The Crown creator says Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will not be depicted in the final series of the Netflix drama because she’s too recent an addition to the Royal Family.
Screenwriter Peter Morgan, who principally pens the show, said the omission is due to his “20-year rule” which he enforces to allow “distance” from the stories.
The fifth and sixth season of The Crown will focus on the Queen’s reign into the early 21st century, and will include several royal crises that led to the monarch’s infamous 1992 “annus horribilis”.
Among other notable bad news stories for the royals that year were Prince Charles’s split from Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Andrew’s separation from Sarah, Duchess of York.
Many fans will be disappointed that recent controversial events in royal life – including Meghan and Harry’s decision to step back from royal duties and leave the UK, and Prince Andrew’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal – will not be making it onto the screen.
Explaining his decision, Morgan told the Hollywood Reporter: “I just think you get so much more interesting (with time).
“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.
“I sort of have in my head a 20-year rule. That is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance.
“Often things that appear absolutely wildly important today are instantly forgotten, and other things have a habit of sticking around and proving to be historically very relevant and long-lasting.
“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.
“To be a dramatist, I think you need perspective and you need to also allow for 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. Because there’ve been so many examples in the past, whether it’s Wallis Simpson or Edward VII, or whether it’s Diana and Prince Charles.
“There have been plenty of opportunities in the past where there have been marital complications.
“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 also revealed that he has previously met royal aides on an “informal basis” to discuss what’s coming up on the show.
He hinted that it was sometimes things that weren’t said in the meetings, rather than what was said, which revealed most about what the real Royal Family thinks of the show.
He said: “Occasionally they might come back and say ‘I enjoyed certain aspects of the season,’ and by that I know that he or she probably means other people enjoyed that. And then they’ll say ‘There were one or two things that I personally found disappointing’, which probably means that somebody else found them disappointing.”
The big-budget drama has already announced its new roster of actors for the show, which refreshes its actors every two series in order to reflect an accurate age for the royals portrayed.
Imelda Staunton will step into the role of the Queen, replacing Olivia Colman while Lesley Manville will take over from Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret.
The fourth series will also feature X-Files star Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. Morgan and Anderson have been dating since 2016.
Series four of The Crown will air on Netflix later this year.