The new season of The Crown has come under fire for provocatively portraying Princess Anne as a man-eater and suggesting the Queen had an affair.
The upcoming third season of the Netflix drama features an episode where lingerie-clad Princess Anne – played by Erin Doherty - and her then-boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles climb into bed together.
Other scenes frame the possibility that the Queen engaged in a secret romance with her horse racing manager Lord Porchester – a relationship which supposedly angered Prince Phillip.
The controversial scenes have raised the ire of the Queen's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, who slammed the storyline as "very distasteful".
The new season is set to air on Netflix this Sunday with a new cast on-board as the series enter the 1960s and 70s.
One episode shows Prince Phillip questioning the Queen - played by Oscar winner Olivia Colman - after she returned from a month-long trip with Porchester – whom she affectionately calls "Porchie".
The tense exchange at Buckingham Palace ends with the Queen snapping at her husband: "If you have something to say, say it now. Otherwise, if you don't mind, I'm busy."
Arbiter scoffed at the suggestion the Queen was unfaithful, telling the Sunday Times: "This is very distasteful and totally unfounded. The Queen is the last person in the world to have ever considered looking at another man.
"Not only is this muckraking, this is gossip that's been washing around for decades. It's got absolutely no substance."
The Queen remained close to Porchester up until his death in 2001 and there is no evidence that suggests the pair were anything more than friends.
Arbiter accuses the show's creator Peter Morgan of employing considerable creative licence with his scripts.
"The Crown is fiction. No one knows [about] any conversation between members of the Royal Family, but people will tell the story they want to and sensationalise it".
The Crown's third season debuts on Netflix this Sunday, November 17.
This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.