Monday 30 November 2020

Should Netflix begin episodes of The Crown with a disclaimer saying events have been dramatised? // Culture secretary to ask Netflix to play 'health warning' that The Crown is fictional //Helena Bonham Carter says The Crown should stress to viewers it's a drama


Non queri,  Non explicet

Never complain, Never explain


“I am sorry but we never comment on ‘The Crown,’” said Queen Elizabeth’s communications secretary.


Should Netflix begin episodes of The Crown with a disclaimer saying events have been dramatised?


Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary, is the latest high profile voice to insist that the characters portrayed in the fourth series are beyond recognition





The nation is currently gripped by the fourth season of The Crown – a series which has raised eyebrows for its often unflattering portrayal of Royal Family members. While the dramatisation of the love triangle between Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall (then Camilla Parker Bowles) and the late Diana, Princess of Wales has been criticised as ‘insensitive’ by those close to the story, it is but one of the very many bones critics have had to pick with the accuracy of the series.


Another insider voiced their disapproval at the unreliable portrayal yesterday, that being the former Buckingham Palace press secretary, Dickie Arbiter. Arbiter, who worked for the Queen from 1988 until 2000, said the fourth series of the drama was full of ‘wooden characters’ and depicts the Prince of Wales unfairly. Mr Arbiter, 80, told Times Radio: ‘It’s not a documentary, it’s not history. It’s a drama and it’s taken dramatic licence excessively and it’s made the Prince of Wales a villain. He’s not a villain. He never has been a villain and he [Peter Morgan, the screenwriter] has made Diana a victim . . . He’s portrayed characters whom I don’t know. I spent 12 years at the palace, I knew everybody there and these are not the people I knew.’



Arbiter was a one-time fan of the series, he formerly praised Claire Foy who played the role of the Queen in the first two series. He also thinks that Emma Corrin (who plays the Princess of Wales) has done a good job of it. ‘She’s [Corrin] obviously studied Diana — her mannerisms, her walk, her movements, and she does a good job of it.’ It’s high praise given his summary of the other performances. ‘The rest of them are just wooden characters. Olivia Colman as the Queen — well she should give up the day job because quite frankly it is a rotten portrayal. The Prince of Wales comes across as a wimp . . . and Margaret Thatcher? Well, Gillian Anderson does a dreadful job of it.’


Netflix has been criticised for the accuracy of the script, and there have even been calls for episodes to begin with a disclaimer that events have been dramatised, according to the Times.


Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales revealed over the weekend that he refused permission for Netflix to film The Crown at their family’s stately home in Northamptonshire, Althorp. Speaking on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh he admitted to a feeling of ‘unease’ when watching the programme. He said: ‘The Crown asked if they could film at Althorp and I said obviously not. The worry for me is that people see a programme like that and they forget that it is fiction. They assume, especially foreigners… I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven't.'


Earl Spencer did not detail exactly when he was approached by the makers of The Crown, but several scenes in the first episodes of the new series are centred around Charles and Diana’s first meeting, which the show – wrongly – suggests took place at Althorp. These scenes were in fact filmed at Ragley Hall, a country house located in Warwickshire.


Earl Spencer told Mr Titchmarsh: ‘I feel it is my duty to stand up for her when I can. She left me for instance as guardian of her sons, so I feel there was a trust passed on. And we grew up together, you know if you grow up with somebody they are still that person, it doesn't matter what happens to them later. So yeah, I feel very passionately that I have a role to honour her memory.’


Another representation that has come under scrutiny is that of the Queen’s mothering skills. In episode four of the new season, ‘Favourites’, the Queen decides to schedule a one-on-one lunch with each of her four children, by then all in their late teens or adulthood. She asks an aide to do some research in advance of the meetings in order to create a ‘short briefing document’ on their respective interests and hobbies, adding: ‘One would hate to appear uninformed. Or cold. Or remotely… remote.’


The implication – that the monarch lacks a degree of maternal involvement in her children’s lives (particularly that of Prince Charles) – has now been explicitly stated by The Crown’s creator and writer, Peter Morgan. Defending how the inter-familial relationships are portrayed on screen, he has speculated that the Queen was a better mother to her two later children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, than she was to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.


The Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – was only 22 when she had Prince Charles in 1948. Her father, King George VI, died in 1952, meaning Charles was just a four year old when his mother acceded to the throne. Princess Anne, meanwhile, who was born in 1950, was barely a toddler. To be a 25-year-old head of state would be a daunting prospect for anyone, not to mention the additional pressures of having young children. It was not until 10 years after Anne’s birth that the Queen had Andrew, in 1960, and later Edward, in 1964 – by which time she was 12 years into her reign.


Quoted in the Times, Morgan states in a recent episode of the official The Crown podcast that he was won over by the ‘two teams’ idea, when it was explained to him by an unnamed royal historian. ‘When I heard that theory, it instantly chimed,’ he says, adding that he felt it was ‘emotionally intuitive and plausible’ that the young Queen may have found it hard to offer the love and attention her son wanted. This proved a foundational tenet when it came to Morgan writing The Crown, as he explains: ‘I thought it was a really smart observation, and made the decision to go with that.’


Morgan notes that he thought it likely that the monarch was ‘preoccupied with trying to find her feet and do her job’, then was ‘much more ready to be a mother’ by the time Andrew was born. He states: ‘She was much more relaxed as a mother with the second team,’ going on to suggest that this seems to have been more detrimental to Charles than Anne. He observes: ‘Anne probably didn’t need that much mothering, based on what I see of her as a character… Charles, unfortunately, needs a great deal of love… He needs a lot of love, and she was probably unable to give it. His need for it, his demonstrative need for it, might have made her ability… retreat even further.’


Morgan’s latest comments come after the series faced criticism from those close to the royals for its representation of the family. The first episode includes scenes of Lord Mountbatten warning Charles against his affair with Camilla – shortly before he is killed by an IRA bomb. These details in particular have ruffled feathers, with detractors protesting that many scenes are completely fabricated. The Crown’s writer and creator, however, has defended making up parts of the historical drama.


The Times reports that Morgan stated that while he imagined details of the last conversations between Charles and Lord Mountbatten, he believes the sentiments reflect what Mountbatten actually felt. Charles’s great uncle, played by Charles Dance in the drama, criticises the heir apparent for his ongoing relationship with Camilla, who was then married to Andrew Parker Bowles. Charles (Josh O’Connor), retaliates in turn, calling Lord Mountbatten a ‘quisling’ and speculating about his own sexual licentiousness.


Lord Mountbatten then writes a letter to his great nephew, criticising him for courting ‘ruin and disappointment’ and entreating him to give up Camilla and marry ‘some sweet and innocent well-tempered girl with no past’. The letter only reaches Charles soon after he learns of his beloved great uncle’s assasination. In reality, however, there’s no evidence that such a letter ever existed. It is being seen as a particularly callous piece of writing considering that Charles was extremely close to Mountbatten and deeply upset by his death. The Times quotes royal commentators as criticising the ‘wild crude distortions’ in the Netflix drama, adding that Charles has reportedly refused to watch the series.


Morgan told the official podcast for the series: ‘What we know is that Mountbatten was really responsible for taking Charles to one side at precisely this point and saying, “Look, you know, enough already with playing the field, it’s time you got married and it’s time you provided an heir”... As the heir I think there was some concern that he should settle down, marry the appropriate person and get on with it. In my own head I thought that would have even greater impact on Charles if it were to come post-mortem, as it were.’


He went on: ‘I think everything that’s in that letter which Mountbatten writes to Charles is what I really believe, based on everything I’ve read and people I’ve spoken to, that represents his view. We will never know if it was put into a letter, and we will never know if Charles got that letter before or after Mountbatten’s death, but in this particular drama, this is how I decided to deal with it.’


The Crown is known for creating an authentic sense of time and place, thanks to an extensive team of researchers and historical advisers and lavish sets and costumes. Yet its producers have always been quick to stress that it is a fictionalised interpretation of events, with many scenes in the drama being created for entertainment purposes.


Where was The Crown filmed?

The Mail on Sunday previously reported that friends of the heir apparent – and senior royals themselves – have been shocked by the new episodes, which they regard as exploitative and inaccurate. One factor ruffling feathers is that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently signed a production deal with Netflix. An ‘insider’ told the paper: ‘There are raised eyebrows about Harry taking millions from the company that's behind all this… After all, where do much of Netflix’s profits come from? The Crown.’


Royal biographer Penny Junor is quoted in the Times as stating that it was likely Charles would be ‘incredibly upset’ by the series. ‘It’s the most cruel and unfair and horrible portrayal of almost all of them,’ she says, going on to criticise creator Peter Morgan for having ‘invented stuff to make expensive and very rich drama’.


The Mail on Sunday also quotes one of Prince Charles’s friends as saying the series is ‘dragging up things that happened during very difficult times 25 or 30 years ago without a thought for anyone’s feelings’. The source goes on: ‘That isn’t right or fair, particularly when so many of the things being depicted don’t represent the truth’. They add that Charles and Camilla are portrayed in a ‘very unflattering light’ without explaining that some scenes were invented for entertainment, noting: ‘There is no sense of telling carefully nuanced stories – it’s all very two-dimensional. This is trolling with a Hollywood budget. The public shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this is an accurate portrayal of what really happened.’


Another Palace source accused Netflix of delving into painful details too soon, stating: ‘These events are not the history of 100 or even 50 years ago. The pain is still raw and not enough time has elapsed… Fiction becomes more attractive than fact and to dramatise these painful events of marriage breakdowns and children upset is very insensitive.’ It has been alleged that the Duke of Cambridge is ‘none too pleased’ with the portrayal, feeling that ‘his parents are being exploited and presented in a false, simplistic way to make money’.


 Dickie Arbiter noted that while the royals were ‘pretty used to being portrayed’ for entertainment purposes, there was a risk that viewers might not understand that The Crown is not a factually accurate account. The Queen’s communications secretary has previously dubbed the series a ‘fictionalised interpretation of historical events’, stressing the degree of artistic license at play. The Times added that Clarence House declined to comment.

Culture secretary to ask Netflix to play 'health warning' that The Crown is fictional


Oliver Dowden says younger viewers might take historical drama’s portrayal as fact


Lanre Bakare


Sun 29 Nov 2020 13.31 GMT


The culture secretary plans to write to Netflix and request a “health warning” is played before The Crown so viewers are aware that the historical drama is a work of fiction, he said in an intervention that prompted criticism.


Oliver Dowden said that without the caveat younger viewers who did not live through the events might “mistake fiction for fact” following complaints that the fourth series of the drama had abused its artistic licence and fabricated events.


He told the Mail on Sunday: “It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that … Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”


At present viewers are warned that the show contains nudity, sex, violence and suicide references, and is suitable for viewers who are 15 and older.


The move was derided by historians including Prof Kate Williams, who said it sounded like a “distraction”. Alex von Tunzelmann, a historian who wrote the Reel History column for the Guardian, wrote: “Netflix already tells people that The Crown is fiction. It’s billed as a drama. Those people in it are actors. I know! Blows your mind.”


The historical drama’s fourth season, which focuses on the late 1970s and 80s with the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands conflict and Lady Diana Spencer’s marriage to Prince Charles, has evoked much criticism.


Accusations of inaccuracies in Peter Morgan’s production span from repeatedly showing the Queen “wrongly dressed for trooping the colour” to disputes over Charles’ fishing technique.


But the biggest bones of contention have been around the depiction of Charles’ marriage to Diana. He is portrayed phoning Camilla Parker Bowles every day in the early years of the marriage, and Diana is depicted as forcing plans for the couple’s trip to Australia to be changed after throwing a tantrum.


Morgan has previously spoken about meeting Prince Charles and being told by him that scriptwriting is a hard job and that “it’s not what you leave in but what you leave out that’s most important”.


“He’s one of those characters for whom you have sympathy and criticism in equal measure, a perhaps not uncommon attitude toward the monarchy in general,” Morgan told the New York Times.


Sarah Horsley, whose husband, Major Hugh Lindsay, died in an avalanche while on a skiing trip with the prince, said she wrote to Morgan to ask for her husband’s death not to be dramatised. She said the “royal family have to grin and bear” the depiction of them in the avalanche episode, but for her it was “a very private tragedy”.


Sunday’s intervention is the latest from Dowden, who contacted the BBC to voice his concerns that Rule, Britannia! might not be played at this year’s event.


In September, he wrote to national museum directors saying “the government does not support the removal of statues or other similar objects” after a debate started about how to handle colonial-era artefacts and those with connections to slavery.


The Crown has also been praised for presenting the royal family as “real people”. Others have pointed out that Charles’ and Diana’s infidelity and marital problems are well recorded – including in interviews they both gave.


Netflix declined to comment, but a source said it had been widely reported that The Crown was a drama based on real-life events.

Helena Bonham Carter says The Crown should stress to viewers it's a drama


Actor who plays Princess Margaret adds her voice to calls for Netflix to add a disclaimer

Helena Bonham Carter’s comments came after criticisms of The Crown’s historical accuracy. Composite: Netflix


Harry Taylor


Tue 1 Dec 2020 00.09 GMT


Helena Bonham Carter has said The Crown has a “moral responsibility” to tell viewers that it is a drama, rather than historical fact, in the wake of calls for a “health warning” for people watching the series.


The actor, who played Princess Margaret in series three and four of the Netflix hit drama, told an official podcast for the show that there was an important distinction between “our version”, and the “real version”.


In the podcast episode, which was released on Monday, Bonham Carter said: “It is dramatised. I do feel very strongly, because I think we have a moral responsibility to say, ‘Hang on guys, this is not … it’s not a drama-doc, we’re making a drama.’ So they are two different entities.”


She called the research by the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, “amazing”, adding: “That is the proper documentary. That is amazing and then Peter switches things up and juggles.”


Her views came after criticisms of the show’s historical accuracy prompted the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, to say he planned to write to the streaming network to request that a disclaimer was put up before the show was played, so viewers would not misinterpret the portrayal as historical truth.


Dowden told the Mail on Sunday: “It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that … Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”


Accusations of inaccuracies in Peter Morgan’s production span from repeatedly showing the Queen “wrongly dressed for trooping the colour” to disputes over Prince Charles’s fishing technique.


But the biggest bones of contention have been about the depiction of Charles’s marriage to Diana. He is portrayed phoning Camilla Parker Bowles every day in the early years of the marriage, and Diana is depicted as forcing plans for the couple’s trip to Australia to be changed after throwing a tantrum.


Currently viewers are warned that the show contains nudity, sex, violence and suicide references, and is suitable for viewers aged 15 and above.


Netflix has been contacted for comment.



Episode 2 of series 4 of "THE CROWN" / "The Balmoral TEST" released by  NETFLIX just before the Christmas season and its gifts is a blessing for BARBOUR.

It should be noted that all the specimens presented denote a "patina" and weathering according to the DNA of Balmoral State. It should also be noted that in addition to the "festival" of WAX Jackets and HUSKY's, it is only just in one moment that we can see one example of the famous tweed shooting jackets that are an imperative in COUNTRY LIFE in the UK.

Saturday 28 November 2020

The Queen’s Gambit | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Queen's Gambit is a fictional story that follows the life of an orphan chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, during her quest to become the world's greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems and drug and alcohol dependency. The Queen's Gambit is a chess opening. The story begins in the mid-1950s and proceeds into the 1960s.

The story begins in Lexington, Kentucky, where a nine-year-old Beth, having lost her mother in a car crash, is taken to an orphanage where she is taught chess by the building's custodian, Mr. Shaibel. As was common during the 1950s,[6] the orphanage dispenses daily tranquilizer pills to the girls, which turns into an addiction for Beth. A few years later, Beth is adopted by Alma Wheatley and her husband from Lexington. As she adjusts to her new home, Beth enters a chess tournament and wins despite having no prior experience in competitive chess. She develops friendships with several people, including former Kentucky state champion Harry Beltik; gifted but arrogant chess prodigy Benny Watts; and journalist, photographer, and fellow player player D.L. Townes. As Beth continues to win games and reaps the financial benefits of her success, she becomes more dependent on drugs and alcohol.

The Queen’s Gambit “phenomenon” becomes most popular limited series ever on Netflix


The seven-part series has been Netflix's number one programme in 63 countries.


By Patrick McLennan

Monday, 23rd November 2020 at 11:06 pm


The fictional story of a female chess prodigy in 1960s America, The Queen’s Gambit, has been revealed to be the most popular limited series to ever screen on Netflix, with 62 million households having watched it according to the streaming network.


Not only that, but EW is reporting that the show about the orphaned chess genius Beth Harmon (played by Anglo-American actress Anya Taylor-Joy) has reinvigorated the sport and led to a massive demand for chess sets.


It’s worth pointing out that Netflix collects data differently to audience-tracking companies such as Nielsen. Netflix counts a play as any household that has watched at least two minutes of a programme – which could mean a household watches I numerous times but it only counts as one view – while Nielsen compares streaming shows by tallying the amount of minutes they’re watched.


Netflix said The Queen’s Gambit was watched by 62 million households in its first 28 days. Even allowing for its unusual tracking methodology that is still an impressive figure.


Meanwhile, the sale of chess sets have gone through the roof, according to Goliath Games director of marketing Mary Higbe in an interview with US radio network NPR.


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Her revelation was echoed by Elizabeth LoVecchio, vice president of marketing at Spin Master, who explained that “our chess sales have increased triple digits”.


The same has happened in the UK, with searches for chess sets up almost 300 per cent on eBay UK.


Nouman Qureshi, Toys Category Manager at eBay UK, recently told Metro: “We’re seeing shoppers turn to more traditional forms of entertainment during this second lockdown. This includes a big uptake in the classic game of chess, which if things continue as they are, we might all be pros at by December 2.”


As well, Walter Tevis’ original 1983 novel, The Queen’s Gambit, has hit the best seller’s list in The New York Times.


Netflix’s vice president of original series Peter Friedlander applauded showrunner Scott Frank in a blog post.


“Three years ago when Scott Frank (Godless) first approached us about adapting The Queen’s Gambit – Walter Tevis’ 1983 book about a young chess prodigy – we felt it was a compelling tale. Beth is an underdog who faces addiction, loss and abandonment. Her success – against the odds – speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, and finding, and staying true to, yourself. However, I don’t think any of us could have predicted that The Queen’s Gambit – and the extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy – would become the global phenomena they are today, or our biggest limited scripted series ever,” he wrote.


The Queen’s Gambit is streaming now on Netflix.

The Queen's Gambit review – from an orphanage basement to the top of the chess world

3 / 5 stars3 out of 5 stars.   

Anya Taylor-Joy plays a 64-square prodigy in Netflix’s gorgeous Walter Tevis adaptation, which – while heavy on rags-to-riches fantasy – proves great fun


Lucy Mangan


Fri 23 Oct 2020 09.00 BSTLast modified on Fri 23 Oct 2020 09.02 BST


As the tale of a woman who rises from discovering the game in an orphanage basement to the pinnacle of the chess world, Netflix’s new miniseries The Queen’s Gambit can’t really fail. When it’s based on the book of the same name by legendary short story writer and novelist Walter Tevis, upon whose work the films The Hustler, The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Color of Money were also based, the odds of success seem even higher.


As such, there is plenty to like and to admire in this new, seven-part drama (starring first Isla Johnston then Anya Taylor-Joy as the prodigy Beth Harmon). We watch her become addicted both to the pills handed out – legally, apparently, in the 1950s when her story begins – to the children every day to keep them calm and compliant and, gradually, to the chess board and the control and solace it offers. Mr Shaibel (Bill Camp) introduces her to the coach of the local high school’s chess team and from thereon she is away, powering through the ranks until she becomes a giant-slaying grandmaster. Adoption by a local couple does not turn out to be the hoped-for domestic idyll, but when the husband abandons his alcoholic wife, Alma (a heartbreaking performance by Marielle Heller, more usually found directing the likes of A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood and Can You Ever Forgive Me?), she and Beth form a fragile connection that is strengthened when Alma discovers that winning chess tournaments can be quite the money-spinner. Soon they are travelling the country and then the world together, with Alma turning Beth into her drinking buddy as they go. She’s a pill-popper, too, and refilling her prescriptions provides Beth with a nice little supply of tablets of her own.


It looks gorgeous, the main performances are superb, the vital chess exposition neatly done and the true meaning of each game to Beth is made clear, whether spiritual battle, learning curve, inner reckoning, occasional flirtation, retreat from or re-emergence into the world. However, without the anchoring point of a true story behind it all, it has the feeling of a fairytale rather than the sports movie or biopic its trajectory and tropes keep pointing viewers towards. Beth’s rise is virtually frictionless. Her first loss doesn’t come until halfway through the series, her addictions don’t hamper her until even later, and as a young woman in the male-dominated world of 60s chess she meets virtually no sexism, let alone predatory behaviour. The men she faces across the board and trounces sometimes look a bit cross, but are for the most part nobly admiring, and Beth’s greatest source of annoyance seems to be the magazine interviews that keep referring to her as “a female chess genius”.


Though it tries to rise to the height of commentary – on the thin line between genius and madness, how we may be hoist by our own self-sabotage petards, whether we can hope to overcome our inner and/or our chemical demons – The Queen’s Gambit functions best and for the most part as a wish-fulfilment, rags-to-riches fantasy. Will she win again, this 64-square hustler? Yes! Will she learn and grow from her (board-based) mistakes before a Soviet superplayer and show him the colour of her money next time? Yes! What would it be like to be that good at something that young? To be born – fall to earth, you might say – with the kind of mind that vaults you immediately, unstoppably into a tiny elite and brings you global glory? Unlike chess, The Queen’s Gambit is slightly less than the sum of its parts, but you will have a great deal of fun watching them at work.

Thursday 26 November 2020

Understanding Camilla's Side Of The Story // The Crown's fake history is as corrosive as fake news // ‘The Crown’ Stokes an Uproar Over Fact vs. Entertainment

Why we should stop painting Camilla as a villain

By Brittani Barger  22nd November 2020


For decades, many have painted the Duchess of Cornwall as a villain cast opposite of Diana’s hero. It is past time for that narrative to stop.


I was struck by how the Duchess is being, again, painted as the villain while watching the latest series of The Crown. We see her as the other woman, running around with the Prince of Wales while he was married to Diana. It is important to remember that these two loved each other from the beginning, and it was the Royal Family who would not allow them to be together. If they had had it their way, they would have been married to each other from the beginning. Now, I’m not condoning an extramarital affair, but there is more to this story than gets reported.


Has she made mistakes? Yes, but I beg you to find someone on the planet who has not made a mistake in their life. You won’t be able to find one.


Camilla has been a member of the Royal Family for 15 years now. She has kept her head down and gotten to work, never complaining. The Duchess works with many organisations including the Animal Care Trust, BookTrust, Children’s Hospice South West, Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, Elephant Family, and the Royal Osteoporosis Society. Overall, she supports over 90 organisations where she is either the patron or president.


Since becoming a member of the Royal Family, the Duchess of Cornwall has become one of the most loved members, especially by the press. She is always so friendly and warm to the media who she knows is at engagements to do their jobs. She smiles and helps them get good photographs for their stories, knowing that the causes she’s championing will be focused on, as well.


Camilla always has a smile and jokes with those, including the press, around her. She will hop into a new ambulance helicopter named after her and share a laugh with the service personnel there, just like she will put on a virtual reality headset to give it a spin. The Duchess of Cornwall is relatable and is passionate about the causes close to her heart and those close to the hearts of other members of the Royal Family.


She’s also the only member of the Royal Family who personally responds to the majority of those who write to her, personally signing letters sent to well-wishers.


She has worked tirelessly to gain the Royal Family, press and public’s approval. It has not been an easy road, but after decades, I think it is time that the Duchess of Cornwall gets a break. It’s time that the media and Hollywood stop painting her as the villain. She does so much good for the UK and has been a fantastic ambassador for the Royal Family and the United Kingdom since she married the Prince of Wales.


We should also take into consideration that Camilla helped to raise Diana’s boys after Diana’s tragic death in a 1997 car crash. Camilla married the Prince of Wales in 2005 and had been a part of Princes William and Harry’s lives for years. Both William and Harry have now married and have children of their own; for Princes George and Louis, Princess Charlotte and Archie, Camilla is the only paternal grandmother they will ever know (they will undoubtedly know of ‘Granny Diana’ but they can’t know her in person). From interactions we’ve seen of Camilla with the children, we can see the love she has for them and the love they have for her. I’m sure Diana is happy that Camilla is there to show her grandchildren and children love and be there for them since she can’t. Camilla and Diana may not have gotten along, but the most important thing to Diana was her two boys. Nothing would make her happier than to look down to see them having a stable mother figure in their lives who cares about them, and the same can be said about her grandchildren.


Now it should be noted that I’m a fan of Diana, and I’ve found her inspirational. As a child, she was THE princess, the one who made me believe that princesses were not just in Disney stories. However, I’m not blinded by her; I know she was not perfect. She made mistakes, and we can’t act as though she was a saint, just as we can’t act as though Camilla is a villain.

The Crown's fake history is as corrosive as fake news

Simon Jenkins

The popular TV series about the royal family is reality hijacked as propaganda, and a cowardly abuse of artistic licence


Mon 16 Nov 2020 17.13 GMT


When you turn on your television tonight, imagine seeing the news acted rather than read. Someone looking like Boris Johnson furiously screaming at his fiancee, Carrie Symonds; Dominic Cummings vomiting into a can; and the Queen told to piss off. Afterwards the BBC flashes up a statement saying all this was “based on true events”, and hoping we enjoyed it.


The royal family series The Crown has garnered plaudits for its acting and brickbats for its inaccuracies, almost all of them derogatory towards living or recently dead individuals. The new series, on Netflix, appears to have upped the fabrication and the offence. The scriptwriter, Peter Morgan, admits: “Sometimes you have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”


This sounds like a dangerous distinction. Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006) was uncomplimentary but a plausible recreation of events around the death of Diana. Olivia Colman’s sour-faced parody of the monarch on Netflix left us guessing which parts were true and which false. It was fake history. The words and actions of living individuals were made up to suit a plot that could have been scripted by Diana’s biggest supporters.


The historian Hugo Vickers has already detailed eight complete fabrications in the new series, all caricaturing the royal family in the worst possible light. They are:


1. Lord Mountbatten wrote a letter to Prince Charles the day before his death.


2. The royal family laid protocol traps to humiliate Margaret Thatcher on a visit to Balmoral.


3. Princess Margaret ridiculed Princess Diana for not being able to curtsey.


4. Prince Charles called Camilla Parker Bowles every day in the early years of his marriage.


5. Princess Diana threw a tantrum on a visit to Australia and forced the plans to be changed.


6. Princess Margaret visited two of the Queen’s cousins, who had been placed in a “state lunatic asylum” to avoid embarrassing the monarchy.


7. The Queen was responsible for leaking her view of Thatcher as “uncaring”.


8. The Queen was repeatedly shown wrongly dressed for Trooping the Colour.


These are on a par with the “revelations” in an earlier series, one implicating Prince Philip in the Profumo affair and another hinting at infidelity. The intention was clearly to give a shudder of shock to viewers lulled into assuming it was all true.


The royal family can look after themselves, and usually do. I am less sure of history, and especially contemporary history. The validity of “true story” docu-dramas can only lie in their veracity. We have to believe they are true, or why are we wasting our time?


False history is reality hijacked as propaganda. As Morgan implies, his film may not be accurate, but his purpose is to share a deeper truth with his audience: that the royal family were beastly to Diana, and out to get her. Will we next be told they really killed her? Will we have another Oliver Stone falsifying the circumstances around the killing of President Kennedy in JFK?


We all know Shakespeare took liberties with history. There are still writers who struggle to correct his spin, as Richard III knows to his cost. Most historical novelists go to great lengths to verify their version of events, as Hilary Mantel does. So did Tolstoy, in War and Peace. We accept that distant history has time to set its house in order.


That is why modern history must be different. It is too close to what should be sacred ground – bearing witness to passing events. There cannot be one truth for historians, and journalists, their apprentice draftsmen, and another truth called artistic licence.


When millions of viewers are told that both Diana and Thatcher were humiliated by the royal family at Balmoral, we should not have to rely on someone like Vickers to reply that this was utterly untrue. The correction will pass millions of viewers by.


The fib is far more fun. Yet it was curiously unnecessary, since there were plenty of occasions, as in Mirren’s interpretation, when royalty can be shown behaving badly. Morgan could have made his point truthfully.


Laws of privacy, defamation and slander have been built up over years to protect individuals against ever more surveillance and intrusion into personal lives. Most people support them, and increasing numbers use them. The Crown has taken its liberties by relying on royalty’s well-known – and sensible – reluctance to resort to the courts. This is artistic licence at its most cowardly as well as casual.


Fake history is fake news entrenched. To the legions of global cyber-warriors, fakery is legitimate hacking. To the trollers and spinners of lies, to leftwing conspiracy theorists and rightwing vaccine deniers, it is retaliation against power.


To documentary makers for whom ordinary facts are not colourful enough, not sufficiently damning, fake history carries the magic trump card: artistic licence.


Come the great new dawn of social media regulation, someone will build a structure of monitoring and mediating access to the world’s screens. Heaven forbid the equivalent of a board of film censors, but some regulation there must be. All we need is a simple icon in the top corner of the screen. It should read: F for fiction.


• Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

The creator of “The Crown,” Peter Morgan, has never denied taking artistic license with the saga of the royal family.Credit...Des Willie/Netflix


‘The Crown’ Stokes an Uproar Over Fact vs. Entertainment


Dramatic liberties in the latest season of the Netflix series, covering the turbulent 1980s, are annoying Britons who wrote of that period, even among those who disparage the royals.


Mark Landler

By Mark Landler

Nov. 26, 2020


LONDON — On a Saturday night in July 1986, a band of bureaucrats in raincoats — one contingent from Buckingham Palace, the other from 10 Downing Street — converged on a newsstand in a train station to snap up The Sunday Times, fresh off the presses with a bombshell headline: “Queen dismayed by ‘uncaring’ Thatcher.”


It’s a dramatic flourish from the latest season of the “The Crown” — except, according to Andrew Neil, the paper’s editor at the time, it never happened. “Nonsense,” he said. “All first editions are delivered to both” the palace and the prime minister’s residence, making a late-night dash to buy the paper superfluous.


Mr. Neil, who published the famous scoop about tensions between Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher, said the invented scene had allowed Peter Morgan, the creator of the hugely popular Netflix series about the British royal family, to depict 1980s London as a place of “squalor and vagabonds.”


Through four vivid seasons of “The Crown,” Mr. Morgan has never denied taking artistic license with the saga of the royals, playing out their private joys and sorrows against the pageant of 20th-century British history.


Yet “The Crown” is now colliding with the people who wrote the first draft of that history.


That has spun up a tempest in the British news media, even among those who ordinarily profess not to care much about the monarchy. Newspapers and television programs have been full of starchy commentary about how “The Crown” distorts history in its account of the turbulent decade in which Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer and Mrs. Thatcher wrought a free-market revolution in British society.


The objections range from the personal (the queen’s brittle, coldhearted treatment of her emotionally fragile daughter-in-law, which the critics claim is unfair) to the political (the show’s portrait of Thatcher-era Britain as a right-wing dystopia, in the grip of a zealous leader who dares to lecture her sovereign during their weekly audiences). Historians say that is utterly inconceivable.


“There has been such a reaction because Peter Morgan is now writing about events many of us lived through and some of us were at the center of,” said Mr. Neil, who edited The Sunday Times from 1983 to 1994.


Mr. Neil, who went on to be a broadcaster and publisher, is no reflexive defender of the royal family. Suspicious of Britain’s class system, he said he had sympathies for the republican movement in the 1980s. But he grew to admire how the queen modernized the monarchy after the upheaval of those years, and has been critical of renegade royals, like Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.


The events involving Mr. Neil did happen: The queen became frustrated with Mrs. Thatcher when she refused to join the 48 other members of the British Commonwealth in backing sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This highly unusual clash spilled into public when The Sunday Times published its front-page report, attributed to palace officials, which said the royal family viewed Mrs. Thatcher as “uncaring, confrontational and socially divisive.”


But Mr. Neil disputed several elements of “The Crown’s” retelling, not least that Buckingham Palace made the queen’s press secretary, Michael Shea, the scapegoat for the incident. The show depicts his being fired for having leaked the story, even though it suggests that he did so at the queen’s behest. There is no evidence of this, Mr. Neil said, but it fits Mr. Morgan’s “left-wing agenda.”


“He gets to depict Thatcher as pretty much an ally of apartheid while the queen is the sort of person who junks loyal flunkies when things go wrong, even when they are just doing her bidding,” Mr. Neil said.


The brickbats are not just from the right.


Simon Jenkins, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian, regards members of the royal family as artifacts of celebrity culture irrelevant to a country grappling with real-world challenges like Brexit. “They are practically defunct,” he said. “They are like anthropomorphized figures of a head of state.”


Yet he, too, is angered by how “The Crown” portrayed the events of the 1980s, when, as political editor of The Economist, he wrote about how Prince Charles had been drawn to the now-defunct Social Democratic Party. (He based the report on an off-the-record interview with the prince.) Mr. Jenkins said that because this season of “The Crown” deals with contemporary history and people who are still alive, its liberties with the facts are less a case of artistic license than an example of “fake news.”


“I find it offensive when people dump standards of veracity in relating contemporary history,” Mr. Jenkins said. “If I did that as a journalist, I’d be hauled up before the press council while these people get prizes.”


Like others, Mr. Jenkins pointed to an episode-by-episode analysis by Hugo Vickers, a royal historian, which found whoppers large and small in the series and has become Exhibit A for its prevarications.


Not everybody faults Mr. Morgan for filling in the missing pieces with conjured scenes, even if he jumbles the facts in the process. (Mrs. Thatcher’s son, Mark, was not lost in the desert during the Paris-Dakar auto rally just as his mother was preparing to go to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands; hostilities broke out a few months after he was found.)


Charles Moore, a former editor of The Daily Telegraph who wrote a three-volume biography of Mrs. Thatcher, praised Gillian Anderson’s performance as the prime minister, putting it on a par with Meryl Streep’s Oscar-winning turn in the 2011 film “The Iron Lady.” Even a much-criticized episode in which a snobbish queen plays host to a fish-out-of-water prime minister and her husband, Denis, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, struck him as having “the ring of truth,” despite some embellishments.


 “The Crown,” Mr. Moore said, is trying to have it both ways, selling itself to audiences as a true story while clearing out the extraneous debris of facts that would gum up its dramatic narrative. “There is this thing called the tyranny of fact,” he said. “But as we get to modern times, it gets harder to avoid.”


Mr. Morgan declined to respond to the criticisms, though he told The New York Times this month that he was mindful that this season would be held to closer scrutiny. The producers mined the copious news reports of the period, as well as biographies of Charles and Diana, which contained firsthand accounts of their misbegotten union.


What is depicted in the family’s private moments, however, is “an act of creative imagination,” Mr. Morgan has said.


Behind the frustration with “The Crown” is a recognition that, right or wrong, its version of the royal family is likely to serve as the go-to narrative for a generation of viewers, particularly young ones, who do not remember the 1980s, let alone the more distant events covered in earlier seasons.


“They’ll watch it and think this is the way it was,” said Dickie Arbiter, who served as a press secretary to the queen from 1988 to 2000. He took issue with parts of the plot, including a scene in which aides to Charles question Diana about whether she is mentally stable enough to travel alone to New York City.


“I was actually at that meeting,” Mr. Arbiter said. “No courtier would ever say that in a million years.”


The biggest problem, said Penny Junor, who has written biographies of  Charles, Diana and Mrs. Thatcher, is that “The Crown” is a prodigiously effective piece of entertainment. That, she says, poses a particular threat to Charles, who arguably comes off worst in the series and who is likely to ascend the throne before memories of his grim, hunched portrayal have completely faded.


“It is wonderful television,” Ms. Junor said. “It is beautifully acted — the mannerisms are perfect. But it is fiction, and it is very destructive.”


Mark Landler is the London bureau chief. In 27 years at The Times, he has been bureau chief in Hong Kong and Frankfurt, White House correspondent, diplomatic correspondent, European economic correspondent, and a business reporter in New York. @MarkLandler


Wednesday 25 November 2020

BBC Documentary - Land of Hope and Glory British Country Life // A real country gentleman: how to spot one

Land of Hope and Glory British Country Life

For almost 120 years, Country Life magazine has been aspiring to capture the elusive soul of the British countryside, from muddy fields to stately homes. Jane Treays spent a year filming with the magazine, exploring the lives of those who have been bred into the land, inherited it or have simply bought into its dreams.

A real country gentleman: how to spot one

Janet Menzies November 6, 2015


Not all who live in the country are country. To help you spot a real country gentleman, Janet Menzies identifies the fakers in the acres


A real country gentleman is hard to spot. Among the ever-growing tribes of countryside pretenders, they can be few and far between. Janet Menzies separates the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats and the real country gentleman from the boys.


If you consider yourself expert enough to already know a real country gentleman from a fake, take a look at The Field’s 11 things to add to your shooting bucket list or 5 things to add to your hunting bucket list instead. Or what to wear when shooting and what to wear out hunting for some useful tips.



Spotting a real country gentleman is far from easy. Yes, you can recognise one if you come across one – but, among all the different tribes of less-than-genuine country folk, you have to be lucky to see one in the first place. There’s the Rock ’n’ Rural tribe of celebrities who have taken over the houses, and often the role, of the country squire. And what about the Welly Silly brigade flocking in from the towns in their pink polka-dot plastic wellies (rather than gumboots) to live in converted phone boxes? The Terrier-ists – those slightly scary guys bristling with ferrets and dogs – were always here. But are any of them a real country gentleman? It’s often difficult to tell them from the Sabbing Antis, who also wear camo gear and drive quads, but want to catch the hunt at it, rather than join in.


A real country gentleman doesn’t belong to any particular one of the country tribes, and defies stereotyping, but most country and sporting people have a clear idea of what constitutes a real country gentleman, and equally firm views about the fakes. As someone who has guided fishermen and game hunters all over the world, Tarquin Millington-Drake has experience of both. He says, “A real country gentleman is the classic all-rounder – someone who shoots, fishes and hunts (or at least has affinity with all three); who knows their trees and wildflowers; who knows how to handle ver­min of all sorts; and who understands dogs. Such a man or woman will have acute observation skills and great knowledge from the proverbial ‘10,000 hours’ of doing all these things.”


As for the fakes, Mark Gilchrist, pest controller extraordinaire and wild chef, warns: “Fieldsports seem to be moving towards rewarding those with the mantra ‘Fake it till you make it’, who believe that credibility can be bought rather than earned. But a real country gentleman has millions of hours of first-hand experience and, because they spend so much time out in the field, they rarely appear on the radar of any of the media.”


The countryside is changing – some might say disappearing – but a real country gentleman never changes. Perhaps that is why it is so important to be able to identify one. He may well remind us of our own failings, but the real country gentleman is also a role model to follow.


Here’s a rundown of the country tribes.



Easily identifiable by their silly pink diamanté wellies (not gumboots), the Welly Silly tribe is composed mainly of affluent town­ies and B-list celebrities. As they can’t survive without at least 3G mobile, easy motor­way access, a delicatessen, super-fast broadband, a Harvey Nichols branch within 45 minutes’ drive and a BMW dealership, the Home Counties are the shires most heavily infested by this tribe. However, they are gradually increasing their territory westwards and northwards in pursuit of cheaper property. There is a colony in Cheshire around Mottram St Andrew.


Wherever a cluster of Welly Silly develops, it has a disproportionate effect on the area, owing to the tribe’s great energy, media savvy and propensity to complain. Some, such as former Bond girl and Medicine Woman Jane Sey­mour, even write books (Jane Seymour’s Guide to Romantic Living) about how to run barefoot through the dew-soaked grass, and so they naturally become exasperated when the far­mer has spent the night spreading 70 or 80 cubic metres of fresh muck over the said dew. Little is printable about the farmer’s feelings on hav­ing his grass (dew-soaked or otherwise) constantly run through. Many of the Welly Silly tip over into full-on bunny-hugger, such as Queen guit­arist Brian May, the badgers’ new best-friend.



Probably the most truly rural of all the tribes, and the most likely to contain a number of real country gentlemen and women, the Terrier-ists give no thought to creed, class, celebrity status or any other orientation, judging those they meet solely on their ability to set a snare humanely and handle a ferret without losing their dignity (or anything else). The name derives most obviously from their being constantly accompanied by two or three Patter­dale-cross (often very cross) terriers, who live inside their overalls or ride on the back of the quad. However, many people (especially the Welly Silly) believe the name derives from their often terrifying demeanour and undeniable ability to terrorise grockles, especially if they are Sabbing Antis .


Surprisingly, though, it can be very easy to confuse a Terrier-ist with a Sabbing Anti, as the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) knows to its cost. Both tribes tend to charge around the countryside on quads wearing a lot of camo-gear. Tell-tale differences include a ferret’s head peeping out of the Terrier-ist’s pocket, and his propensity to call those on horseback Sir or Madam, something a Sabbing Anti obviously never does. Rosie Whittaker, daughter of Sir Joseph Nickerson, has more than a sneaking admir­ation for the Terrier-ist, as they fulfil her cri­teria for the real country gentleman or woman of having “at least one gundog, terrier(s) and some ferrets. They must also be able to make jam or gut a pheasant, grow vegetables, keep chickens and know their trees.”



The highest-profile of all the country tribes is the Rock ’n’ Rural. Go to any charity gig in the Westcountry and you will find it swarming with A-listers from Sting to Kate Moss. The band playing at your friends’ wedding will feature more rock legends than the Travelling Wilburys. The first thing every rock god, film star or fashionista must do, having made a pile, is to buy a country pile.


Back in the day, it started with Roger Daltrey (the Who) getting heavily into trout, along with contemporaries Kenny Jones (the Small Faces), who started his own polo club, and Char­lie Watts (the Rolling Stones), who needed a retreat more than most. Today the Rock ’n’ Rural tribe is as big as ever, with Matt Bell­amy (Muse), Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) and Lily Allen all determinedly going Westcountry. According to Downton Abbey’s creator, Julian Fellowes, that is because, in the countryside, there’s no celebrity culture. “People are judged on what they do rather than any wealth or fame they have.” He is right, because, no matter how much money they contribute to the church roof, the Rock ’n’ Rurals are constantly judged by country standards. When Madonna was at the height of her twee-tweeds phase, the word went out from loaders that the cartridge ratio on the Ash­combe estate often exceeded the height of the birds.


But some stars do become really rural, such as obsessive fisherman Chris De Margary (Simply Red); Irish MFH James Brown (celebrity hairdresser) and Bryan Ferry’s huntsman son, Otis. Blur captured the tribe perfectly in their 1995 chart-topper, Country House. Ironically, Blur bassist, Alex James, has now become so rural that he makes his own cheese and writes about it in the Daily Telegraph.



Forget animal welfare, forget legislation: hunt-sabbing is the new country sport, and any­one who doubts this can go out on a winter Satur­day and watch the tribe of Sabbing Antis enjoying their fun. At first glance it is mainly the expletive-laden sabbing language that distinguishes them from Terrier-ists – though when the two tribes meet in battle, the vocabulary is ex­treme on both sides.


Before the Hunting Act, the tribe consisted mainly of rather charmingly ineffectual students bussed in from nearby colleges and provided with sandwiches and a promise from their girlfriends. Since the passing of the Hunting Act, they have been replaced by a hard core of rural activists who get their kicks from disrupting the lives of country people.


The paradox is that they copy – indeed, participate in – that same lifestyle. They go hunting every Saturday, and dress and behave much like Terrier-ists. If there is no hunting, they sabotage shooting or even fishing instead. Bizarrely, they have become just as much of a country tribe as any of the others – perhaps even more so than the Silly Welly or the Country Faker tribes.



The more these would-be countrymen try to ape the real thing, the more obvious their efforts, and the farther they are from success. Though a real country gentleman may well possess a pair of green gumboots (often saved for best), the original colour will have been so tarnished by peat bog and dog wee as to be barely green at all, whereas the Country Faker’s gumboots are the box-fresh green of the leather benches in the House of Commons.


It never occurs to a Country Faker that a real country gentleman wears the right footwear for the job, including trainers for beagling. In fact, the lack of such observational skills, and general insensitivity to the workings of the countryside, are among their distinguishing traits. Fishing and safari travel organiser Tarquin Millington-Drake warns: “It’s the people prattling on, none of it making sense, who don’t ring true.” Rabbit supremo and wild chef Mark Gilchrist identifies money as a marker: “They throw money at the problem, like those big, expensive pheasant days, on which they fundamentally misunderstand how to use a shotgun. People who pay big bucks for sport are led to believe they are doing something that is an achievement, but it wouldn’t even count as sport to a real country gentleman, as it doesn’t offer the challenge of outwitting the game.”



Falconer Emma Ford, a former Young Country­woman of the Year: “Real countrywomen have the following identifying feat­ures – mud adhering to clothing; dis-cern­ible whiff of dog; haunted look when presented with a(nother) brace of pheasant; filthy 4×4; no manicure; omnipresent dog whistles round neck; glamour sacrificed in the interests of practicality in choice of country clothing; every hair out of place.”


John Pool, international clay-shot and game-shooting instructor: “Misshapen tweed hat for warmth, not effect. Seem simple, but as sharp as razors. Slow in offering advice to newcomers on water courses, drains, etc, but quick to come to aid with tractors at no charge, though bottle of Scotch never rejected.”


Fishing and safari guide Tarquin Millington-Drake: “I would select a man called John Evans as a real country gentleman. He’s the scruffiest Old Etonian I know, but he can fish for anything in fresh or salt, shoot, trap or whatever anything else, knows his onions in every regard and is as tough as old boots.”


Grouse woman Rosie Whittaker: “Hunting and being able to tow a trailer confidently, especially being able to reverse – I’m in awe of people who can do that. And never complaining about the weather if she’s about to go hunting, shooting or fishing.”


Gunmaker Mark Crudgington: “They are few and far between. A real country gentleman is someone who has an intimate knowledge of the agricultural workings of the countryside old and new, an understanding and sympathy for true rural people as well as an encyclopaedic knowledge of the rural flora and fauna. The 10th Duke of Beaufort stood out for me as a real country gentleman.”


Wild chef Mark Gilchrist: “A real country gentleman creates all their own sport from scratch – they don’t need a syndicate membership, gamekeeper, stalker, guide, friend or family member, just a map of the farm. Above all, they don’t need to tell people they are the real deal.”


Top shot Lord James Percy: “A real country gentleman notices everything – subtle changes in the seasons, the weather, the way the crows are flying, pigeon are feeding, sheep are standing, cattle are lying down. He knows where the weather is coming from. He knows how to skin a rabbit, gralloch a deer and guddle a trout. He knows how to fill the pot with fish or fowl, not just by sporting fly or driven bird but by long-netting and ferreting. He relishes a rat-hunt – digging deep and not letting up until the brute is nailed. He knows trees and plants, little birds, tractors and chainsaws and generally looks after his kit. His logs are always in. He doesn’t shout at his dogs – just a low whistle and gentle encouragement. Oh, and a real country gentleman has a knowing smile when the spivs are out.”

"The 10th Duke of Beaufort stood out for me as a real country gentleman.”