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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are being blasted by both royal and TV sources for sticking with their Netflix deal in the wake of a slew of tacky depictions of Princess Diana.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are working on a number of projects that are believed to include a fly-on-the wall documentary about their lives after signing a multi-year deal with the streamer in September 2020.
There have been rumblings from royal sources alleging they should not be taking cash from Netflix, however, as it continues to make money from Diana by streaming “The Crown.” The show’s forthcoming fifth season will depict her toughest days, including her Panorama interview amid the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles.
Over the weekend, British filmmaker and socialite Jemima Khan – who was a close friend of Princess Diana’s – reportedly pulled out of helping to script the show because the story was not being handled “as respectfully or compassionately” as she had hoped, she told the UK’s Sunday Times.
One senior TV industry source, who has worked with Netflix, told us: “To me, their silence is deafening. It might be easier to explain their position, had we seen the fruits of their labor on Netflix, but to date nothing has been released, which is leaving some raised eyebrows in the industry as to what Netflix is exactly getting out of their investment.”
Netflix is also streaming the dire “Diana: The Musical.” When asked how Harry’s brother, Prince William, reacted to his mother’s life being recreated, one family source told us, “William has always understood the ongoing interest in his mother.”
“What is never going to be acceptable is the new low that has been reached, the level of exploitation, distracting from the world’s appropriate and respectful legacy,” the source added. “To turn tragedy into disrespectful reverie is never going to be OK.”
Additionally, Meghan is working on an animated Netflix series with David Furnish, the husband of Elton John, while Harry’s working on a series about the Invictus Games.
As Page Six previously revealed, they also brought their own personal videographer and photographer with them on their recent trip to New York.
We’re told that it’s difficult for the couple to do anything until they see “The Crown,” as sources said it would be “unethical” for them to try and stop anything from going ahead.
The royal family as a whole have taken a hard line against “The Crown,” Page Six is told, with most declining to watch it.
Last November, UK Culture secretary Oliver Dowden even argued that fabricated scenes in the drama series were so damaging to the royal family that viewers should be warned at the start of each episode that it was not “fact.”
Harry, however, confirmed in February that he watched the show, telling James Corden, “They don’t pretend to be news. It’s fictional. But it’s loosely based on the truth.”
He continued, “Of course, it’s not strictly accurate, of course not, but loosely it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that.”
In a barb aimed at the British press, Harry added: “I’m way more comfortable with ‘The Crown’ than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself. Because… that [show] is obviously fiction, take it how you will. But this is being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”
In the aforementioned interview with the Sunday Times, Khan revealed that before dropping out, she was brought in to help “Crown” creator Peter Morgan write the script for Season 5, which includes the years leading up to Diana’s tragic death in a Paris car crash in 1997.
The striking blonde had never spoken out about her friendship with Diana before, but told the Times, “It was really important to me that the final years of my friend’s life be portrayed accurately and with compassion, as has not always happened in the past.”
Khan said that once she realized that the stories were going in a direction she did not agree with, she requested that all her contributions be removed and asked not to have a writing credit.
Filming for the next season – which is expected for release in November 2022 – began in July.
Elizabeth Debicki is playing Diana, while Dominic West is taking over as Prince Charles from Josh O’Connor. Imelda Staunton succeeds Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, while Jonathan Pryce replaces Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip and Lesley Manville takes over from Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.
Netflix denied to the Times that Khan had ever been hired as a writer. Reps for Harry and Markle were unavailable for comment.
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