What ‘The Crown’ misses about Princess Diana’s life

princess diana the crown emma corrin

  • Season four of "The Crown" on Netflix follows the British royal family throughout the 1980s.
  • Early on in the season, viewers meet Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) and follow her rocky marriage with Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) — but the show only scratches the surface of the life of Lady Di.
  • "The Crown" doesn't make clear that Princess Diana grew up in an aristocratic family and wouldn't have needed to go through royal etiquette training as she did in the show. 
  • The show also seems to skip over Prince Harry's birth, which Princess Diana told her biographer, Andrew Morton, marked a pivotal time in her marriage with Prince Charles.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Season four of "The Crown," which follows the British royal family throughout the 1980s, has many viewers doing a double take with its seemingly spot-on portrayal of Princess Diana, played by the 25-year-old actress Emma Corrin.

For starters, the latest season of the Netflix series includes expert re-creations of Lady Di's memorable fashion moments. The show also draws on true events from the Princess of Wales' life, such as her dance to "Uptown Girl" for a surprise performance to celebrate Prince Charles' birthday; and her philanthropic hospital visits that led her to become a lifelong ally of the HIV and AIDS community.

The show also sheds light on some of the darker aspects of the late Diana's life as a royal — including her battle with the eating disorder bulimia, which she spoke about in her 1995 interview with BBC's Martin Bashir.

Here's what "The Crown" seems to skip over in its portrayal of Diana's life, both in and out of the royal family.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in "The Crown" season four; Princess Diana sitting on the steps of Highgrove House circa July 1986.
Des Willie/Netflix; Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In 'The Crown,' Lady Diana Spencer meets Prince Charles by chance — but in reality, they were introduced by Diana's older sister

In season four of the show, Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) meet in a seemingly coincidental way.

In "The Crown," Prince Charles arrives at the Spencer residence, Althorp, to take Sarah Spencer, Diana's oldest sister, on a date. A young Princess Diana  — who's dressed in a costume for a performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" — is shown sneaking around the foyer when she encounters Prince Charles, who is waiting for Sarah. 

According to Hugo Vickers, author of "The Crown Dissected," the fictional meet-cute as shown in "The Crown" was not how Princess Diana and Prince Charles first met.

Vickers says in his book, which delves into the stories behind episodes from seasons one, two, three, and four of "The Crown," that the two first met formally at Althorp in 1977. 

In an article published in The Guardian in 1981, following the royals' engagement, Lady Sarah Spencer, now Lady Sarah McCorquodale, said that she was the one who introduced her younger sister to Prince Charles. "I'm Cupid," then-Lady Sarah Spencer told the newspaper, referencing how she introduced the pair.

Vickers added that "the royal family had known the Spencers forever," and as such, Prince Charles would likely have generally known of Princess Diana — a fact that wasn't portrayed in "The Crown."

"The fabricated scene in which Prince Charles spots Lady Diana Spencer, trying to hide as a tree, does not entirely wash because even if he did not recognize her, he would have known who she was," Vickers wrote in his book.

Lady Sarah Spencer and Prince Charles in 1977; Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Balmoral, 1980.
Serge Lemoine/Getty Images; Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images

Lady Diana Spencer didn't actually need all of the royal protocol lessons shown in 'The Crown' 

In the third episode of season four, titled "Fairytale," the soon-to-be Princess of Wales is shown settling into Buckingham Palace ahead of her marriage to Prince Charles.

In one scene, Lady Diana receives etiquette lessons from Lady Fermoy, her maternal grandmother. Lady Fermoy tells Diana about rules for curtsying, and about staff within the royal household — but according to Vickers, Diana would not have needed these types of lessons, as she grew up in a royal-adjacent family herself.

Emma Corrin in "The Crown" Princess Diana at City Hall in Brisbane, Australia, April 11, 1983.
Des Willie/Netflix; Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

As described in The Guardian's 1981 article published ahead of the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales: "Lady Diana comes from one of the oldest and most senior of Britain's aristocratic families."

Vickers wrote in his book that because of her lineage and the social circle her family was a part of, Princess Diana would likely have been familiar with royal etiquette.

"It is crazy that the Diana figure would make so many gaffes of 'protocol' on entering the Queen's drawing room, considering she had been brought up in royal circles," Vickers wrote.

However, Vickers said Diana's dance lessons, which were part of royal training shown in the "The Crown," were more realistic. 

For example, in one scene, Diana's ballet teacher didn't show up to the lesson, and she's seen dancing around the room in an emotional, almost cathartic manner. Corrin revealed in a video for British GQ that she improvised all the movements in the spontaneous scene — which was set to Elton John's 1978 track "Song for Guy" — in order to embody Diana's known love of dancing.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=KRsZp1sHQl0%3Fstart%3D789

'The Crown' skipped over the birth of Prince Harry, which Princess Diana once said marked a pivotal point in her marriage 

While Princess Diana is seen caring for Prince William in early episodes of "The Crown" season four — including on her royal tour of Australia with Prince Charles — the show does not shed light on the birth of Prince Harry in 1984.

According to Andrew Morton's biography of Princess Diana, "Diana: Her True Story," the weeks leading up to the birth of Prince Harry were a happy time in her marriage with Prince Charles.

Diana, the Princess of Wales, holds her son Harry, while looking at Prince William, held his father Prince Charles, on May 5, 1985 in Venice, Italy.
Georges de Keerle/Getty Images

"Charles and I were very, very close to each other the six weeks before Harry was born, the closest we've ever, ever been and ever will be," Princess Diana told Morton.

She added in her interview with Morton that Prince Charles was hoping for the baby to be a girl. When Harry was born, she said, their marriage took a turn.

"Then, suddenly, as Harry was born, it just went bang, our marriage," Princess Diana said. "The whole thing went down the drain."

"The Crown" season four is available on Netflix.

Source: Read Full Article