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Charles Spencer and Princess Diana's family are 'exhausted' with The Crown

The 9th Earl Spencer shared his thoughts on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House

Split of Earl Spencer and The Crown cast
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
11 December 2023
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Charles, 9th Earl Spencer has spoken of the toll on his family after The Crown depicted his late sister Princess Diana's final weeks before her tragic death in 1997.

The author, 59, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House on Sunday after a judge ordered the BBC to release a large number of emails surrounding Martin Bashir’s controversial interview with the late Princess of Wales.

After criticising the BBC for trying to prevent the release of the emails, the Earl was asked about the popular Netflix drama.

"I don’t watch The Crown actually," Charles told the programme. "The toll is obviously there. I think people now realise more than even three or four years ago how speculative the storylines are of The Crown so I think people are aware that this is fiction based on, loosely, factual events.

"So I think there's something there but yes, it's exhausting and it's always been that way. But I see this as a point of principle. I believe the BBC should be guarded by responsible, senior figures and not hidden behind to protect their careers."

In 2021, Charles revealed that he had rejected requests from The Crown's producers to film at his ancestral home, Althorp House. 

Speaking on BBC Breakfast at the time, he said: "They applied. They wanted to shoot here. But I don't really do that stuff."

Fflyn Edwards, Elizabeth Debicki and Rufus Kampa in The Crown © Daniel Escale/Netflix
Fflyn Edwards, Elizabeth Debicki and Rufus Kampa in The Crown

"The worry for me is that people see a programme like that and they forget that it is fiction," he also told Alan Titchmarsh on Love Your Weekend in 2020. "They assume. Especially foreigners – I find Americans tell me they watch The Crown as if they've taken a history lesson. Well, they haven't."

He added: "It is very hard. There is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn't there? You can hang it on fact, but the bits in between are not fact."

The first four episodes of season six of The Crown cover the eight weeks leading up to Diana and Dodi Fayed's tragic deaths in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.

WATCH: The official trailer for The Crown season six

The second part, which will be released on 14 December, will introduce Prince William and Kate Middleton's relationship.

On the latest episode of HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast, TV & Film Editor Emmy Griffiths speaks to some of the geniuses behind the show, including casting director Robert Sterne.

Listen to the full episode here…

In 2021, an independent inquiry found the BBC covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure his shocking interview with Diana in 1995.

Mr Bashir was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess, a report by Lord Dyson said.

Diana famously told the BBC journalist in the interview: "There were three of us in this marriage so it was a bit crowded."

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