The Crown Backlash Leads Netflix to Delay Harry & Meghan Documentary

4 min read
18 October 2022

After facing criticism over controversial storyline in The Crown, Netflix executives have decided to delay the Harry & Meghan documentary.

Netflix has decided to delay the release of its rumored new documentary about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, following backlash over an upcoming The Crown storyline. In 2020, Harry and Meghan created their own production company called Archewell Productions, and have since then signed a multiyear deal with Netflix. The streaming giant serves as the platform to release the content created by Archewell Productions, such as docuseries The Heart of Invictus released in 2020. The rumored documentary would supposedly be about the life of the Sussexes in the US.

Netflix is also home to hit show The Crown, which has its season 5 slated to premiere in November. The drama series tells the story of the British Royal family, starting from when the late Queen Elizabeth II was still a young princess, a little bit before her father's death and the beginning of the longest reign by a monarch in British history. Now in its fifth season, The Crown has reached the point in royal history that follows the events that ultimately led to Princess Diana's untimely death in 1997.


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With a new season scheduled to premiere on November 9 on Netflix, the show has faced some serious backlash over the past few days due to a storyline depicted in the season premiere. Deadline reports that the streaming service has decided to postpone the Harry and Meghan docuseries that would follow the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which was unofficially slated to premiere in December, following the release of The Crown. The criticism that the show was hit with this past weekend is due to a controversial storyline in the first episode of season 5, in which Prince Charles — now King Charles III — has a conversation with former UK Prime Minister John Major where the prince supposedly complains about having to wait too long to be king. Major says that such conversation never took place and that "it's malicious nonsense".

How True to History is Netflix's The Crown?

After an entire weekend of negative comments about the storyline depicted in The Crown season 5 episode 1, Netflix has allegedly decided to postpone the release of the Sussexes docuseries, possibly to avoid further backlash. The episode in question is titled “Queen Victoria Syndrome", a term that was coined due to Queen Victoria's long reign of 63 years, spanning from 1837 to 1901, only surpassed in length by the late Queen Elizabeth II. It seems that both the Buckingham Palace and Netflix have been extra sensitive about The Crown after the monarch's death on September 8, which makes the streaming executives' decision to postpone the docuseries a sensible one.

Despite the criticism received by Former UK Prime Minister Major and other important figures close to the Royal Family, it is important to note that The Crown is still a drama series. While the show it is based on historical facts, it is still very much fiction that follows somewhat closely the events that have happened to the Royal Family in the 20th century. However, now that the show has reached a point in history where they are telling stories about people who are still alive and well, it is understandable how that might affect the public's opinion about the real Royal Family. Following Queen Elizabeth II's passing, having scenes where Charles is supposedly questioning how long he would need to wait to take over the throne might leave a bad aftertaste for viewers of the show. Whether the series will still go through with the controversial storyline remains to be seen when The Crown season 5 premieres on November 9 on Netflix.

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