Queen’s cousin labels The Crown’s portrayal of Margaret as ‘fiction pretending to be fact’
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The Netflix hit show was branded by David Bowes-Lyon as “fiction pretending to be fact” and that the scene caused “frustration” within the Royal Family. The episode refers to two of the Queen Mother’s nieces, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, who suffered severe learning difficulties and attended an institution since their early years.
In the episode, Princess Margaret begins to investigate after finding out she had two cousins from her therapist.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Bowes-Lyon debunked the fictional storyline, adding that the Princess knew who they were.
He said: “She knew who they were in every respect, as you would any cousin.
“We spoke about them when discussing relatives in general, talking over dinner and lunches. She knew exactly who they were and what had happened.
“It is completely wrong to say they were forgotten and certified as lunatics.”
He went on to explained that, despite having dementia, the two cousins received frequent visits at at the Royal Earlswood Hospital in Redhill.
Mr Bowes-Lyon added that recently Lady Elizabeth Shakerley who died some weeks ago, asserted to him the two women “were by no means abandoned and forgotten.”
He said: “I’m probably the only member of the family who could publicly say anything about this.
“It’s more difficult for members of the Royal Family, and the younger generation was not around.
“I wouldn’t say there is upset in the family, but I think people are frustrated and would like the record put straight.
“The royals are pretty immune to criticism but in terms of historical record, people should know.”
But recently, Netflix faced calls to include a “health warning” for its Royal Family-inspired drama.
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Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has thrown his support behind petitions for the show to feature a warning sign at the beginning of each episode.
During an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine: “I think it would help The Crown an enormous amount if – at the beginning of each episode – it stated that: ‘This isn’t true, but it is based around some real events’.
“Then, everyone would understand it’s drama for drama’s sake.
“Obviously Netflix wants to make a lot of money and that’s why people are in the business of making these things. I worry people do think that this is gospel, and that’s unfair.”
In a separate interview with Alan Titchmarsh on the ITV show Love Your Weekend, the Earl revealed he had been approached by the program to film at Althorp estate, where he and Diana grew up.
He said he worried people take the show as a matter-of-fact account instead of a fictional portrayal.
The Earl said: “Actually, The Crown asked if they could film at Althorp and I said obviously not.
He added: “The worry for me is that people see a program like that and they forget that it is fiction. They assume, especially foreigners, I find Americans tell me they have watched The Crown as if they have taken a history lesson. Well, they haven’t.”
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