The Crown showrunner explains why Meghan and Andrew will not feature in the show

The Crown writer Peter Morgan has said future series of the show will not feature modern royal subjects like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York because there is not “enough distance” from their stories.

The fifth and sixth instalments of the big budget royal series will bring the drama into the 21st century but Morgan said he wants to maintain a “20-year rule” so it does not edge too close to the present and allows spaces for “perspective and metaphor”.

Imelda Staunton has previously been named as the next Queen and Lesley Manville cast as Princess Margaret. They will replace Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter respectively, who will bow out after the forthcoming fourth series.

Jonathan Pryce will play the Duke of Edinburgh in the final two series, taking over from Tobias Menzies, while Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana, replacing Emma Corrin, who will make her debut in series four.

Explaining why the series will not explore modern royal life, including Andrew’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal and Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave the UK, Morgan said: “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.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Mountbatten Festival of Music
Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Mountbatten Festival of Music

“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.

75th Anniversary of the liberation of Bruges
75th Anniversary of the liberation of Bruges

“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 addressed reports that he has met royal aides to brief them on what is to come in the show, saying: “I meet on an entirely informal and impersonal basis with a couple of people who used to work at the palace and who I imagine still have contacts with the palace.

“It ends up as one of those rather ridiculous conversations in which everybody is slightly tiptoeing and saying something other than what they mean, but you’re still finding a way of getting some information out while at the same time everybody has the most important thing, which is deniability.”

He added: “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.”