Princess Diana's voice coach has weighed in on the ongoing debate surrounding The Crown's interpretation of real-life events. The Netflix original series depicts the British royal family through the decades of Queen Elizabeth's reign, beginning when she first became queen and currently going through to the '80s. With four seasons under its belt, the series has faced criticism and even calls for a "fiction" disclaimer.
In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Stewart Pearce, who served as Diana's voice and life coach in the final years of her life, weighed in on the debate, agreeing that the content shown to viewers is more based on fiction than reality. Pearce said the Peter Morgan-created series "is not a semi-fictionalized drama-documentary." Instead, The Crown "is a completely fictionalized account of the vicissitudes, opinions and attitudes of Royal Observers or Biographers," according to Pearce, whose book Diana: The Voice of Change: Revelations About Diana's Life Principles releases on June 15.
Although a popular series on the streaming platform, it has come under scrutiny on multiple occasions for how it presents the royal family's story. Most recently, some viewers, critics, and even the series' stars called for a disclaimer clarifying that the series is a dramatized and fictional retelling of the British royal family's lives be added. Netflix, however, rejected that demand, with a spokesperson telling Variety at the time, "we have always presented The Crown as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it's a work of fiction that's broadly based on historical events. As a result, we have no plans — and see no need — to add a disclaimer."
While Pearce may caution viewers from taking what is shown onscreen as truth, there is one aspect of the series he approves of: its portrayal of the late princess. The most recent season of the Netflix original introduced Diana and her romance with Prince Charles and the troubles in that relationship, and the harsh media attention she faced. Pearce said that in watching the season, he was "relieved the depiction of Diana's wrought emotional state was neither trivialized nor vilified" by actress Emma Corrin's portrayal of the royal. He added, "perhaps this depiction will assist the awakening support of the Mental Health issues that both Harry and Meghan with Oprah are pioneering."
The upcoming fifth season of the series will put even more focus on Diana as it documents the royal family's lives throughout the '90s, meaning it will cover her tragic death in 1997 at the age of 36. Filming on the season is set to begin in July, the same month that would have marked Diana's 60th birthday. As her sons, Prince Harry and Prince William, prepare to reunite for a statue unveiling in the U.K. to honor the late princess, Pearce remembered Diana as a "truly empathetic" person who had an "exquisite inner being" and a "powerful intuition." He added that her "voice embodied the zeitgeist of the 1980-'90s," and her "legacy shines on through her spirit continuing to be a figurehead for the liberation of women globally."