‘The Crown‘ Creator Opens Up About Writing 'Difficult And Painful' Charles and Diana Scenes

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Photo credit: Des Willie - Netflix
Photo credit: Des Willie - Netflix

The third season of The Crown introduced us to a new Queen in the form of Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham-Carter embodied Princess Margaret and Tobias Menzies was the Duke of Edinburgh.

Josh O'Connor and Erin Doherty, as Prince Charles and Princess Anne respectively, were also lauded for their performances and soon enough we were gleefully anticipating the fourth instalment from creator Peter Morgan.

Well now, there is a trailer, a confirmed release date (yes!) and official photos...

Here's everything we know about The Crown, season four.

Photo credit: Sophie Mutevelian - Netflix
Photo credit: Sophie Mutevelian - Netflix

How have The Crown season 4's stars reacted to controversy?

As with plenty of great TV (particularly that which follows real events), The Crown's fourth season was met with some controversy.

Following his win for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series at the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, The Crown creator and writer Peter Morgan responded to questioning about what it was like writing those scenes between Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

In the press room, journalist Heather Brooker asked: 'This season really sparked an even more renewed interest in Prince Charles and Princess Diana and their story. Did you have any trepidation when you were writing their scenes and what is it do you think about their story that we are so fascinated with all these years later?'

Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gareth Cattermole - Getty Images

Morgan replied: 'To answer the first part of your question, we take it very seriously. We've now moved into an era with the show where people are alive, where memories are relatively fresh, and where when you're writing difficult and painful scenes between people at an unhappy time in their life, when it's based on real people, obviously that's something that you have to think long and hard about and take very seriously.

'I feel, I'm satisfied that we behaved responsibly. We just happened to have been writing a very difficult and painful time. All marriage breakups are difficult, I don't think it's something you can do without spilling blood. And those scenes were hard to write and hard to watch.'

The hit drama's less-than-flattering depictions of 'the firm's' treatment of a young Princess Diana and disabled cousins Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, and the subsequent outcry, lead the UK's Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, to suggest the show carry a 'health warning'.

'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,' Dowden told the Daily Mail. 'Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.'

Multiple stars from the hit show have rebuffed Dowden's suggestion.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Josh O'Connor, who plays Prince Charles, told The Envelope: The Podcast (via The Los Angeles Times) that the 'audiences understand,' The Crown is fiction: 'You have to show them the respect and understand that they’re intelligent enough to see it for what it is, which is pure fiction.'

'We were slightly let down by our culture secretary, whose job it is to encourage culture,' O'Connor continued, in reference to the Culture Secretary's comment, 'In my opinion, it’s pretty outrageous that he came out and said what he said. Particularly in this time when he knows that the arts are struggling and they’re on their knees, I think it’s a bit of a low blow.'

Helena Bonham Carter, who plays season three and four's Princess Margaret, affirmed, 'It is dramatised,' on an episode of The Crown: The Official Podcast, 'I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, "Hang on, guys, this is not… it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama." So they are two different entities.'

What happened in The Crown season 3?

To avoid any major spoilers for those still making their way through the season, we'll just give a brief run down of the historical events which were covered in this series. It picked up in the second half of the twentieth century covering events like the tragic Aberfan disaster of 1966, Lyndon Johnson's presidency and the moon landings of 1969.

Royal family wise, we see the Queen continue to adapt to her role as governments and public perceptions of the monarchy change, Charles heads into adulthood and meets Camilla Parker Bowles and we see more of Princess Margaret's fractious marriage to Tony Armstrong-Jones.

Photo credit: Des Willie - Netflix
Photo credit: Des Willie - Netflix

What happened in The Crown season 4?

Season four picks up in the latter 1970s. A 30-year-old Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, soon meets Lady Diana Spencer and the couple marry in 1981. All seems well (the couple welcome two sons, Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984) to the British public, during a turbulent Thatcher period, however behind closed doors 'the royal family is becoming increasingly divided', a blurb for the release says.

'As the nation begins to feel the impact of divisive policies introduced by Britain's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), tensions arise between her and the Queen which only grow worse as Thatcher leads the country into the Falklands War, generating conflict within the Commonwealth.'

Who is in The Crown season 4?

The first photos from the season, including the introduction of Princess Diana (played by Emma Corrin) have now been shared ahead of the season's premiere.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

In one shot, there is a familiar scene of Princess Diana being photographed in the early days of her relationship with Prince Charles. Another shows Diana in a purple dress attending a function with Charles (O'Connor).

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Emerald Fennell is also returning to The Crown as Camilla Parker-Bowles. The director and actor appeared in the third season in depictions of the early days of the Duchess of Cornwall's relationship with Prince Charles before he married Diana. In the newly released photos from the upcoming series, Fennell and Corrin appear together in a scene.

Photo credit: Des Willie - Netflix
Photo credit: Des Willie - Netflix

A few months ago, photos taken of the filming of the fourth season are recreating a Buckingham Palace Easter Egg hunt and the young actor playing William can be seen carrying an Easter basket while Corrin - who is 'pregnant' with Prince Harry -chases after him in character.

Photo credit: Splash News
Photo credit: Splash News
Photo credit: Splash News
Photo credit: Splash News

Corrin's blue smock dress is reminiscent of the style the Princess of Wales often wore during her pregnancies and the little boy Prince William is just as adorable as the royal youngster.

Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images

In December, the first images of Prince William's on-screen baby counterpart were released. The pictures, taken on the set of the upcoming series, show a baby dressed in very 1980s babygrow get-up boarding a royal air force plane with 'Prince Charles' and 'Diana'.

Photo credit: Splash News
Photo credit: Splash News

The young Prince William is being carried behind Corrin with O'Connor is seen a few steps ahead. In further shorts, Corrin herself carries her on-screen son off the plane.

Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images

Also making a debut in the fourth season is X-Files star Gillian Anderson who has been confirmed to portray Thatcher.

'I am so excited to be joining the cast and crew of The Crown and to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman,' Anderson said in a statement following the cast announcement.

In photos released ahead of the season, Anderson depicts a newly elected Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street with her husband Dennis in May, 1979.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

It's not just newcomers who will appear in The Crown. Even though she has passed on her literal crown, Claire Foy has also been spotted filming flashback scenes of her 21st birthday speech in South Africa, for the next season.

Is there a trailer for The Crown season 4?

Yes. After a teaser trailer was dropped in August, Netflix released a one minute 45 second trailer on 13th October.

The clip introduces Corrin in a puff sleeved gown on her way to meet the Colman's Queen. Princess Diana, who was 19 when she became engaged to Prince Charles, is seen adjusting to her newfound life, out with friends, practising ballet, meeting adoring crowds on official engagements and dancing with Prince Charles in happier times. The trailer soon turns though and the tumultuous marriage between Lady Diana Spencer and Charles is laid bare.

Elsewhere in the clip, Anderson is seen looking forlorn as Prime Minister Thatcher while Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) is shown to be experiencing ill health.

The trailer ends with an image of Corrin's face underneath her veil on her 1981 wedding day.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

When was The Crown season 4 be released on Netflix?

Netflix have announced that the fourth season can be expected on the streaming site on November 15th.

What have the royal family said about The Crown season 4?

The royal family haven’t specifically addressed the making of the fourth hit series.

However, Princess Anne did open up about the show during an ITV documentary to mark her 70th birthday. While she has seen some of the programme’s earlier episodes and found them to be ‘quite interesting’, she admitted she has been amused by news that it takes two hours to do the actress' hair who plays her.

Photo credit: Serge Lemoine - Getty Images
Photo credit: Serge Lemoine - Getty Images

She revealed: ‘Actually I read an article the other day, I don't watch Netflix and The Crown, but the actress was talking about how long it took them to do her hair like I did, and I'm thinking, “How could it possibly take that long?” I mean it takes me 10 or 15 minutes’

The comment came after actress Erin Doherty told Town and Country that it would take almost two hours to get her hair done to look like Anne.

‘Make-up literally took 10 minutes, but hair, sometimes it would take two hours,’ she told the publication last November. ‘It’s its own beast. Literally, I would sit in the chair, people would come in and go and come in and go, and I sat still in the same place.

'But it was so necessary for her character because it felt like her hair and her fashion were the way that she was able to express herself in the confined, controlled environment that she grew up in.'

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