The Crown: Cast of Countess Mountbatten under review – Panorama

Shortly before Lord Mountbatten dies, he throws a lobster into the water with his grandson and his friend, “one, two, and …”, says Lord Mountbatten, the lobster flies, cut to the underwater camera, view from below. The animal plops into the water, it stumbles down. Seconds of silence. Then the boat explodes.

The Netflix series “The Crown” may be as far from documentary as James Bond’s workings are from the real MI6, but this is a very worthwhile moment to watch as you study the story of Lord Mountbatten, Prince’s influential uncle Philip. Not every detail is right, but the suddenness with which the assassination attacked the royal family makes the staging palpable. On that August 27, 1979, the IRA blew up Mountbatten’s boat with a 23-kilo bomb, killing not only the 79-year-old Lord, but also three other people, including his 14-year-old grandson. The trauma of that moment, and of the entire IRA period in general, is still present in the UK and Ireland to this day. It is against this background that the Natascha McElhone affair has to be seen.

She is the stepdaughter of a former IRA activist

Englishwoman Natascha McElhone was nine years old when Lord Mountbatten was blown up by the IRA. Now she is 51 and an actress by profession, she has already acted in some great films and series, in “Californication” she plays the serene wife of the heavy hitter Hank Moody, in “The Truman Show” the childhood sweetheart of poor Truman Burbank. In the fifth season of “The Crown”, which is currently being shot, she will be seen as Countess Mountbatten, a member of the family of the lord who was murdered by the IRA. The Countess married the brother of Lord Mountbatten’s murdered grandson. Natascha McElhone, in turn, is the stepdaughter of Roy Greenslade, a former IRA activist.

Although the TV series is not exactly known for its exacting demands on the representation of reality, this personality is now controversially discussed. The question must be asked whether the creators of the series had the necessary historical awareness, said Penny Junor, a writer who has written some highly regarded biographies of members of the British royals. Of course, nobody can be held responsible for the stepfather’s sins, but there are so many other actresses for the role. “That shows a lack of respect,” Junor told dem telegraph.

McElhone’s stepfather, Roy Greenslade, 74, is a journalist who has worked in roles for all sorts of British newspapers for the Sun, the Daily Mirror, but also for the Guardian and the Sunday Times. Earlier this year, Greenslade admitted he was working under the pen name George King for in the 1980s Phoblacht wrote the Irish newspaper Sinn Féin. He also wrote in an article a few years ago that he supported the IRA bombing in the 1970s. He moved in with Natascha McElhone’s mother, Noreen Taylor, when Natascha was two years old. In 2009 – long before Greenslade’s position on the IRA was known – Natascha McElhone said in an interview that she was “very happy and grateful” that Greenslade came into her life, “he had a tremendous influence on me, he was a great activist”. Sentences that sound a little different today than they did then.

No comments so far from Netflix and McElhone

The question now is whether this is still important in 2021: Isn’t an actress allowed to play a relative of an IRA victim because the stepfather once shared IRA ideas? Netflix and McElhone have not commented on this so far, but regardless of how you answer this question, one can assume that the cast will not change anyway. Filming began in the summer and the fifth season will go on air in November 2022. Lots of time to dispel concerns and criticism.

How indifferent the Crown creators are to reality can be forgotten when you watch the series. Only a few days ago, however, there was a reminder: Jemma Khan, a former friend of Princess Diana, announced obviously angry that she would withdraw from her advisory role for the fifth season. The show, she said, is just too far removed from the truth.

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