Princess Diana on screen: Best TV and movie portrayals of Diana


Elizabeth Debicki and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown, and Princess Diana (C)

Elizabeth Debicki is to become the latest actor to portray Princess Diana on The Crown (Picture: Getty/Netflix)

Princess Diana has long been one of the most popular members of the Royal Family, and with the release of season 5 of The Crown on the horizon, she will be back once more at the forefront of the British public’s hearts and minds.

For the new season, which premieres on November 9, the role is being taken on by Tenet actress Elizabeth Debicki, who joins the cast alongside Dominic West as Prince Charles, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip and Imelda Staunton as the late Queen Elizabeth II.

With headlines already grabbed by scenes expected to be included in The Crown season 5, as well as its sixth season, which is currently filming, we know it will depict Diana as her and Charles’ marriage breaks down for good.

She will also come into her own as patron of over 100 charities, shining a light on the HIV/AIDS crisis at a time when many public figures acted as though it wasn’t happening, before her untimely death in a fatal car crash in Paris in 1997.

The activist’s charitable work, her relationships and her tragic death have all been the subject of countless documentaries, but there have also been some brilliant historical dramas and biopics.

As Debicki prepares to add her own into the mix, here are some of the best TV and movie portrayals of the royal from over the years.

The Crown season 4 (2020)

Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin playing Prince Cbarles and Princess Diana in the Netflix show The Crown.

Emma Corrin’s portrayal of the young princess left fans awestruck (Picture: AP)

Emma Corrin was the first actor to portray the Princess of Wales in Netflix’s acclaimed series The Crown, debuting in season four’s first episode, where she meets the then Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor).

The 10-episode arc took in his proposal in early 1981, their short engagement leading up to the fairytale royal wedding on July 29, 1981 and the births of their sons, Prince William and Prince Harry in 1982 and 1984 respectively.

It also didn’t shy away from their relationship troubles and alleged and admitted infidelities.

Emma was lauded for their portrayal of the princess in her younger years, nabbing a Golden Globe and even receiving a nod for outstanding lead actress in a drama series at the Primetime Emmy Awards thanks to the role.

The Crown seasons 5 and 6 (2022 – )

Actress Elizabeth Debicki playing Princess Diana in the NEtflix series The crown

Debicki’s portrayal of Diana looks incredible (Picture: Click/Dean/SplashNews.com)

Elizabeth Debicki has taken over the role in the fifth and sixth series of the show as she plays a slightly older Diana, still initially married to Charles and with two young sons.

A first look at the actress in the role sparked a massive reaction online and fans couldn’t believe the likeness between the actress and the late Diana.

The series showcasing Elizabeth’s version of the princess has yet to air, but expectations are seriously high.

It’s already been confirmed that the latest batch of episodes will focus on events in the 1990s, including the Wales’ separation in 1992 and Diana’s famous off-the-shoulder ‘revenge dress’, which she wore on the night of Charles’s infamous candid interview about their marriage.

Spencer (2021)

Actress Kristen Stewart playing Princess Diana in the film Spencer.

Spencer secured Stewart an Oscar nomination for best actress (Picture: Pablo Larrain/Neon via AP)

In 2021, almost 25 years after the Paris tragedy, US actor Kristen Stewart took on the role of Princess Diana.

Spencer follows the princess over the course of one Christmas holiday in 1991, spent at Sandringham with the rest of the Royal Family, amid the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles.

The Twilight actress’ portrayal of the mother-of-two was highly praised by both the public and critics, with Stewart going on to be nominated for an Oscar for her work in the film, directed by Pablo Larraín.

She lost out to Jessica Chastain for her work on The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

Diana (2013)

Naomi Watts playing Princess Diana in the film Diana.

Naomi Watts was the first star to take the risk of portraying Princess Diana in a major film (Picture: Ecosse/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock)

The critics absolutely slated it, and it holds an incredibly weak 7% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Naomi Watts’ portrayal of the princess is seriously impressive in 2013’s Diana.

British-Australian actress Watts utterly transformed into the royal and even had her mannerisms down pat.

Diana covered the final two years’ of her life, and was based on Kate Snell’s 2001 book, Diana: Her Last Love.

It also starred Naveen Andrews as Dr Hasnat Khan, Cas Anvar as Dodi Fayed and Douglas Hodge as Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell.

Unfortunately, Watts’ excellent portrayal was overshadowed by issues elsewhere in the film – but if you’re a major Diana fan, it’s still one to watch.

The Crown series five premieres on Netflix on November 9.

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