The Crown’s Jonathan Pryce Slams “Damaging and Hurtful” Critics of the Show

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Jonathan Pryce, who plays Prince Philip on season five of Netflix's The Crown, spoke out about those who demanded a disclaimer be added to the show.

By Daniel Trainor Oct 28, 2022 10:14 PMTags
Watch: Dame Judi Dench SLAMS The Crown as "Cruelly Unjust"

Jonathan Pryce is defending The Crown.

The 75-year-old actor, who takes over the role of Prince Philip on season five of the Netflix drama, responded to recent criticisms of the show—including Dame Judi Dench's call for a disclaimer to be added—in an exclusive interview with E! News.

"Five seasons in," Pryce said, "it's really underestimating your audience to think that they don't know it's a drama."

While Pryce acknowledged that much of the uproar has "come out of the sensitivity surrounding the Queen's death," it hasn't made him any more sympathetic to the argument.

"Some of the words that are used is that the series is ‘damaging and hurtful,'" Pryce said of The Crown's detractors. "I found it personally damaging and hurtful because it was questioning my integrity and my belief in this series. I do believe in it, and I do believe in the honesty of it."

Pryce further argued that critics are missing out on a major opportunity for introspection. 

"It's a drama that helps you understand a particular family and, in doing so," he said, "will help you understand your own family and your own humanity."

The Crown Season 5 Photos

In an Oct. 19 letter written to U.K. publication The Times, Dench called the upcoming fifth season "crude sensationalism" and pointed to one scene in particular, from the season's first episode, which reportedly shows then-Prince Charles (Dominic West) attempting to convince former U.K. Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) to persuade Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) to abdicate the throne.

"Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series—that King Charles plotted for his mother to abdicate, for example, or once suggested his mother's parenting was so deficient that she might have deserved a jail sentence," Dench wrote, "this is both cruelly unjust to the individuals and damaging to the institution they represent."

Thus, Dench demanded Netflix add "a disclaimer at the start of each episode."

Days later, the streaming service added a note to the show's description on YouTube and Twitter, reading, "Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatisation tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign."

Previous seasons' descriptions have included similar language, however none have included the word "fictional."

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Apple

Season five of The Crown premieres Nov. 9 on Netflix.

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