On Screen: The Crown: Season 6, Part 1

The Crown: Season 6, Part 1

The global soap opera known as the British Royal Family continues with “The Crown: Season 6, Part 1,” revolving around the final days of Diana, Princess of Wales (Elizabeth Debicki), and her ill-fated romance with Dodi Fayed (Khalid Abdalla) back in the summer of 1997.

What’s fascinating — and unexpected — is how series creator Peter Morgan focuses on the persistent photographers whom doe-eyed Diana, at first, courted, then despised, and how the austere Queen (Imelda Staunton) and Prince Charles (Dominic West) eventually participated in the social media frenzy.

Apparently, after the tabloids were filled with Diana canoodling with Dodi in St. Tropez, Prince Charles agreed to counterstrike with staged photographs of Prince William and Prince Harry at Balmoral Castle in Scotland — in addition to trying to gain public acceptance of his ongoing affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles.

So how do viewers separate fact from fiction? Let’s examine some salient points:

FACT: When Mohamed al-Fayed summoned his eldest son Dodi to his Jonikal yacht, Dodi was engaged to model Kelly Fisher, who later sued him, alleging breach of contract.

FICTION: The manipulative father/son conversations, Dodi’s ambivalence and Diana’s articulate empathy are figments of Peter Morgan’s imagination. However, as shown in earlier seasons, Mohamed al-Fayed was obsessed with the Royals, hiring King Edward VIII’s former valet and then buying/restoring Edward and Wallis’s former Paris home, renaming it Villa Windsor.

FACT: Diana enjoyed psychic readings with Rita Rogers, a Derbyshire medium of Romany origin, and Dodi accompanied her to one on August 12, 1977. Ms. Rogers had told her she would meet a man of foreign descent with the initial ‘D’ and that man would be connected with the film industry. Dodi was impressed and intrigued. “The Crown”

FICTION: Peter Morgan deduced their conversation from various reports.

FACT: Dodi bought Diana a ring in Paris and proposed marriage; that ring inscribed with ‘Dis-Moi Oui’ (‘Tell Me Yes’) was later found in his flat.

FICTION: When, how and why Dodi proposed was dramatized, along with Diana’s response. From “Elvis” to “Oppenheimer” to “Napoleon,” biopic writers fictionalize dialogue because no one knows exactly who said what to whom.

FACT: In his memoir “Spare,” Prince Harry wrote that when Prince Charles broke the tragic news, he didn’t hug his son: “He wasn’t great at showing emotions under normal circumstances, how could he be expected to show them in such a crisis? … Pa didn’t hug me but his hand did fall once on my knee and he said, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ That was quite a lot for him … And so very untrue.”

FICTION: Prince Charles is shown being openly affectionate in comforting Princes William and Harry after their mother’s death.

So what about the appearance of Diana’s ‘ghost,’ a spirit haunting not only Prince Charles but also the Queen? Cheesy melodrama!

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Crown: Season 6, Part 1” is an irresistible 8 — with four episodes streaming on Netflix.


Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures. Her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M.

As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O’Brien, and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism.

During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie and drama critic, syndicating her reviews and articles around the world, including Video Librarian. She has appeared on American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies. In 2017, her book 150 Timeless Movies was published by Hannacroix Creek Books. Her website is www.susangranger.com.

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