A total of 73 million households worldwide have watched royal drama The Crown since it began in 2016, according to figures released by Netflix. Now, royal fans are about to be delivered another must-consume series that draws from the same history: "The Firm: Blood, Lies and Royal Succession."
The highly anticipated 12-part podcast released its trailer on June 7 — listen to the trailer here — with the series’ producers saying they believe the original audio series documenting the controversies, scandals, and cover-ups of the British monarchy will, like The Crown, also become part of the global cultural zeitgeist.
“Interest in the royals has perhaps never been higher, but today’s scandals are really only the beginning when it comes to The Firm,” said Melissa Cronin, executive producer of the series.
“'The Firm: Blood, Lies and Royal Succession' will offer listeners compelling insight into the truth about the royal family, its history, and how the institution has evolved and adapted over time despite unprecedented challenges.
“Listeners will hear the real stories behind the airbrushed fairytales, and will learn the lengths to which the Firm will go – and has gone – in order to keep those secrets.”
News of the podcast comes in the immediate aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The 96-year-old monarch ended four days of celebrations with a much-loved appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
Dressed in a green coat and hat, white gloves and her signature pearls, the Queen stood alongside her oldest son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Directly to their left were the future heirs, Prince William and his son, Prince George, 8, and the rest of the Cambridge family, including Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4.
Notably absent was Prince Andrew, who is the subject of The Firm’s first chapter titled “The Prince and the Pedophile.”
It will revisit how convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein thrust the House of Windsor into an intense international spotlight that threatened the very bedrock of the monarchy to this day.
Coming on the heels of reports that senior royals — including the Queen and Prince Charles — deliberately cut Andrew out of last week’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the episode will use cutting-edge technology to expose Prince Andrew’s lies, according to a press release.
In addition, Lady Colin Campbell, an expert on the British aristocracy, will explain how Epstein was a “hate figure” among aristocratic circles, known to be “straight as a corkscrew.”
The Firm will investigate a strict hierarchy of Royals based on the line of succession, and how it has steered the British monarchy through 600 years of scandals that threatened its very existence, Cronin added.
“Behind the opulence and regal tradition lies a dark underbelly comprising generations of hundreds of men and women who make up the royal household — from servants, to consultants, advisers, and protectors of the House of Windsor,” Cronin said. “Together, these disciples of the monarch have kept the institution humming, all under a reign of duty and destiny dating back to the ninth century."
Dylan Howard is also an executive producer of The Firm, the journalist who took listeners on a real-time investigation into the death of Hollywood actress Natalie Wood in the podcast "Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood." It was one of Apple’s most downloaded podcasts in 2018, described by Rolling Stone as a “dramatic whodunit.”
The podcast was also named a 2019 Webby Best Series honoree by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and led Dr. Phil McGraw to say, "You don't want to let the sun set before you start listening to this because it is intriguing."
“The institution of the Monarchy is also a business, and The Firm: Blood, Lies, and Royal Succession is a striking tribute to unforgettable stories in its history. The series dissects the business of the royals, and how they covet influence by leveraging a strong and powerful brand. Such a potent cocktail inevitably leads to schadenfreude and sinister decisions.”
He added, “It is a telling of how the most powerful and influential figures of generations are dealt one constitutional crisis after another, the kind of which make you believe you are listening to fiction. But these twists and turns are not. These layered and complicated stories are brilliantly woven together to reveal how the royals have avoided scrutiny and protected their brand — at virtually all costs.”
Other weekly chapters will revisit subjects such as Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen” who survived war, betrayal, numerous threats to her life and supposedly sacrificed her very womanhood for the country; Princess Diana, whose tragic early death triggered the greatest peacetime threat to the monarchy in centuries; the madness of George III, the King who lost America and died locked in his own personal insane asylum; and the treachery of Edward VIII, who prepared to sell out Britain to Nazi Germany at the time of his nation’s greatest need.
The trailer, released June 7, promised "The Firm: Blood, Lies, and Royal Succession" will reveal that throughout each of the threats to the Family’s existence, there has been the overriding principle of protecting the institution above all else … and at whatever cost.
"The Firm: Blood, Lies, and Royal Succession" will be available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast listening platforms. It was written by Dominic Utton, produced by Douglas Montero, and edited by Sean Kravit. The series is hosted by Jonathan Lock.
Chapter One of "The Firm: Blood, Lies and Royal Succession" will debut on Tuesday, June 14.