“The Crown” is well written, well directed and has been mostly well-acted.  

The first two “seasons” of Netflix’s royal saga, starring Claire Foy as the wise, winning and beautiful young Queen Elizabeth II, were brilliant advertisements for the monarchy. Royal courtiers hugged themselves with glee at such glamorous free publicity.  

East Anglian Daily Times: Claire Foy in The CrownClaire Foy in The Crown

Later episodes, portraying difficult and scandalous story lines, were not well received at Buckingham Palace and the critics came out in force, pointing out factual mistakes to demonstrate their own erudition and perhaps curry favour with the royal family.  

When two former Prime Ministers, John Major and Tony Blair, weighed in to give the show a kicking, Netflix was bullied into broadcasting a “health warning” at the start of each episode, making it clear that “The Crown” is not a factual documentary.  

Of course not. It’s a drama. Dramatic licence is taken. And errors are made, despite intensive research and advice throughout from distinguished royal historian Robert Lacey. 

Shakespeare’s history plays are also littered with historical errors. But does anyone dispute that they reveal great truths? 

So, I am not down on “The Crown”.  The narrative flair of the creator Peter Morgan has revealed modern history to an audience that might otherwise have never known it.  

It is a work of art that has won awards.  

But I earnestly wish Morgan had stopped at the end of Season 5. That was his original plan.  

I am sorry because Season 6 will now focus on the terrible deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, Dodi Al Fayed and their driver Henri Paul in the early hours of 31 August, 1997. 

Mercifully, the action will stop short of the Alma Tunnel, nor will it show the one hour and 40 agonising minutes it took to get Diana in an ambulance to a hospital where her life might have been saved.     

That would have been too cruel and utterly horrific.

It will be hardly less dreadful to then see the dead Princess, played by the Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki, portrayed as a ghost. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Elizabeth Debicki in The CrownElizabeth Debicki in The Crown (Image: Netflix)

The pain that the Princes William and Harry will feel on seeing their mother as an apparition can only be imagined. And Harry has watched every second of “The Crown”.   

In one scene, the Queen, played by Imelda Staunton, accuses the phantom Diana of setting out to turn the House of Windsor upside down and succeeding. But Diana had huge respect for the Queen and was a very patriotic. She was only allowed to choose one piece of music at her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 and chose the hymn, “I Vow to Thee, My Country”. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Imelda Staunton in The CrownImelda Staunton in The Crown (Image: Netflix)

Prince Charles is depicted weeping over her corpse, while the ghostly Diana tells him she had loved him. Well, that’s true. The Princess had reassured her sons that she had once loved their father, even though they had divorced.   

Do ghosts work as a dramatic device? Dickens has three in “A Christmas Carol”; but that’s a Victorian fairy tale. Shakespeare has two in his tragedies but I have never found Banquo’s ghost in “Macbeth” convincing.  

What is total nonsense is the suggestion that the late Mohamed Al Fayed somehow contrived the love affair of Diana and Dodi. Mohamed was a remarkable man in many ways. He was delighted that his eldest son and his family’s dear friend Diana were together. But making two people fall in love with each other? That was beyond even his great talents.  

Because it’s impossible.  

The reverse is the truth. Mohamed told Diana and Dodi to relax, take their time, enjoy themselves, have fun and avoid rushing anything.   

More than once I heard him say to Dodi, in Arabic, “Shway, shway”  -   slow down, take it easy.  

Dodi was deeply in love with the Princess and told me so. I did not presume to ask the Princess about her personal life but the last time I saw her, before her third and final holiday with Dodi that summer, she could not have been more happy.

Dodi had bought Julie Andrews’ house on the beach at Malibu, north of Los Angeles, and intended to make it their home. The Princess laid out the plans of the house on the rug in her apartment at Kensington Palace and told her butler Paul Burrell that they were all going to live in California.  

Diana believed that the American media would give her the break that she felt she was never given in Britain.  Of course, the America dream never came true for the Princess. Prince Harry has said that he is living out his mother’s destiny by going to live in California.   

Both mother and her younger son became royal outsiders.  

Ahead of the first broadcast of Season 6, (on Thursday, 16 November), “The Crown” has been criticised for raising the possibility that the Princess was pregnant when she died. The loudest critics have denounced the very suggestion. The fact is, we shall never know.  

I am the only person who knew all three people who were killed that night.

Henri Paul used to drive me around in Paris. I went around the world with Diana as the BBC’s royal correspondent. I knew her and Dodi for 12 years. I liked them both and wished them only the best of good fortune.  

I hope that this final season of “The Crown” will portray Diana and Dodi fairly and - above all  - truthfully, as the kind, generous and good people they really were. 

That would be some small consolation for the loss of the life they never lived together.  

The Crown Season 6, Part 1 premieres on Nov. 16 on Netflix. Part 2 is released on December 14.