The Crown's controversial moments - Queen plot, jail threat and intimate call (2023)

After years of waiting, season five of The Crown is here - and no doubt fans have been binging the series on Netflix.

It covers the the early 90s, one of the most turbulent times for the Royal Family, which included the breakdown of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage and a devastating fire at Windsor Castle.

The show's historical accuracy has come into question in the past, with the current series still within many people's living memory.

However, despite the time being well-documented, there are several controversial scenes, some real and some fiction, which will leave viewers shocked. Here we look at some of them - and there are spoilers below...

Queen is told she might need to lose weight

In the opening scenes of the very first episode, the Queen (played by Imelda Stanton) is seen having a medical check-up.

After being told to take off her stockings and lie on a table, a medic then asks her to step on scales, and she jokes: "I'm not sure I want to know."

The doctor then explains that her weight has been creeping up and she is now nine and a half stone.

The affronted monarch says: "It makes no sense, in terms of diet and behaviour, I've not changed a thing."

But controversially, the doctor says: "As we get older, the weight gets harder to shift" and hints she could lose half a stone.

Charles' Queen abdication plot

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Also in the first episode, a then Prince Charles (Dominic West) is seen calling Prime Minister of the time Sir John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) to a secret meeting at Highgrove, where he seeks help in a bid to replace his mother on the throne.

Charles says: "What makes the Conservative party successful? Its instinct for renewal and its willingness to make way for someone younger.

"For almost 60 years my great-great-grandfather Edward VII was kept waiting in the wings. He longed to be given responsibilities but his mother refused. And yet when his time came he proved his doubters wrong and his reign was a triumph."

When Charles is questioned about his remarks, he replies: 'I am saying what a pity it was, what a waste that his voice, his presence, his vision, wasn't incorporated earlier. It would have been so good for everybody.'

However Mr Major slammed the storyline and the show overall, with a spokesman telling the Telegraph he wasn't approached to fact-check any of the details.

The spokesman said: "There was never any discussion between Sir John and the then Prince of Wales about any possible abdication of the late Queen Elizabeth II – nor was such an improbable and improper subject ever raised by the then Prince of Wales (or Sir John). Neither Sir John nor Dame Norma has discussed the Monarchy remotely in these terms.

“As you will know, discussions between the monarch and prime minister are entirely private and – for Sir John – will always remain so … They are fiction, pure and simple.”

Charles tells the Queen she could be in jail

In the season's fourth episode, Charles can be moaning to his mother the Queen about his crumbling marriage to Diana.

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It comes amid the failing marriages of Princess Anne to her first husband Mark Phillips and Prince Andrew's to Sarah Ferguson - and the Queen shoots her son down when he asks for her permission to divorce.

And in a fictional scene, Charles says: "Look at the rates of family breakdown out there and look at us. Margaret, divorced. Anne, divorced. Andrew, humiliated and heading for divorce.

"Me, trapped and dreaming of divorce. And you talk about moral examples.

"If we were an ordinary family and social services came to visit they'd have thrown us into care and you into jail."

Staunton, as the queen, replies: "That's enough."

Princess Margaret suggests Diana started the Windsor Castle fire

Episode four of the series also depicts the devastating fire that ripped through Windsor Castle in November 1992.

It came in the year described by the Queen as her "annus horribilis" and The Crown has a scene where Her Majesty discusses the blaze with her sister Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville).

It descends into an argument and Margaret comes up with several different suspects behind the fire, including Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), who she accuses of arson.

Margaret says that Diana could have started it, "frustrated after years of neglect...she decides to take the matter into her own hands."

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She also suggests it could have been Andrew and claims the Queen is "'the mother who has led him to think he is invincible' when actually his "principal role is to be humiliated'.

Margaret even turns on herself and says it could have been her because she was not allowed to marry her first love, Peter Townsend.

She rages: "You don't think I have reason to burn down my sister's home? Because of what she denied me. Peter Townsend."

Philip says he needs companionship elsewhere

In episode six, Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce) and the Queen are shown on a state visit to Moscow, where they discuss how they have become distant.

Philip tells the monarch that he has been seeking "companionship" elsewhere and admits his closest friendship is with Penny Knatchbull (Natasha McElhone).

This prompts a shocked Queen to say: "She's half your age. Couldn't it just be a secretary? A nice girl from the typing pool with a short skirt and adoring eyes."

Philip pleads: "It's not that sort of companionship. That would make me even more lonely."

But the Queen, on the verge of tears, rages: "Penny is in the family. A married woman.

Philip replies: "Yes, and entirely focused on her marriage and her duty, who would never compromise you."

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To which an emotional Queen says: "But it does compromise me. It compromises me. Me. As your soulmate."

Diana's brakes fail on her car

Two episodes of the season are centred around Princess Diana's highly controversial BBC Panorama interview with Martin Bashir in 1995.

And as Bashir gets to work trying to obtain the interview, one shocking moment sees Diana driving to meet her brother Charles and the brakes on her car failing.

She exclaims: "Oh my god" as she swerves oncoming traffic before somehow managing to stop the car - but she is clearly shocked.

As she arrives at her brother's house, she tells him: "Quickly, close the door behind you."

The now Earl Spencer then reveals he's been contacted by Bashir and tells Diana: "He came to talk to me about surveillance of public figures by the security services. It's clear Bashir thinks people are watching you too."

And Diana replies: "Well, you know what I think. They've been spying on me for years. They're all in on it. That's why I got rid of my personal protection officers.'

Charles and Camilla's intimate phone call

In the fifth episode, The Crown recreates the infamous intimate phone calls between Charles and Camilla (Olivia Williams), in what has become known as tampongate.

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The pair are seen talking on the phone with their call being intercepted by an amateur radio enthusiast.

The Crown then has the actors playing Charles and Camilla play out the intimate phone call, which was hugely embarrassing for the couple, in full.

The show depicts how the call was recorded in 1989 but not released until January 1993 - a month after the heir and Diana split in 1992.

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