Do royals watch The Crown? It’s a question many have wondered since the Netflix series’s very first season, and one which may never be answered definitively. At this point, they’ve certainly heard of it; series creator Peter Morgan even stops by Buckingham Palace four times a year to effectively share spoilers with the administration. He can count on them to keep quiet. Buckingham Palace has shut down all inquiries with increasing bluntness—most recently in an email (“I am sorry but we never comment on The Crown”) to the New York Times last year.
Four seasons in, Prince Harry has shed a teeny a bit of light on the mystery. The 36-year-old has confirmed that he is among the show’s millions of viewers, and, somewhat surprisingly, also among its fans. “They don’t pretend to be news. It’s fictional, but it’s loosely based on the truth,” Harry said on Thursday’s episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden. “Of course, it’s not strictly accurate. It gives you a rough idea of what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that.”
Harry and Meghan Markle have never shied from critiquing their portrayals in the tabloids, which they have occasionally sued. To Harry, there’s a clear connection between how the British press has (mis)treated his late mother, Princess Diana, and his wife. (Though the latter has of course also been subject to racism.) “Everything that [Diana] went through and what happened to her is incredibly raw, every single day, and that’s not me being paranoid, that’s just me not wanting a repeat of the past,” he said in a 2019 documentary.
As for himself, Harry told Corden that the British press had created “a difficult environment,” which was “destroying [his] mental health” to the point that he chose to step back from his royal duties. But a semi-fictional Netflix show is a different matter. “I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife, or myself,” he continued. “That is obviously fiction, take it how you will. But this is being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”
Harry was introduced as a character in The Crown’s most recent season, though hardly as a main character; the actor playing him, six-year-old Arran Tinker, appeared in just two episodes and didn’t have lines. (Though it’s likely that his successors—whom Harry hopes include Billions actor Damian Lewis—in seasons 5 and 6.) Markle has been spared entirely from any on-screen treatment. Morgan recently confirmed that the show’s sixth and final season will lead up to the early 2000s, bypassing Megxit and another royal scandal: the fallout from Prince Andrew’s ties to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, beginning with the royal’s disastrous BBC interview.