Elizabeth Debicki has a defiant response to criticism of The Crown season 5

Written by Amy Beecham

The actor, who will portray Princess Diana in the upcoming series, spoke to Radio Times about the backlash.

With so many tense and tragic events to cover, it was clear from the beginning that season five of Netflix’s The Crown would be a contentious one. Whoever took on the role of portraying Princess Diana was sure to come under extreme scrutiny, as were the show’s writers for however they navigated such a tricky period in British history, particularly in the wake of Queen Elizabeth’s death earlier this year.

Just a few weeks before the season premieres, following pressure from high-profile figures including Dame Judi Dench, the streaming platform announced that it would be adding a disclaimer to the trailer and episodes stating that the show is fiction. 

In an open letter, Dench had called the hit show “crude sensationalism”, adding that the fictionalised accounts of historical events anticipated to play out this season are “cruelly unjust” to the royal family and “damaging to the institution they represent”.

Dominic West as Prince Charles and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in season five of The Crown

Now, Elizabeth Debicki, the actor playing Diana, Princess of Wales in the upcoming season, has responded to the criticism publicly for the first time. Speaking to Radio Times, she said: “I respect people’s points of view and I, being an actor in the show, understand the nature of what the show is.

“It was always very clear to me that one can never know what happens behind closed doors and that a writer is interpreting what may have happened.”

She continued: “Now the disclaimer is up there, we can maybe stop talking about it and move on. If that’s helpful for certain people, so be it, and now the conversation can be returned to the creative endeavour of what the show is.”

Debicki also said that she believes the “beauty” of the programme is that there is plenty of “room for interpretation”.

“There’s a huge amount of room for interpretation and that’s the value and beauty of The Crown as well, that you receive a different message depending on who you are. That’s good drama to me,” she added.

Season four focused on the early relationship and marriage of Josh O’Connor’s Charles and Emma Corrin’s Diana, with season five set to be even more tumultuous.

A number of notable and dramatic events within the family took place in the 90s, including the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’ (horrible year) in 1992, which involved the disintegration of marriages for three of her four children and a fire at Windsor Castle.

Although it’s still not certain how many of these dramatic events will get significant screen time in season five, images from the set have confirmed that certain key moments, such as the iconic ‘revenge dress’ reveal and Diana’s final public appearance before her untimely death in 1997, will be featured across the episodes. 

Images: Netflix

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