Princess Diana’s brother has revealed he refused permission for Netflix to film The Crown at their family’s stately home in order to protect her memory.
Earl Spencer says he was approached by the programme’s makers to use the Althorp estate in Northamptonshire as a location but said no because the drama is so factually inaccurate and misleading.
The latest series of the hit show, which covers Diana’s disastrous marriage to Prince Charles, has been at the centre of a storm of controversy.
There has been anger at distressing footage showing the princess’s battle with bulimia in graphic detail, as well as over fictitious and highly misleading scenes purporting to depict her life with the heir to the throne.
Critics say The Crown’s sumptuous sets and attention to detail, which is interspersed with actual news footage from the time, has misled many unfamiliar with the story into thinking it is an accurate depiction of events, as opposed to ones that have been largely dramatised and re-imagined for entertainment purposes.
And Earl Spencer, 56, who is no fan of the Royal Family, agrees.
Earl Spencer said he refused to allow Netflix access to Diana’s family home, Althorp in Northamptonshire (pictured) because their series The Crown is ‘factually inaccurate’
Pictured is Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles in Netflix’s The Crown
Speaking on Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh, which will be broadcast on ITV tomorrow [SUN], he admits to feeling ‘unease’ when watching the programme.
He said: ‘There is a bit. Actually, The Crown asked if they could film at Althorp and I said obviously not.
‘The worry for me is that people see a programme like that and they forget that it is fiction. They assume, especially foreigners…
‘I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.’
Earl Spencer did not clarify when he was approached by the programme makers, but several scenes in the first series of the new series are centred around Charles and Diana’s first meeting, which the show – wrongly – suggests took place at Althorp.
These were filmed at Ragley Hall, a country house located in Warwickshire.
Asked how truthful the show is, Earl Spencer added: ‘It is very hard, there is a lot of conjecture and a lot of invention, isn’t there? You can hang it on fact but the bits in between are not fact.’
Earl Spencer, who famously laid down a gauntlet to the Royal Family at his sister’s funeral in 1997 when he vowed that her ‘blood family’ would protect her two sons from the burden of ‘duty and tradition’, said he still felt a strong instinct to protect and honour her memory.
Earl Spencer revealed his stance over the use of the house to Alan Titchmarsh on the programme Love Your Weekend. It will be shown on Sunday at 10am
He told Mr Titchmarsh: ‘I feel it is my duty to stand up for her when I can. She left me for instance as guardian of her sons etc, so I feel there was a trust passed on.
‘And we grew up together, you know if you grow up with somebody they are still that person, it doesn’t matter what happens to them later. So yeah, I feel very passionately that I have a role to honour her memory.’
Pictured above is Earl Spencer
But asked if he feels he has that role today with Prince William and Prince Harry, he replied: ‘Oh no, because they are grown up now but I would always have honoured that incredible entrustment.’
His words are particularly poignant in the light of recent accusations concerning Diana’s historic 1995 interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir for Panorama.
Mr Bashir has been accused by Earl Spencer of providing him with faked bank statements purporting to show that his own staff were being bribed to provide information on his family in order to facilitate an introduction to his sister.
He has led calls for the BBC to hold an independent enquiry into the scandal.
In a letter to the BBC’s Governor General Tim Davie, the aristocrat accused the national broadcaster of ‘sheer dishonesty’ and said: ‘That a publicly-funded media corporation with a reputation for the highest form of journalism stooped so deep in the gutter is beyond belief. And yet it is so.’
Love Your Weekend will be shown on Sunday, November 22 on ITV at 10am.