The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed a historic deal with the global streaming service Netflix earlier this year, at an estimated value of £112million. The multi-year contract will enable the couple to produce documentaries, mini-series and animations based on the causes close to their hearts, such as climate change and female empowerment. While the deal has allowed the Sussexes to stand on their own two feet financially after leaving the royal frontline, fans soon noticed how the pair could encounter a conflict of interest.
Netflix’s drama, The Crown, presents key events from the Queen’s reign with a fictional twist — and is among the platform’s most popular shows.
Season four emphasises the image of Prince Charles as an adulterer who loves another married woman, while his wife Princess Diana is depicted as the ideal People’s Princess — a narrative which could now threaten Charles’ reputation.
But royal biographer Howard Hodgson explained that, despite the focus on his own parents’ chaotic marriage, Harry will not be speaking out against The Crown because of his Netflix deal.
Mr Hodgson told Express.co.uk: “I think he might be quite worried about speaking out against Netflix, because it might damage the relationship.
“He may perceive Netflix as the hand that feeds him.”
Princess Diana and Prince Charles as portrayed in The Crown, and Prince Harry
Archie, Meghan and Harry now live in the US and are financially independent of the Royal Family
Indeed, the Sussexes have made substantial changes to their lifestyle since signing the contract.
Harry and Meghan have managed to pay back the taxpayer for their £2.4million Frogmore Cottage renovation costs and have reportedly stopped their allowance from Prince Charles since signing the deal.
They also bought a mansion in California, which is estimated to be worth £11million with astronomical running costs.
Although he is reliant on the deal for his income, Harry is still arguably the royal in the best position to speak up against The Crown.
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Meghan and Harry’s lives have changed completely over the last year as they stepped away from the Royal Family
Meghan and Harry now rely on the Netflix deal as their main source of income, it is believed
He is no longer tied to the ‘never complain, never explain’ royal mantra since Megxit, unlike his other immediate family members.
Even before he left royal life, he frequently spoke up against negative coverage of his wife Meghan and of himself, quickly condemning any stories he deemed false.
Yet when it comes to other royals, his camp has remained reticent.
Prince Charles’ friends have spoken out against The Crown and declared the latest season to be “trolling on a Hollywood budget” because of its negative portrayal of the heir in his first marriage.
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Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin played Charles and Diana in The Crown’s season four
The Crown depicts the difficulties in Diana and Charles’ relationship, and one or two happy moments
Another source told the Daily Mail that William has strong sentiments, too.
The insider said: “The Duke of Cambridge is none too pleased with it. He feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money.”
Royal biographer Angela Levin told talkRADIO that during her first meeting with Harry back in 2017, the show was the first thing he mentioned.
Harry told her “we’re all absolutely watching everything” on The Crown.
The Crown’s cast posing at The Royal Family at Christmas in approximately 1990
He added: “But I’m going to insist it stops before it reaches me.”
The Sussexes’ deal did lead to speculation that they may produce documentaries based on their time in the Royal Family, too.
Yet, sources close to the pair suggested they still wanted to produce content “in a respectful tone to the Queen, the monarchy and very much on their missions”, according to commentator Katie Nicholl.
She explained: “It’s not going to be in the style of The Crown or a royal documentary series. I’m sure that really isn’t on the table.
“If there are concerns in the Palace, Harry and Meghan are making it really clear there is no need for concern.”
Still, other insiders suggest Harry did not inform the Queen about the historic deal until he made it public.
A source explained that the monarch would have disapproved.
They said: “[The Queen’s] view is simple, the royals are not for sale and danger surrounds high profile roles outside of the institution itself.”