Weeks, we saw the exciting new images for Season 4 of The Crown. This is the season where Lady Diana Spencer is introduced, and we’ll see some of her courtship with Prince Charles, and their wedding, of course. Emma Corrin in the “Shy Di” wig looks really good, so I have confidence in that, but I’m not sure if I have confidence in how they’ll actually portray Diana’s early years in and around The Firm? And I’m especially uncertain about the story now that I’ve actually read The Crown’s creator/producer Peter Morgan’s take on Diana.
“She’s just such an extraordinary character,” said Peter Morgan, the Oscar-, Emmy-, and Tony-nominated screenwriter and creator of The Crown, who has spent the last decade and a half—since his film The Queen—imagining what Buckingham Palace looks like behind the scenes. “She was very much the British Eva Perón—such a mythic figure, so much bigger than anything we’d been used to.”
Morgan also acknowledged that it’s hard not to view recent royal history through a lens of current events – such as Prince Andrew’s former association with the convicted paedophile, the late Jeffrey Epstein, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departure from official royal life. Yet Morgan stressed that he did not want to fill his drama with heavy-handed foreshadowing, saying: ‘If you draw too many intentional parallels, it actually becomes quite ugly.’
He added, however, that Meghan Markle’s struggles in the royal limelight spark inevitable comparisons: ‘When you see a beautiful young princess struggling to find love and acceptance within the family, the parallels are obvious and the parallels write themselves… If you come into [the Royal Family] with any agenda for yourself – or if you come in and connect with the public in a way that threatens to change the way that the royal family connects with the public – that’s something that doesn’t particularly sit comfortably for either side. Really, the only version of events that works is if somebody comes in and becomes invisible, and just sort of knuckles down to a lifetime of agreeable supplicancy to the duties of the crown. Diana struggled to fit in with the institution in a way that it’s impossible not to see the parallels with Meghan Markle and Harry. So the story feels both incredibly vivid historically, but also it really shines a lot of lights on where we are now.’
Yet many of Diana had her personal struggles too, such as her battle with bulimia, which is portrayed in the upcoming series. Morgan said that he felt ‘to not represent it would be to deny the former Princess of Wales some of the true complexity of her character…. Her own suffering made her have compassion for other people. And it was the compassion she showed for other people that was what made everyone love her. Everyone has vulnerabilities and frailties. And she wore hers on her sleeve – which, of course, is the opposite of royalty. You’re representing an idea and an ideal, and you don’t want there to be too much humanity in the way.’
The British Eva Peron? The hell? I mean, I can see the parallel, but Diana was Diana, she was part of a new media paradigm, a new tabloid paradigm, and she was literally the biggest global celebrity in the world. This is interesting too: “If you come into [the Royal Family] with any agenda for yourself – or if you come in and connect with the public in a way that threatens to change the way that the royal family connects with the public– that’s something that doesn’t particularly sit comfortably for either side.” LMAO. Think about what he’s really saying there. Diana plainly was a threat to the monarchy *because* she connected with the public in a way Petty Betty and the fam had never done. Sure, the Queen used to be very popular. But the Queen has always been about grumpily doing her duty whereas Diana used her position to really work and become close to people.
“Really, the only version of events that works is if somebody comes in and becomes invisible, and just sort of knuckles down to a lifetime of agreeable supplicancy to the duties of the crown.” Somewhere in Norfolk, Kate looked at her closet full of fussy coatdresses and Sister Wife dresses and shuddered.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Vanity Fair/Netflix.