According to one expert, these are ‘dangerous times’ for the monarchy.
Could Elizabeth and her dysfunctional family finally be in real danger of losing the respect of their long-suffering subjects?
With the Queen and Duke in their nineties, and the prospect of King Charles a hard sell after the death of Saint Diana, the institution has promised to slim down as it eases into the 21st century, with William and Harry promising us they will make royalty ‘relevant’.
That task has just been made far more difficult for two reasons.
The sex scandal surrounding Prince Andrew is refusing to go away, and it turns out that viewers of the latest highly imaginative series of The Crown think they are watching real events and conversations.
Emily Maitlis interviews the Duke of York, Prince Andrew on his relationship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on Newsnight
The combination of a real-life scandal coinciding with a clever work of fiction could be dealing the Monarchy a killer blow.
Why not just be done with it and replace them with far cheaper actors?
The job of being a real king or Queen is plainly ludicrous in the modern world, but traditionalists argue it’s a useful way of keeping politicians and the church in check.
The real Crown is a luxury for a country with a huge debt, whose politicians all say they want to borrow more. Monarchy costs almost as much as a series of the Crown each year.
But it’s claimed they’re value for money – tourists love the palaces, the clothes, the soldiers and of course the Queen herself.
The pomp and ceremony surrounding state occasions makes ordinary Brits feel important, at a time when we are dumping ourselves out of Europe, and facing competing with Norway, Canada, Zambia and co for trade deals and markets for our wares.
Viewers of the latest highly imaginative series of The Crown think they are watching real events and conversations, writes Janet Street-Porter. Pictured: Olivia Colman plays Queen Elizabeth in the latest series of The Crown
In world rankings, it looks like we’re going to sink effortlessly from the Premier league to Division Two. So if we keep a monarch, does that make us a bit special?
Fans say the Royals make us feel proud of our nationality, our history and our whackiness – look at the bonkers costumes they wore to make Prince Charles the Prince of Wales.
But we need them to be distant, unapproachable, operating on another level to common folk. We don’t want to know what toilet paper they use, what silly names they call each other (as in the Crown), and whether the Queen ever does the washing up.
The Monarch must be on show, like a performing dog, and open schools, factories and bridges when required, always wearing exotic uniforms, big hats, yards of medals and great jewellery.
The more we know about the royals – the less we respect them. And from the moment Andrew had to answer a question on prime time television about whether he had sex with a teenage girl, everything changed.
Could Elizabeth and her dysfunctional family finally be in real danger of losing the respect of their long-suffering subjects? Asks Janet Street-Porter
We’ve reach the point where it’s hard to tell the difference between the highly crafted historical myth of The Crown on Netflix and the jaw-dropping current reality.
Here’s a Prince who ‘doesn’t sweat’ and ‘doesn’t go to parties’ even though there are hundreds of photographs proving he’s got a very selective memory.
Meanwhile, on Netflix Princess Margaret is drunkenly dancing with President Johnson, while the Queen is flirting with her racing manager – who would have thought?
Historians and experts say neither events ever happened, but for millions of Crown addicts, it’s brilliant entertainment.
In the series, the Duke of Edinburgh is reluctant to fly his mother back from a convent in Greece and sticks her in the attic. Royalists say in reality Philip was very active in bringing Princess Alice back and gave her lovely quarters.
But I so want the image of her sharing cigarettes with Anne and calling Phillip ‘Bubbikins’ to be true.
Virginia Roberts photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in early 2001
The monarchy has had a hard time justifying their existence, because they rely on people who live in small rooms, people who share a bathroom, have no garden for fetes and who endure noisy neighbours, to contribute millions to a family that owns art worth billions.
That money is ‘needed’ to repair castles and palaces (why can’t a couple be enough?) and cover the costs of trips to far flung islands to remind the natives how posh people live on the other side of the world.
With huge cutbacks in funding for the NHS, the police, schools and social care- it’s amazing there hasn’t been an uprising against the costs of maintaining this antediluvian institution, but what’s the alternative?
In the past, the Palace has put up with the bad press, the carping from Republicans, and the whingeing about excessive running costs because the Queen led her team of disparate family members and rarely put a foot wrong.
Viewers of the Crown, though, are being seduced by a sexy fictitious version of what the Queen gets up to behind closed doors, writes Janet Street-Porter
She has always given a consistent impression of someone 100% committed to serving her country, at an age when she’s probably rather be serving a nice cup of tea to her local Sandringham WI members.
As for what she thinks, while we know what Olivia Colman’s fictional Queen thinks in private, the real one never says anything of any note in public.
We have no idea what she watches on television, what she thinks about Prime Ministers and what on earth she made of having to have Boris Johnson’s much-younger girlfriend to stay at Balmoral while he wasn’t yet divorced.
The Queen remains enigmatic and unruffled, uttering pleasantries. Does she ever let her hair down, rip off her hat, sling her bag across the room, and remove her sensible support hose? Who knows?
Viewers of the Crown, though, are being seduced by a sexy fictitious version of what the Queen gets up to behind closed doors. It’s Coronation Street with Aubuisson carpets, Meissen china and everyday pearls.
When Peter Morgan wrote series 3, which covers the death of Winston Churchill and the arrival of plain speaking Harold Wilson as Prime Minister, he could not have envisaged that his skilful blend of half-truth and fantasy would be trumped by real life events, with allegations of inappropriate sex, dodgy massages and soaps shaped like willies in a royal bathroom.
I can’t wait to see how Mr Morgan will interpret the present day shenanigans.
He might as well cast the all the York females – Sarah, Beatrice and Eugenie – with offcuts from Love Island.
Gemma Collins would make a perfect Sarah. Meanwhile, Hugh Grant, after his award-winning performance as Jeremy Thorpe, is a shoo-in for Andrew.
Of course they don’t look anything like the real Royals, but as the Crown already proves, people will believe anything these days, especially when truth turns out to be even more lurid than fiction.