When it comes to star power in the United Kingdom, few people rank higher than the members of the Royal Family, who have remained some of the most influential figures — in real and pop culture — for several decades. But HBO Max’s new animated series poking fun at the Crown is already garnering a wave of heated criticism as supporters of the royals push back against the satirical take.
The Prince, an original series from HBO Max, imagines what life as a royal might look like behind-the-scenes. In the newly released trailer for The Prince, which revolves around 8-year-old Prince George’s adventures in Kensington Palace, the royals are anything but the buttoned-up figures that we’ve known them to be. Creator Gary Janetti isn’t exactly aiming for accuracy here — the show is pure, irreverent satire, taking all the rumours we’ve heard about the Royal Family and using them to bring its characters to life.
Unsurprisingly, the reception to the new series has been overwhelmingly negative. The comments section of the recently released YouTube trailer demonstrates much of the public's clear disdain for the premise and execution of The Prince.
"If they wanted to make fun of the royals, then fine. But leave the royal children out of it," wrote one Youtube user. "They're just babies at the end of the day, and no baby deserves to be bullied like this. So sad and sickening."
"This is gross, even for America," said another. "I’m no royalist but this is just shameful."
Even though the Royal Family has yet to comment on the new project — my guess is that they're not exactly pleased with the series — other notable Brits have publicly blasted Janetti and the show, especially for the negative way it depicts the Cambridge kids George, Charlotte, and Louis. However, Janetti maintains that his intention was never to be disrespectful to the royals but to simply make a show that was funny, and Orlando Bloom (who voices Prince Harry) is in alignment.
"It’s not malicious or intended to be," Bloom said of the HBO Max series in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter. "He’s really got his finger on the pulse, Gary. He’s so smart and so zeitgeisty...but I’m going to have to mention it to Prince Harry when I next see him, because I’m not going to be able to not."
Will Janetti and his cast's defence of the show be enough to quell the wrath of royalists? Probably not — time has shown that supporters of The Firm go hard, meaning that the success of The Prince may very well be affected by the ongoing backlash against it. Not the best start for any new project, I'd say.
The Prince is now available for streaming, only on HBO Max via Crave.