Peter Morgan’s Oscar winning film The Queen was a forerunner to Netflix’s The Crown, but it provides story problems for the show’s final season.
One of the biggest stories in The Crown season 6 will involve Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, but the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, has already dramatized this chapter in royal history. Directed by Stephen Frears, 2006’s The Queen focused on the discussions between Helen Mirren’s Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and prime minister Tony Blair, played by Michael Sheen, in the immediate aftermath of the Paris car crash in which Princess Diana lost her life. The Queen was a forerunner to The Crown in many ways, particularly in how it focuses on the British Monarchy’s struggle to remain relevant in changing times.
The Queen depicted Blair’s attempts to convince the British crown to back a state funeral for Diana in response to the huge outpouring of public grief. His attempts were complicated by centuries of royal protocol, and the Princess of Wales’ status following the divorce of Prince Charles and Diana in 1996. The Queen was critically acclaimed upon release, and Helen Mirren won Best Actress at the 79th Annual Academy Awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. It will be hard for The Crown season 6 to tell the story of the royal family’s response to Diana’s death without essentially remaking Morgan’s 2006 feature film script.
The Crown’s Creator Risks Repeating Himself In Season 6
The end of The Crown season 5 depicted the election of Labour MP Tony Blair as the UK prime minister in 1997. Given that previous seasons of The Crown have focused on the Queen’s relationships with her past prime ministers, season 6 will surely feature scenes set during her weekly conversations with Blair. The problem for The Crown season 6 is that Bertie Carvel as Blair and Imelda Staunton as the Queen will inevitably be compared to the performances by Michael Sheen and Helen Mirren. Having them repeat events depicted in The Queen also feels somewhat redundant, especially considering Peter Morgan’s involvement in both.
The Crown has provided a fascinating look at the restrictive traditions and protocols that often stand in the way of members of the royal family living normal lives. In The Crown season 5, the separation of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and the ensuing media storm forced the Queen to choose between her position as the head of the Church of the England and the public image of the British Monarchy. What is known about The Crown season 6 is that it will deal with the events leading up to Diana’s death, and the events that took place in its aftermath, but will need to tell a different story this time round.
How The Crown Season 6 Can Tackle The Aftermath Of Diana’s Death Differently
In The Queen, the character of Prince Charles was largely sidelined, which does allow The Crown to explore the impact of Diana’s death differently by focusing more on him. Christopher Andersen, author of the biography The King: The Life of Charles III, told US Weekly in 2022 that he believes Charles was “haunted” by agreeing to his sons William and Harry joining the funeral procession. Given recent revelations from Prince Harry about life in the public eye, Morgan may decide this is the story he wants to tell, which may invite controversy for The Crown season 6.
Another controversial storyline distinct from The Queen would be the response to Diana and Dodi’s deaths by Mohamed Al-Fayed. For years after the accident, Al-Fayed privately funded investigations into the crash, believing Diana and his son had been killed as part of a conspiracy. Although a fascinating story, it is one that would require careful handling. Whatever route season 6 takes, the death of Diana was such a seismic event that the ripples will likely inspire several unique stories in The Crown‘s final season.