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Brits outraged by U.S. animated series depicting royal family as egotistical tea drinkers controlled by mafia-boss queen

Prince William and Kate Middleton in “The Prince.” (Courtesy of HBO Max)
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LONDON — “The Prince,” a new satirical U.S. animated series from one of the producers of “Family Guy” that portrays Britain’s royal family as a collection of dysfunctional and egotistical tea drinkers raising their young children to be spoiled and brutish tyrants, has sparked outrage in the United Kingdom.

The official trailer, released by HBO Max on Wednesday, depicts Prince William with a head shaped somewhat like a butternut squash, while his youngest son, 3-year-old Prince Louis, is transformed into a cockney rebel who runs around the palace grunting demands. The series was made available to stream in the United States on Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth II is characterized as a mafia boss dripping in pearls and gold, while heir to the throne Prince Charles is painted as a power-hungry mommy’s-boy who has waited far too long to become king.

Critics say the harshest portrayal, however, is that of 8-year-old Prince George, the eldest child of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The young prince, who is third in line to the throne, is presented as an entitled child who is worried about his weight and harbors ill feelings toward his siblings.

On social media, many slammed the show as “wrong” and “disgusting,” complaining that the series will fuel hatred toward Britain’s royals and young members of the family who may one day learn of the project’s existence.

Creator Gary Janetti has defended his representation of the monarchy, urging people to embrace it as parody that serves to entertains audiences.

“Everything is meant with affection,” Janetti has said. He said his aim was to create a production that was “super funny.”

Janetti has, over the years, come under fire for using his Instagram account to mock the young prince. After the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018, the American writer was blasted for speculating about George’s sexuality, by insinuating he was in a relationship with a young pageboy. George was 4 years old at the time.

The cast of “The Prince” includes Orlando Bloom as the voice of Prince Harry, Lucy Punch as Catherine and “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner as Princess Charlotte.

Earlier this year, Turner blasted paparazzi for photographing her young child and called for better protection for minors when it came to privacy.

“I’m sickened, I’m disgusted and I’m respectfully asking everyone to stop following us around,” she said on Instagram after the publication of images that she alleged were taken without consent.

Some on social media fumed that her decision to take part in the new series was hypocritical given its parodying of the young royals and her recent rant about the need for privacy.

The fact that Harry and Bloom are reportedly friends also led some to criticize the actor’s decision to become involved with the series as the prince’s voice.

Speaking earlier this year, Harry said that Bloom, who lives near his home in Los Angeles, has helped him deal with the issue of invasive paparazzi, warning him when photographers seeking images of his young children are nearby.

Britain’s newspapers also condemned the series, with the Daily Telegraph writing that its creators present young George as “spoiled, sneering and sharp-tongued.” The Daily Mail posed the question: “Should children be ‘off limits’ in comedy?”

Richard Palmer, royal correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, joined the criticism this week, tweeting: “Lampooning a little boy will not go down well with some. Would a US company commission a similar series about a US president’s child?”

Others defended the animated series, encouraging others to lighten up and enjoy comedy, arguing that people had a right to freedom of speech — including comedians and creatives.

It has been a tumultuous few years for Britain’s royals, who have faced ever-growing rumors of a rift between brothers William and Harry and the loss of 99-year-old Prince Philip, husband to the queen, in April.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified Gary Janetti’s role on “Family Guy.” Janetti was a co-executive producer of the show, not the creator. This version has been corrected.

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