Unlike much of what had taken place behind palace gates and Downing Street doors in the week after Princess Diana's death, the content of a telephone conversation between Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair about how the Windsors should respond to the fatal car crash in Paris had been leaked only in the broadest terms (they had bickered), and neither the phrases used by the pair nor the exact points they raised were known to Peter Morgan. But when he sat down to write the script for what became The Queen (2006), he had to include the phone call. So he did what was necessary. He wrote the scene, but made it up.Review of The Crown in the TLS for January 19, 2018.
Subsequently, however, the screenwriter noticed something that he recalled, with artful perplexity, at an event in 2017 promoting the first series of his television dramatization of the Queen's life, The Crown. Morgan reported that when, in the years since The Queen was released, Tony Blair has recounted his phone argument with the monarch, he has repeated, unattributed, the artificial lines that his fictional counterpart and Her Majesty's spoke in the film.
Morgan appears to have altered Blair's memory, and historians will likely use the former Prime Minister's recollections as source material, in which case the screenwriter will accidentally have contributed his elegant artifice to the historical record.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Implanting Memories in the Prime Minister
Richard Power Sayeed: