The UK's culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, is asking Netflix to warn viewers that The Crown is fictional so that younger audiences may not mistake the events portrayed in the historical drama on the royal family as fact.
"It's a beautifully produced work of fiction, so as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that," Dowden told the Mail on Sunday. "Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact."
Dowden said he was going to write a letter to Netflix requesting it puts a "health warning" at the beginning of every episode to make it clear that the show was a work of fiction, the Daily Mail reported.
Dowden's move comes amid a wave of criticism from British news media and royal family chroniclers that some of the show's scenes and major plotlines have been invented and are inaccurate and damaging to the royal family.
The most controversial among these is The Crown's portrayal of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's marriage and the suggestion that Charles's affair with his now-wife Camilla Parker Bowles continued throughout his marriage to Diana.
Penny Junor, who has written biographies of Charles and Diana, told the New York Times that the show's problematic depiction of Charles would taint his ascension to the throne.
"It is wonderful television,” Junor said. "It is beautifully acted — the mannerisms are perfect. But it is fiction, and it is very destructive."
Netflix has declined to comment so far, but the Guardian cited a source saying that it had been widely reported that The Crown was a drama based on real-life events.
Some, like ITV News' royal editor Chris Ship, agreed with the culture secretary's concerns.
But many others, including historians, were bemused by the UK government's focus on a Netflix drama and poked fun at the idea that people needed a warning to understand that the show was a fictionalized account of the royal family.
As one historian noted, "historical dramas are not meant to be accurate descriptions of what happened."