Crown’s version of royal history is ‘piff le’... but it’s the one everyone’s learning, says Marr
THE Crown TV show is ‘historical piffle’ but has been as influential as Shakespeare in shaping perceptions of monarchy, according to Andrew Marr.
The former BBC presenter said the Netflix drama was guilty of a ‘certain amount of hostile manipulation’ of the historical facts as well as of using dramatic licence.
But he added that despite the inaccuracies, the drama had proday
‘Heartless and conniving’
vided a ‘ huge and virtuous re-education’ for viewers on parts of British history that had been almost forgotten.
He even claimed the series had been a ‘ great gift’ to the Royal Family. Marr, 65, was removed from a BBC obituary of the Queen after she died in 2022, having already left to join rival LBC. He had spent years updating the tribute programme.
Royals are said to be bracing themselves for ‘painful’ scenes in the new series of The Crown, which will show Princess Diana appearing as a ghost. Marr, writing about the drama in The SunTimes culture section, said it was part of ‘the American cannibalisation of British history for mass global entertainment’.
He added: ‘As it is, entire generations are getting their understanding of the modern British monarchy from the drama. Understanding or misunderstanding? We will get to that.
‘At any rate, it has been as influential on public perceptions today as William Shakespeare was on the way Tudors, Georgians and Victorians felt about the Plantagenets.’
He said it was ‘ sensible to acknowledge the considerable amount of historical piffle involved, which runs from dramatic licence and reshaping to a certain amount of hostile manipulation’. And he pointed to ‘distortions’, saying it was hardly surprising that the late Prince Philip was upset about the way the show appeared to suggest he was somehow to blame for the fatal journey his sister Cecilie took in 1937. Marr, who hosted a Sunday morning show on BBC1, said the portrayal of the ‘genetically disabled’ first cousins of Queen Elizabeth seemed ‘heavily fictionalised and intended to show the Windsors as heartless and conniving’.
But Marr said writer Peter Morgan had been more sympathetic toward female members of the Royal Family such as the late Queen. He also claimed that ‘having a picture of the monarchy’ was good for the Royal Family and it would be more worrying if they were not portrayed in a ‘top-notch drama’.
He said the show gave a sense of how people used to dress and speak ‘to a generation unlikely to read history books or watch conventional documentary series’.
Marr added: ‘Millions of people in Britain, as well as abroad, now have an unforgettable image of the royals in their heads.’