The Crown creator and showrunner Peter Morgan reveals that Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle could never be covered in his hit Netflix drama because they fail his “20-year rule”.
The playwright and screenwriter revealed he didn’t write about subjects unless 20 years had passed, because he needed time to understand the Royal family’s stories and events better. Any more modern storylines would be journalism rather than drama.
Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter: “Meghan and Harry are in the middle of their journey, and I don’t know what their journey is or how it will end. One wishes some happiness, but I’m much more comfortable writing about things that happened at least 20 years ago.”
Twenty years was “enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance”.
Morgan said that often events which seemed crucial and momentous faded into obscurity and the reverse happened for things that seemed meaningless but which acquired historical relevance and became long-lasting stories, the kind that drive The Crown.
He continued: “I don’t know where in the scheme of things Prince Andrew or indeed Meghan Markle or Harry will ever appear. We won’t know, and you need time to stop something being journalistic. And so I don’t want to write about them because to write about them would instantly make it journalistic. And there are plenty of journalists already writing about them.”
Drama required perspective and the opportunity for metaphor. “Once something has a metaphorical possibility, it can then become interesting. It’s quite possible, for example, to tell the story of Harry and Meghan through analogy and metaphor, if that’s what you want to do,” he said.
Previous examples of royals with “marital complications”, such as Wallis Simpson, Edward VII, and Princess Diana and Prince Charles, could metaphorically represent others.
He added: “There’ve been wives that have been married into the Royal family that have felt unwelcome and that they don’t fit in. So there are plenty of stories to tell without telling the story of Harry and Meghan.”
Morgan confirmed that season four of The Crown was almost completely filmed before the lockdown and they would still be able to hit the release schedule of November.