whether viewers conclude that The Crown, finally, has jumped the shark.