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Emma Corrin to Kristen Stewart: The many portrayals of Diana, Princess of Wales

Elizabeth Debicki is the latest actress to take on the role of the princess in the upcoming fifth series of The Crown.

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Emma Corrin in The Crown

The details of Diana, Princess of Wales’ life in the limelight have long made for a captivating story, leading to a variety of on-screen portrayals of the late princess.

From Emma Corrin to Kristen Stewart, here is a look at a number of the actors who have taken on the role.

– Emma Corrin in The Crown

In Netflix’s hit historical drama The Crown, Corrin, 26, undertook the role of Lady Diana Spencer as she first entered the life of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and Diana’s husband-to-be.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown
Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in The Crown (Netflix/PA)

English actor Corrin, who was relatively unknown when they were offered the role in 2019, reportedly carried out extensive research on the late princess before embarking on their portrayal, including meeting with the princess’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson.

They starred alongside Josh O’Connor, who played the young Prince Charles, as well as Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies who portrayed the Queen and Prince Philip.

Corrin won the Golden Globe for best actress in a television series drama for their depiction of the princess.

– Kristen Stewart in Spencer

American actress Stewart, 32, who is best known for the role of Bella Swan in the Twilight saga, accepted the challenge of portraying Diana, Princess of Wales in 2021 film Spencer.

In contrast to a number of other films and television series featuring the princess, Spencer is set over the course of just three days and follows the princess during the Christmas of 1991 at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.

Kristen Stewart stars as Diana
Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer (Fabula Films/Komplizen Film/Shoebox Films/PA)

In the film, Stewart depicts the period in which the relationship between Diana and Charles is under strain, with a particular focus on the state of Diana’s mental health at the time.

In order to perfect her English accent, Stewart worked with dialect coach William Conacher, who also worked with Corrin and Naomi Watts during their preparation for taking on the role of Diana.

Stewart received nominations for the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for best actress for her role.

– Naomi Watts in Diana

Watts, 53, played the royal figure in 2013 film Diana, which concentrates on the final two years of the princess’s life.

Beginning with her divorce from Charles in 1996, the film takes a closer look at the romantic relationships the princess formed after the end of her marriage to the prince.

The Fashion Awards 2019 – London
Naomi Watts portrayed Princess Diana in 2013 movie Diana (Ian West/PA)

The film covers Diana’s trip to Angola shortly before her death in 1997, as part of her efforts to campaign against landmines.

Her relationship with Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed also features and the film ends with the death of Diana and Fayed in the infamous car crash in the Pont de l’Alma Tunnel, in Paris – however there is no on-screen depiction of the crash itself.

– Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown

As the fifth series of The Crown approaches, Elizabeth Debicki is the latest actress to undertake the role of Diana.

The Australian actress, who previously starred in Tenet and The Great Gatsby, will portray the princess in the last decade of her life as she takes over from Corrin.

Debicki, 31, will star alongside Dominic West as Prince Charles and although viewers are yet to see the pair’s on-screen portrayals for themselves, images released by Netflix have given the show’s fans a glimpse of what to expect.

The Crown season five
Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana in the fifth season of The Crown (Netflix/PA)

In one shot the couple can be seen standing on a yacht as Debicki dons a colourful floral print dress and Diana’s signature cropped blonde haircut, while West, 52, emulates the prince in a tweed brown suit and aviator sunglasses.

The scene was reportedly filmed in Palma, Mallorca, aboard the Christina O, a luxury 325-foot yacht formerly owned by Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

– Julie Cox in Princess In Love

Diana was portrayed on screen even before her death, notably by British actress Julie Cox in 1996 film Princess In Love.

The movie concentrated on the turbulent final years of the princess’s marriage to Charles and the reported affair she had with military officer James Hewitt.

Based on Anna Pasternak’s book of the same name, for which Hewitt was a major source, the film follows the then-alleged five-year affair between Diana and Hewitt, 64.

Julie Cox The War Bride
Julie Cox portrayed Diana on screen in 1996 prior to the princess’s death (Haydn West/PA)

Diana later confirmed the affair in her now-notorious 1995 BBC Panorama interview with journalist Martin Bashir.

Cox, 48, starred alongside English actor and producer Christopher Villiers who portrayed Hewitt.

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