‘Hugely disappointed’: The Crown star Jonathan Pryce hits out at ‘fellow artistes’ after Judi Dench criticism

The Oscar-nominated actor portrays Prince Philip in the forthcoming fifth season of Netflix’s royal drama

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 27 October 2022 14:01 BST
The Crown season 5: First teaser released

Sir Jonathan Pryce says he is “hugely disappointed” by the reaction of his “fellow artistes” to the forthcoming fifth series of The Crown on Netflix.

In recent weeks, both Dame Judi Dench and former prime minister Sir John Major have criticised reported storylines in the forthcoming episodes, which will launch on 9 November.

There have been calls for Netflix to add a disclaimer to the start of each episode stating that The Crown is a “fictionalised drama”.

Speaking to Deadline, Pryce, who plays Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in the new season, said he understood Major “voicing his disquiet because he was there”, but added: “I’m hugely disappointed by my fellow artistes.”

He added that “the vast majority of people know it’s a drama”, arguing that “they’ve been watching it for four seasons”.

Pryce also suggested public criticism of The Crown “came about because of an enhanced sensitivity because of the passing of the Queen”.

Last week, Netflix added a disclaimer its latest trailer in response to the backlash.

It had already described the show as “fictionalised drama” in its press materials, on social media and on The Crown’s landing page on its platform.

Lesley Manville, who plays Princess Margaret in the upcoming series, told the US publication the criticism was “certainly heightened” by the death of the Queen in September.

Imelda Staunton, who plays the Queen, added: “In a way, it is understandable. It is understandable people still feel a bit… like their nerve endings are still a little bit raw.”

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She said she doesn’t think it’s “undignified”, though, continuing: “We think it’s honest and true and respectful. Peter Morgan’s been writing about the Queen since Helen Mirren [was in The Queen]. He obviously adores this family in many ways, and he’ll show both sides of the characters, for good or for worse. He’ll show them and make no judgement, he’ll leave that up to the audience.”

Imelda Staunton as The Queen and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip in ‘The Crown’ (Netflix)

Manville said: “I wouldn’t be involved with something that I felt was crossing the line. I don’t think the series does at all.”

In a letter to The Times this month, Dench argued The Crown had begun to verge on “crude sensationalism”.

Major, meanwhile, described the forthcoming scenes (which will reportedly depict the King, then the Prince of Wales, plotting to oust the Queen) as “malicious nonsense”.

The series is expected to show Charles, played by Dominic West, cutting short a holiday with Diana, Princess of Wales, portrayed by Elizabeth Debicki, to host a secret meeting with the former PM at Highgrove in 1991.

A spokeswoman for The Crown previously said: “The Crown has always been presented as a drama based on historical events.

“Series five is a fictional dramatisation, imagining what could have happened behind closed doors during a significant decade for the royal family – one that has already been scrutinised and well-documented by journalists, biographers and historians.”

The fifth series of The Crown is set to launch on 9 November.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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