The Crown has continued to attract an enormous viewership since its debut in 2016. As the sixth and final series of the hit Netflix show lands on the platform, it's set to tackle some of the most contentious storylines (and historical events) to date.
But the question that we’re sure many are itching to know is whether the Royal Family are among the millions tuning in to watch the acclaimed 'historical fictionalisation' of their lives.
While there has been much hearsay, Prince Harry set the record straight during one of the stops on his transatlantic book-touting tour, revealing that he does indeed watch – and fact-check – the smash hit.
In a segment of Harry’s interview on The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert asked him outright if he has seen the series, to which he replied, 'Yes I have actually watched The Crown', revealing that he has seen the 'older stuff and more recent stuff'.
Harry did not weigh in on the episodes he has watched. But the 'more recent stuff' could be alluding to the recreations of the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage (season five) or his mother’s battle with bulimia (season four). The 'older stuff' delves into The Queen’s early reign, including rumours of Prince Philip's infidelity.
After the admission, Stephen went on to ask Harry whether he fact-checks the content.
'Yes, I do actually,' the Duke of Sussex laughed while miming taking notes.
This is not the first occasion Prince Harry has spoken about The Crown. In 2021, Harry told James Corden, 'It's fictional, but it's loosely based on the truth. Of course, it's not strictly accurate but loosely, it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service and family above everything else, what can come from that.
'I'm way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself. Because it's the difference between that [The Crown] is obviously fiction but this being reported as fact because you're supposedly the news. I have a real issue with that.'
The late Queen Elizabeth II was also thought to be among the show's legion of viewers. But there were rumours that the goodwill felt from early episodes - and the depiction of the Queen as a young monarch - may have dissipated once the show began to catch up with modern times.
According to The Daily Express, the monarch was reportedly persuaded to start watching the rumoured £100million show by her son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
When season four was released in 2020, a royal source told the newspaper, ‘Edward and Sophie love The Crown.
‘It has been a longstanding arrangement that they drive to Windsor [Castle] at the weekend to join the Queen for an informal supper while watching TV or a film. They have a Netflix account and urged her to watch it with them,’ the source added.
‘Happily, she really liked it, although obviously there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatised.'
Despite this, others reports suggested that the Queen did not take to the third series as well. A Sunday Times Magazine acknowledged this, fearing that the same may be said for the fourth. 'If there were rumours of Elizabeth II being unhappy about the last series of The Crown, I can't imagine she'll be chuffed about this one.'
While the script is rooted in historical fact, showrunner Peter Morgan hasn’t shied away from tackling some of the more controversial episodes in royal history, such as Princess Margaret’s ill-fated love affair with divorcé Peter Townsend. Plus, some characters in the show have been entirely made up to fit the demands of the story. King Charles was reportedly particularly unhappy about this.
It seems that the Queen, Prince Harry, Edward and Sophie, though, are not the only members of the royal family to have watched the Netflix show. Her granddaughter Princess Eugenie admitted to having watched ‘a couple of episodes of The Crown.’
‘The music is wonderful, the story is beautiful. You feel very proud to watch it. I can’t speak for everyone but that’s how I felt when I watched it,’ she said.