Judi Dench Says She's Concerned 'The Crown' Will "Present an Inaccurate and Hurtful Account of History"

Oh, no.

Queen Elizabeth II Meets Dame Judi Dench
(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library / Getty)

Hoooo, boy.

The Crown continues to anger people as Netflix prepares to release season five of the hit show.

Just recently, the streaming giant appeared to cede to pressure from former U.K. Prime Minister John Major, and reportedly postponed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's upcoming docuseries to appease tensions. Major had categorically denied scenes depicted on The Crown, which shows then-Prince Charles lobbying him to encourage Queen Elizabeth to resign.

Now, it's another ~major~ British public figure who's adding her voice to the chorus of people who are not pleased about some of the drama series' creative decisions: none other than legendary actress Dame Judi Dench.

The royals—as well as commentators—have raised several issues with The Crown, related notably to the portrayal of Princess Diana's Panorama interview, the breakdown of hers and Prince Charles' marriage, and Prince Philip's alleged affair with his friend Penny Knatchbull.

In a letter to The Times, Dench wrote the following:

"Sir John Major is not alone in his concerns that the latest series of The Crown will present an inaccurate and hurtful account of history. Indeed, the closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism.

"While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that it is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true. Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series — that King Charles plotted for his mother to abdicate, for example, or once suggested his mother’s parenting was so deficient that she might have deserved a jail sentence — this is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent.

"No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged. Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a “fictionalised drama” the programme makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode.

"The time has come for Netflix to reconsider — for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve its reputation in the eyes of its British subscribers."

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.