Harry and Meghan’s controversial fly-on-the-wall documentary series is still set to premiere on Netflix this year, sources have insisted.
Harry and Meghan had been working on the series as part of their rumoured $100 million (£88million) deal with the beleaguered streaming giant.
Netflix was believed to have been set to push back the release of the show until 2023 amid backlash over the upcoming fifth series of The Crown.
The show’s makers had been accused of fabricating a ‘hurtful’ smear against King Charles by depicting him secretly plotting to oust the Queen.
But industry sources have told entertainment news site Page Six that the show will premiere as planned this year. One insider said: ‘As far as I am aware, the docu-series is still going ahead later this year.’
It comes just weeks after the Sussexes were reportedly ‘at odds’ with the production staff about making ‘extensive edits’ to the series, which is a co-production between Netflix and Archewell Productions and is expected to be released in December.
Netflix is said to have been ‘spooked’ by the outrage that some storylines in the news series of The Crown have caused, despite the fact that it is not set to air until next month.
The £11.5million-per-episode show will cover years from 1991 to 1997, and will include details of Princess Diana’s Panorama interview in 1995.
King Charles, played by Dominic West, is the dominant figure in the drama. He is shown lobbying Prime Minister John Major in a bizarre attempt to force his mother’s abdication.
It also depicts Charles bitterly arguing with Diana as their divorce looms, and romancing Camilla, now Queen Consort, including a dramatisation of the notorious ‘tampongate’ phone call.
Harry and Meghan’s controversial fly-on-the-wall documentary series is still set to premiere on Netflix this year, sources have insisted. Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are filmed hugging Team United Kingdom competitor Lisa Johnston at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Netherlands in April
Harry and Meghan had been working on the series as part of their rumoured $100 million (£88million) deal with the beleaguered streaming giant
Netflix was believed to have been set to push back the release of the show until 2023 amid backlash over the upcoming fifth series of The Crown
It comes just weeks after the Sussexes were reportedly ‘at odds’ with the production staff about making ‘extensive edits’ to the series, which is a co-production between Netflix and Archewell Productions
Earlier this week, production sources had said that media uproar over inaccuracies – and the lack of sensitivity in opting to air the series so close to the death of the Queen – was ‘spooking’ the broadcaster into postponing the series.
Harry and Meghan had also been keen to ‘downplay much of what they have said about king Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, and the Prince and Princess of Wales’ in their documentary series, according to a previous Page Six report.
Jemima Goldsmith withdrew The Crown contributions after ‘realising Diana’s story would not be told respectfully’
By Ephraim Hardcastle for the Daily Mail
Jemima Goldsmith will be subjecting The Crown’s forthcoming depiction of Princess Diana’s disintegrating marriage to forensic scrutiny.
Jemima Goldsmith will be subjecting The Crown’s forthcoming depiction of Princess Diana ‘s disintegrating marriage to forensic scrutiny
Jemima, a close friend of the late princess, was offered a ‘co-writing’ credit by ex-boyfriend and creator of the Netflix drama, Peter Morgan, after helping him with private recollections.
She says: ‘When I realised that the Diana storyline would not necessarily be told as respectfully or compassionately as I had hoped, I requested that all my contributions be removed from the series and I declined a credit.’
However the source added that the streaming platform was ‘standing by the filmmakers’ who want to keep the content in the project, and that it will still be ‘going forward.’
Last month, one Hollywood industry source said the couple were facing doubts about the series following the Queen’s death.
They said: ‘A lot of conversations are happening. I hear that Harry and Meghan want the series to be held until next year, they want to stall.
‘I wonder if the show could even be dead in the water at this point, do Harry and Meghan just want to shelve this thing?,’ they added.
A Netflix insider also claimed: ‘Netflix has been keen to have the show ready to stream for December. There’s a lot of pressure on (Netflix CEO) Ted Sarandos, who has the relationship with Harry and Meghan, to get this show finished.’
The new series of The Crown is also reportedly set to to cover the hours before the royal’s tragic death in Paris in August 1997.
William Shawcross, the Queen Mother’s official biographer, branded the series ‘odious’ and ‘deliberately hurtful’ over an apparently invented scene where Charles tells the Queen she should be ‘thrown… into jail’ for being a ‘bad mother’.
Netflix this week added fuel to the fire by refusing to add a disclaimer to the series stating that the scenes, branded ‘malicious’ by another royal expert, are not fact but fiction
Meanwhile, according to The Sun, even crew members are concerned in relation to the scenes depicting the lead up to Diana’s death, with one reportedly saying: ‘It feels as though a line is being crossed.’
One source close to Prince William told the paper that they expect the Prince of Wales will be angered by Netflix’s move to reproduce his mother’s final days for entertainment purposes.
Netflix insists Diana’s death, in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in central Paris, will not be recreated in the new series.
The Crown, created and written by Peter Morgan, has been a hit for Netflix since it was first released in 2016.
But a source told the Daily Mail this week that Morgan had become increasingly ‘uncomfortable’ as the series of The Crown edged closer to the present day.
They said: ‘The truth is that it was easier to write the earlier series because, firstly, there is a wealth of historical documentation, plus a consensus over more of what happened, and you can be more broad brush dramatically and people don’t find it hurtful.
Netflix is facing fury over plans to dramatise Princess Diana’s final moments before her tragic death in Paris in its new season of The Crown. Pictured: Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown, season five
It is claimed the hit series will cover the days and even hours before Princess Diana’s (pictured left: At a gala event in London in 1997) tragic death during her ill-fated trip to the French capital in August 1997. According to The Sun , even crew members are concerned in relation to the scenes depicting the lead-up to Diana’s death, with one reportedly saying: ‘It feels as though a line is being crossed.’ Pictured right: Actor Dominic West as Prince Charles and actress Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana while filming the new series of The Crown
Netflix insists Diana’s death, in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in central Paris, will not be recreated during the new series. Above: The Flame of Freedom statue above the Pont de l’Alma
‘Peter is always trying to get to the truth. There is always reams and reams of research. However, people are more loose lipped about Princess Margaret 50 years ago than John Major in 1991.
‘Peter is very aware of all of it and it is a struggle. He insisted on announcing that series five would be the last, even though Netflix didn’t want to announce it. It didn’t want to kill the golden goose.
‘Then, a few months, later he had changed his mind and he said that he was writing series six. But this will be it. He won’t go any further towards the present day. It’s already uncomfortable enough.’
The source added: ‘He is quite traumatised by the criticism. He has not done anything to be sensational. The show would be a different show if he sought the sensational.
‘He has not sought to trash the reputation of the Royal Family – I mean, he accepted a CBE. I think we can all accept that’s not going to turn into a knighthood.’
The storyline where Charles plots to oust his mother was branded a ‘barrel load of malicious nonsense’ by former prime minister Sir John Major as those close to the new monarch called for a boycott.
Critics argue the show should carry a warning that the ‘false, unfair and deeply wounding’ scenes are fiction, which not all viewers realise.
Royal insiders have previously described the programme as ‘trolling on a Hollywood scale’.
The new series of the royal drama, which has repeatedly been accused of blurring the lines between fact and fiction, is due to be released next month – just weeks after the death of the Queen. Pictured: Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II during the new season of The Crown
The new series, set in the 1990s, opens with Charles – then the Prince of Wales – lobbying Prime Minister John Major in a bizarre attempt to force the Queen’s abdication. Pictured: Charles and John Major together in 1994
One source close to Prince William (pictured with Prince Harry during the unveiling of a statue commemorating their mother last year) last night told the paper that they expect the Prince of Wales will be angered by Netflix’s move to reproduce his mother’s final days for entertainment purposes
But Buckingham Palace has not formally commented on the row as it is believed officials want to rise above the fray with dignity.
A spokesman for the series previously said: ‘The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.
‘Series Five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the Royal Family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.’
The new series, set in the 1990s, opens with Charles – then the Prince of Wales – lobbying then prime minister Sir John in a bizarre attempt to force the Queen’s abdication.
The prince, played by West, actively briefs against the Queen, whom he believes is out of touch.
But Sir John told The Mail on Sunday that the meeting did not happen and the ‘improper subject’ was never discussed. His office said that not one scene is ‘accurate in any way’, adding: ‘They are fiction, pure and simple.
‘They should be seen as nothing other than damaging and malicious fiction – a barrel-load of nonsense peddled for no other reason than to provide maximum – and entirely false – dramatic impact.’
In another scene, Charles says: ‘If we were an ordinary family and social services came to visit they would have thrown us into care and you [the Queen] into jail.’
While the new series was written at least a year before the Queen died and filming completed months ago, the timing of its release may lead to criticism, with Her Majesty passing away just last month.