Prince Harry faces renewed criticism over his support for Netflix—where he has a $100 million deal—after it was revealed the fifth series of The Crown will feature an entire episode devoted to his mother’s controversial 1997 interview with Martin Bashir.
The interview was the subject of an inquiry this year which found that, among many other fabrications and deceptions, Bashir ordered up fake bank statements to stoke Princess Diana’s paranoia. The statements falsely suggested key and trusted members of her and her family’s staff were in the pay of the media and the British security services.
Harry roundly condemned the BBC after the inquiry was published, saying the interview contributed to his mother’s death. He said that the “ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life… Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication. Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed.”
Now, however, the Sun reports that Netflix is to devote an entire episode of the new season of its marquee show to the interview with Bashir, in which Diana famously accused Charles of adultery by saying, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
Harry has previously attempted to defend The Crown by saying it is “obviously fictional.”
In an interview with his friend James Corden he compared The Crown positively to news stories about his family, saying: “It’s fictional. But it’s loosely based on the truth. Of course it’s not strictly accurate.”
He said the show gave a “rough idea” of the toll of “putting duty and service above family and everything else”, but added: “I am way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing stories written about my family or my wife. 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.”
However, critics have consistently suggested that Harry’s reluctance to speak out about the streamer’s exploitation of his mother’s life is connected to his 2020 deal with the company.
Earlier this month, Netflix dropped a live version of the musical Diana on its service and again there was no reaction from Harry.
It seems the famous Panorama interview will get the full The Crown treatment, with a source telling the Sun: “The Crown’s creators see the interview as the keystone moment in series five. To the writers, the stormy marriage between Charles and Di led up to her outpouring on Panorama, and the aftermath of that decision defined her final months.
“They are making a huge investment in that. The Crown has a track record of delving into areas of the Royal Family’s history they’d rather be left alone.”
Season 5 is due to air in November 2022.