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‘The Crown’ Re-Creates ‘Tampongate’ And Other Big Media Moments In Season 5



The events depicted on Netflix’s “The Crown” are getting more and more recent, and in many cases, are already vividly imprinted in the public consciousness. That’s in large part because in real life, much of them played out on television and in other media.

Therefore, it’s no surprise media coverage is a prominent feature of the show’s fifth season, premiering Wednesday, which has now reached the events of the 1990s. In particular, this season covers the inevitable dissolution of the marriage between then-Prince Charles (played this season and in the show’s upcoming final season by Dominic West) and Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), and the public confirmation of his long-suspected affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (Olivia Williams). (The series, a dramatization of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, continues its tradition of featuring a new set of actors every two seasons. Imelda Staunton takes over from Olivia Colman as the queen.)

Several key events in Season 5 are modified re-creations of major media moments, such as exclusive TV interviews Charles and Diana each gave to tell their sides of the story and craft their public images. And perhaps the most anticipated event depicted in this season is an essentially verbatim reading of the infamous “Camillagate” or “Tampongate” transcript.

The role of media coverage has become integral to the show’s exploration of the British monarchy — just as it was highly relevant to real life in the 1990s, with the availability of more TV than ever before, and the encroachment of the 24-hour news cycle. That even becomes its own subplot this season, as a symbol of the rigid monarchy remaining behind the times. In one episode, the queen, at the suggestion of a tween Prince William (played by West’s real-life son Senan), gets a satellite dish installed. But feeling overwhelmed by the dozens of channels, some showing content she finds uncomfortable, she sticks with watching the BBC.

Here’s a look at some of the major media moments depicted in Season 5 of “The Crown.”

Andrew Morton’s book (1992) – Episode 2

The publication of journalist Andrew Morton’s 1992 biography, “Diana: Her True Story,” shook the world and accelerated the demise of Diana and Charles’ marriage. As the show depicts, Diana agreed to secretly participate in the book, an arrangement Morton only revealed after her death in 1997. He sent her questions by using one of her friends as an intermediary, and she sent back tape-recorded responses. In them, she revealed many of her marital troubles and mental health struggles for the first time, such as an eating disorder (which was detailed in Season 4 of “The Crown”) and several suicide attempts.

The Queen’s “annus horribilis” speech (1992) – Episode 4

In a rare moment of candor during a speech on Nov. 24, 1992, the Queen declared the year “annus horribilis.” It had been a year full of royal scandals: the separation of her son Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York; the divorce of her daughter Princess Anne and Mark Phillips; the fallout from Morton’s book; and a fire that caused significant damage to Windsor Castle.

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” she said in the speech. “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘annus horribilis.’ I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so. Indeed, I suspect that there are very few people or institutions unaffected by these last months of worldwide turmoil and uncertainty.”

The version of events presented in “The Crown” retains those two first lines, while modifying other parts of the speech.

Imelda Staunton in Season 5 of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

For the Queen, the horrible year wasn’t even done. Just two weeks after the speech, Charles and Diana announced they were formally separating.

“Camillagate” or “Tampongate” (1993) – Episode 5

In case you need a refresher on this one, this refers to the scandal surrounding the secretly recorded phone conversation in which Charles infamously compared himself to a tampon, after telling Camilla he wished to “live inside your trousers.”

The front page of the Australian magazine New Idea in January 1993. The magazine published excerpts of a taped conversation, which later became known as "Camillagate."
The front page of the Australian magazine New Idea in January 1993. The magazine published excerpts of a taped conversation, which later became known as “Camillagate.”

RICK RYCROFT via Getty Images

One night in December 1989, a lonely Prince Charles called up Camilla. The intimate and, at times, graphic phone call was picked up by an amateur radio operator. News accounts from the time differ on how exactly the recording was leaked to news outlets. The way “The Crown” tells it, the amateur radio operator gave the recording to the Daily Mirror, but editors at the tabloid decided it was too risky to publish at the time.

By January 1993, Charles and Diana were now separated. Excerpts of the conversation had been leaked to various news outlets. As British outlets weighed whether it was too salacious to publish, “New Idea,” an Australian magazine, went for it. Days later, the Daily Mirror decided to run the full transcript in its Sunday edition on Jan. 17, excerpts of which “The Crown” recreates almost exactly verbatim. The show combines a flashback to the original 1989 phone call with a montage of all of the characters uncomfortably reading their copy of the Daily Mirror transcript in 1993.

Charles’ interview on ITV (1994) – Episode 5

In an attempt to make the public despise him less, Prince Charles participated in a documentary on ITV, “Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role.” Hosted by journalist Jonathan Dimbleby, the program showed the prince at home and promoted his charity work. There were also the unavoidable questions about his fraught marriage. Charles claimed he had tried to remain faithful to Diana.

“Yes,” an extremely stiff Prince Charles told Dimbleby, before pausing and adding: “until it became clear that the marriage had irretrievably broken down, us both having tried.”

On “The Crown,” the line is changed to: “Yes, until it became obvious that the marriage couldn’t be saved, both of us having done our best.”

It was his first public admission to cheating on Diana. But he did not name Camilla directly — awkwardly referring to her as “a great friend of mine” and one of “a large number of friends I’m terribly lucky to have.”

“She has been a friend for a very long time,” he reiterated, before again adding: “along with a lot of other friends.”

Diana’s revenge dress (1994) – Episode 5

The night the documentary aired, on June 29, 1994, Diana made a statement of her own, without having to say a word. Attending a Vanity Fair event at London’s Serpentine Gallery, she wore a black silk, off-the-shoulder dress. Designed by Christina Stambolian, it quickly became known as “Diana’s revenge dress.”

Left: Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in Season 5 of "The Crown"; Right: Princess Diana wearing what became known as the "revenge dress" on June 29, 1994.
Left: Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in Season 5 of “The Crown”; Right: Princess Diana wearing what became known as the “revenge dress” on June 29, 1994.

Keith Bernstein/Netflix; Tim Graham/Getty Images

According to former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown’s 2007 biography of Diana, Diana initially declined the invitation. But two days before the event, as the interview excerpt of Charles admitting to adultery dominated news headlines, she decided to attend after all. According to friends quoted by Brown, Diana seemed to know exactly what she was doing.

“At about the moment the Prince of Wales was confessing his adultery on national TV, his wife was stepping out of a limo at Vanity Fair’s annual June fundraising event for the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens,” Brown wrote in “The Diana Chronicles,” describing how later, fashion editors would also refer to it as “her fuck-you dress.”

“The picture of her that blew Charles off the front pages the next morning provided the perfect context for discussing the only line in the Dimbleby broadcast that anyone remembered — the one about adultery,” Brown continued.

Through her iconic style, Diana shifted the narrative back to herself — a theme throughout her life in the public eye.

Diana’s interview on BBC’s Panorama (1995) – Episodes 7 and 8

Diana had been weighing various offers to do a TV interview of her own, in response to Charles’ 1994 TV special. She eventually agreed to speak with Martin Bashir (played by Prasanna Puwanarajah on “The Crown”) for the BBC’s investigative reporting show “Panorama.” Filmed in November 1995 under top-secret conditions, she spoke in detail about her eating disorder, having postpartum depression and other mental health crises she experienced due to her marriage and the isolation she felt while part of the royal family.

The bombshell interview is probably best remembered for an infamous line, which also appears in the show’s version. Bashir asks her: “Do you think Mrs. Parker Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?” Diana replies: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

Prasanna Puwanarajah as Martin Bashir in Season 5 of Netflix's "The Crown."
Prasanna Puwanarajah as Martin Bashir in Season 5 of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

Around the time of the program’s 25th anniversary in 2020, the BBC opened an investigation into Bashir’s unethical practices in securing the interview. As explored on “The Crown,” in trying to gain their trust, Bashir misled Diana and her brother. He presented them with forged financial documents falsely purporting to show links between her private secretary, Charles’ private secretary, and the U.K. security agencies who were allegedly surveilling her.

Last year, the head of the BBC said the full interview will never air again in light of the ethical breach. In September, the BBC announced it had donated the £1.4 million it earned from the TV special to charitable causes associated with Diana.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.




Meghan Markle And Prince Harry’s Netflix Series Now Has A Release Date



The streaming giant announced that the docuseries will drop in two batches: The first three episodes will arrive on Dec. 8 and the remaining three episodes will be released on Dec. 15.

The docuseries promises to go behind the scenes on why the couple stepped back as working royals in March 2020 ― and to illuminate the inner workings of the royal family.

“There’s a hierarchy of the family,” Harry says, as photos show the royal family. “You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories.”

“It’s a dirty game,” the prince adds in the trailer while talking about the “pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution,” as the trailer shows footage of his mother, Princess Diana.

“I was terrified,” he added. “I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”

The royals ultimately moved to the U.S.

“No one knows the full truth,” Harry explains in the trailer. “We know the full truth.”

Netflix says that “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share the other side of their high-profile love story” in this “unprecedented and in-depth documentary series.”

“Across six episodes, the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution,” the description adds.


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Watch Joe Biden Launch Groan-Worthy Joke At George Clooney In White House



Biden first praised all the honorees as “an incredible group of people.”

“And we the people, we see character. We see Amal Clooney’s husband,” the president cracked.

The tease got laughs, including from the actor himself.

Clooney’s wife, Amal, is a prominent and accomplished human rights attorney.

The quip was a “version of one of Biden’s most well-worn gags,” Mediaite noted.

Biden got serious and praised the two-time Oscar winner for his activism on behalf of 9/11 victims’ families and refugees, and his support for survivors of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting and their work for gun reform.

“That’s character,” Biden said. “That’s George Clooney.”

Other honorees included singer Amy Grant, singer Gladys Knight, composer Tania Leon and the rock band U2.

The ceremony at the Kennedy Center was highlighted by a routine by Sacha Baron Cohen scorching former President Donald Trump and rapper-turned-vocal Hitler appreciator Ye (formerly known as Kanye West). There was also a public appearance by Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who was seriously injured in October by a hammer-wielding home invader.


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George Clooney, U2, Gladys Knight Among 2022 Kennedy Center Honorees



WASHINGTON (AP) — A heartfelt Patti LaBelle praised her lifelong friend Gladys Knight. Sean Penn called U2 “four scrappy Dublin punks.” Ballet dancers performed for conductor and composer Tania León. Matt Damon playfully teased his friend George Clooney — a lot — while Sheryl Crow delivered a heartfelt rendition of “Baby Baby” to Amy Grant during Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors.

Knight, Clooney, Grant, León and U2 were all celebrated at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which annually honors a select group of people for their artistic influences on American culture. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses were in attendance, as were members the President’s Cabinet and Congress.

One audience member from the political world — Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — drew some attention. He is recovering from a brutal attack in the Pelosis’ San Francisco home in October. The couple received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Normally performers like U2 or Knight would be headlining such a show, but during the Kennedy Center event the honorees sit in the balcony and watch as their peers laud them and perform their works.

On the red carpet, Clooney, with his wife, Amal, beside him, joked that after seeing friends like Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts in attendance he was worried his tribute would be more of a “roast.” And it was a bit like that, though his friends and family showed obvious respect.

Roberts set the tone by coming out onstage with a dress emblazoned with photos of Clooney. After an introduction that alternated between funny and heartfelt she turned to a set designed to look like a smoky bar — the type Clooney might enjoy. The actor’s father, Nick Clooney, regaled the crowd with stories of a young George, including the time the 7-year-old — heartbroken over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 — gave his father all his toy guns.

Damon took the funny road, joking about how Clooney once stole then-President Bill Clinton’s stationery and wrote notes to fellow actors on it. Cheadle highlighted Clooney’s philanthropic work. But it was Clooney’s father who probably had the strongest praise, telling the crowd and his son, sitting in the balcony between León and U2′s Bono, “George’s best and most important work is still ahead of him.

Standing on a stage lit by a massive sign reading “Gladys,” LaBelle called Knight her “everything,” saying they had been friends for six decades and had seen each other through laughter and tears. “We do everything together,” LaBelle said. “I am honored to honor you tonight.”

Actor and hip-hop star LL Cool J said that whenever Knight sings she connects with people. “I once heard Gladys sing the ABCs and I thought I was in church,” he said.

Knight — usually with her backup singers, The Pips — has recorded dozens of albums with such classic hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The challenge of singing that classic in front of the woman who made it famous fell to country music superstar Garth Brooks, who is a Kennedy Center honoree in his own right. He cited Knight’s “roots in country music” before launching into the classic.

Each artist was introduced by a video compilation showing snippets of their lives. In Grant’s, her children talked about their mother’s influence on them. Crow talked about Grant’s influence on her when she was a young college student.

“Amy also taught me that it was possible to be funny, irreverent and Christian all at the same,” said Crow.

Five ballet dancers took to the stage to honor composer and conductor Tania León, who left Cuba as a refugee in 1967; her passport was stamped “Cancelado” when she left the country. The performers were from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which León helped found when she eventually made her way to New York City. She also instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series and in 2021 received the Pulitzer Prize for her work “Stride,” inspired by women’s rights champion Susan B. Anthony.

“How do I convey the extent of your musical genius?” asked actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith. Jazz pianist Jason Moran, singer Alicia Hall Moran and cellist Sterling Elliott played one of León’s creations, “Oh Yemanja.”

The last honoree of the night was U2. In a video taped Saturday, U2 guitarist The Edge noted that a group of four “Irish lads” were being honored for contributions to American culture and said there’s a bond between the group and America that can’t really be explained.

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder sang U2′s “Elevation” and “One.” Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen brought his alter ego Borat to the stage as part of the U2 tribute, pretending to mistake Biden for former President Donald Trump. Singers Brandi Carlile, Hozier and Jamala — from the U.S., Ireland and Ukraine, respectively — closed out the show with an emotional version of “Walk On.”

U2′s Bono is also known for his philanthropic work to eradicate poverty and to raise awareness about AIDS. Jamala, whose home country of Ukraine has been embroiled in nearly a year of bloody warfare after the Russian invasion, touched on that history of social activism as she introduced the night’s final song.

“It’s fitting that on the night meant to honor them they have once again used their platform to spread a message of peace. Honestly to be here in this bright warm hall this evening is really something extraordinary for me, when there is so much darkness in my home country Ukraine,” she said.

The honorees came to the theater from a White House reception where Biden praised them before a star-studded East Room crowd as an “exceptional group of artists.”

“Thank you for showing us the power of the arts and ‘We the People,’” Biden said.

AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Follow Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.


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Tattoo Removal Studio Offers Freebies To Regretful Kanye West Fans



A London tattoo removal studio is offering free sessions to people who no longer want Kanye West inked on their bodies.

Naama Studios first posted the offer last month, saying it would remove tattoos of the rapper, who has changed his name to Ye, free of charge.

The business later shared videos of two happy clients who had taken advantage of the deal, promoted with the tagline “Yeezy come, Yeezy go.”

“When you have a tattoo inspired by someone you admire and they end up making headlines for all the wrong reasons…” the post read.

“We understand that tattoos can be triggering for some people and not everyone can afford to remove their tattoos,” the business told The Washington Post. According to the Post, several people had already started to process of getting Ye tattoos removed, and around ten more had reached out to Naama for consultations. The procedure reportedly costs up to 2000 pounds (roughly $2400).

Ye lost fans and placed his business empire in crisis after making a series of antisemitic and hateful statements in public since early October. He was repeatedly suspended from social media platforms and dropped by most of his professional partners.

On Thursday, he openly defended Adolf Hitler and Nazis during a trainwreck interview on Alex Jones’s Infowars show, accompanied by white supremacist Nick Fuentes. Later that day, he was suspended from Twitter for tweeting a swastika merged with the Star of David.


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Theo James Was Shocked By ‘Ginormous’ Prosthetic Penis Used For ‘The White Lotus’ NSFW Scene



Actor Theo James has a massive…sense of humor when it comes to starring in nude scenes for HBO’s “The White Lotus.”

Appearing Friday on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” the actor — who went viral for a steamy scene in the second season premiere of the comedy-drama series — revealed that the fake “pee-pee” he wore for the NSFW scene in the show was “ginormous.”

The much-talked-about nude scene features James, who plays businessman Cameron Babcock, stripping completely naked to change into a swimsuit while Harper (Aubrey Plaza) watches in the bathroom.

“The truth of it was, you go into these scenes, and you have a conversation with the director and the producers and they go, ‘Okay, for this, we’re going to use a prosthetic,’” the 37-year-old recalled of the popular scene. “And you say, ‘Okay, that sounds good.’”

However, despite giving his input to makeup chief Rebecca Hickey about wanting to sport a more modest faux penis, things didn’t quite go according to plan.

“I said, ‘Honestly, I just want it not to be distracting,’” he told host Jimmy Fallon.

“It needs to be ‘Regular Joe.’ Because the scene, you know, it’s not about the pee pee; it’s about power play and sex. It’s about whether he did it deliberately or whether it was an accident and what that means. She says, ‘I got you. Yeah, I got you. Regular Joe.’” James continued.

To James’ surprise, “Regular Joe” was not what he received.

According to the British actor, when he arrived on set, Hickey approached him with a fake penis so outrageously large that it looked like she had “a hammer.”

“I mean, it’s bigger than that. It’s like she stole it off a donkey in the field. The thing is ginormous. And me and the director, Mike White, are sitting there going, ‘That’s… average, is it?’” he joked.

James then quipped that both he and White immediately ran off to call their “respective partners” to profusely apologize, like “I’m so sorry.”

“It was nine inches flat and about four inches wide. We were like, ‘What the hell is that?’” he added, laughing.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight in October, James shared it “felt natural” to go sans clothes in front of the camera for the scene in the primetime Emmy-winning series.

He jokingly added, “It is in my contract that I’m not allowed to do anything without being completely naked.”

Just a month later, James told the outlet that audiences didn’t get a chance to see the initial scene they planned because it was “way too much,” so they “toned it [down].”

“The original derivation of it, it’s kind of full-frontal, if you know what I mean. We shot that and it felt too much, too aggressive,” he told Entertainment Weekly in November. “What we came to is a bit more opaque, and that’s exactly what Mike does so well. You’re never sure a hundred percent of the characters’ intentions.”

“The White Lotus” airs new episodes on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. on Sunday nights.


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Prince Harry Hits Out At ‘Baseless’ Story That Pits ‘Him Against His Country’



Prince Harry is shutting down a recent report that accused him of telling a friend “Those Brits need to learn a lesson” ahead of the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last year.

The global press secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told HuffPost that “this is a baseless hit piece masquerading as journalism.’”

“This story is riddled with inaccuracies, not least of which is a quote erroneously attributed to Prince Harry,” the spokesperson said Sunday.

“To accuse a man who spent 10 years serving his country of wanting to teach that same country a lesson is not only an attempted distraction but an unfortunate and predictable tabloid strategy,” she added. “To pit him against his country is shameful and manipulative, especially when Prince Harry has never spoken ill of the British public.”

The Sun did not immediately respond to a HuffPost request for further comment.

The story and response come on the heels of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s recent, three-day tour of Boston, where they were for the Earthshot Prize Awards.

As the tour nearly coincided with the release of Harry and Meghan Markle’s forthcoming Netflix docuseries, a palace source prior to the trip said the Prince and Princess of Wales wouldn’t “be distracted by other things.”

A trailer for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s six-part series with the streaming giant dropped on the second day of William and Kate’s royal tour, leading many to question the timing of its release.

In the teaser, a voice asks Harry, “Why did you want to make this documentary?”

“No one sees what happens behind closed doors,” the prince responds. “I had to do everything I could to protect my family.”

“When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make sense to hear our story from us?” Meghan later adds in the clip.


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Kenan Thompson’s Herschel Walker Is Confident About His Erection On ‘SNL’



He addressed Tennessee GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Cecily Strong) as “your Highness,” called Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell (James Austin Johnson) “Mr. McDonald,” and admitted there are still “so many” bad things about him people don’t know.

At the end of a long tale of bad things, “Walker” concludes: “Anyway, she didn’t want to keep it, so I drove her down to the Planned Parent Trap.”

When voting by mail was mentioned, “Walker” noted: “You gotta remember, they still gotta count votes by female.”

The Republican brain trust was so rattled they decided to lock Walker in a room — just for a few days.


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