Prince Charles Actor Josh O'Connor Says Adding a Disclaimer to 'The Crown' Would Be "Outrageous"

Josh O'Connor, the actor who played Prince Charles in Seasons 3 and 4 of The Crown, says adding a disclaimer to the show would be outrageous.

  • Critics of Netflix's drama The Crown (opens in new tab) say the show presents a misleading picture of the royal family.
  • The U.K.'s Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden (opens in new tab), even went so far as to call for Netflix to add a disclaimer to the series making it clear that it's a work of fiction.
  • Josh O'Connor, who played Prince Charles in Seasons 3 and 4 of the series, says the call for a disclaimer is "outrageous" and that The Crown's audience is "intelligent enough to see it for what it is, which is pure fiction." 

Update 12/13/20: Two British politicians have publicly pushed back against The Crown actor Josh O'Connor's stance that adding a disclaimer to the Netflix drama would be "outrageous." 

Former Education Secretary Damian Hinds led the fightback (who, according to the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), is supported in his statement by Julian Knight, chairman of the powerful Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee) told the Mail on Sunday, "Mr O’Connor says Oliver Dowden’s intervention is outrageous, but what would be truly outrageous would be trying to stop our Culture Secretary holding the streaming giant to account. Oliver has every right to call for the series to carry a disclaimer."

Addressing O'Connor's statement about the situation directly, Hinds added, "This is not some dramatization of a novel. It is based on the lives of real people and it relays many events people will recognize, so although it contains fiction, it certainly isn’t 'pure' fiction."

Original post: The latest season of The Crown (opens in new tab) has been the drama's most controversial yet. The fourth season, which covers, among other things, the early years of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's tumultuous relationship, has been slammed by critics who say its an unfair and oftentimes misleading portrayal of the real people and events depicted (opens in new tab). In fact, some—including the U.K. government's Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden—have called for Netflix to add a disclaimer (opens in new tab) to the series, emphasizing that it's a work of fiction and not a faithful account of history. 

Josh O'Connor (opens in new tab), who played Prince Charles (opens in new tab) in The Crown's third and fourth seasons, is firmly in the opposite camp, however.

"We were slightly let down by our culture secretary, whose job it is to encourage culture," O'Connor said during an interview with the the Los Angeles Times (opens in new tab) for The Envelope: The Podcast. "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."

O'Connor made it clear that he's against the disclaimer proposal because he trusts The Crown (opens in new tab)'s audience to understand that what they're watching is a drama, not documentary.

"My personal view is that audiences understand," he explained. "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."

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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.