The Crown has tackled many tough issues in its four seasons, but the family of Major Hugh Lindsay was hoping the series' writers would skip over his accidental death out of consideration of their grief.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Lindsay's widow, Sarah Horsley, revealed that she was so "horrified" by the idea of the show creators adapting the 1988 disaster for television, she asked them to reconsider including the traumatic event in the fourth season. She explained, "I wrote to them asking them not to do it, not to use the accident. I suppose members of the royal family have to grin and bear it, but for me it's a very private tragedy."
In response, Horsley received what she described as a "very kind letter" stating that the show "understood" her concerns but they were unable to grant her request. She added that the letter expressed their hope she will "feel that they deal with difficult subject matters with integrity and great sensitivity."
Additionally, Horsely said she declined an invitation to see an early screening of the episode.
Horsley explained she is "very concerned about the [episode's] impact on my daughter," who she was pregnant with at the time of the Major's death. "I won't be watching it, it's just too upsetting to see something like that," she said. "Perhaps at some point in the future, Alice and I will watch it quietly together. It will be tough. My daughter has only heard about the accident from me because she wasn't even born when it happened."
"I'm very upset by it and I'm dreading people seeing it," she stated. "I think it's very unkind to many members of the family [to dramatize the accident]."
The skiing accident, which happened near Klosters, Switzerland in March 1988, was addressed in episode nine of the series, which was titled "Avalanche." In the episode, Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) are forced to make a decision regarding their future together, with the avalanche serving as a symbol of their otherwise failed marriage.
Charles survived the incident unscathed, along with friend Patricia Palmer-Tomkinson, who sustained severe leg injuries and lung problems. Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson accompanied the group on their ski trip, but decided to stay back at the lodge that morning.
Diana went on to recall Lindsay's death in recorded conversations with Andrew Morton, which he included in the biography Diana: In Her Own Words. She told the writer, "The whole thing was ghastly and what a nice person he was. Out of all the people who went it should never have been him."
Though The Crown gives an exhaustive look into the life of the British royal family, Netflix has admitted it's a dramatization. Series creator Peter Morgan himself stated, "Sometimes you have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth."
"I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven't," Spencer said in a recent interview. "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."