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Ahead of Spencer, actors who brought Princess Diana to life: Naomi Watts, Emma Corrin, and others

Before you watch Kristen Stewart's Spencer, here are five best portrayals of Princess Diana, from The Crown's Emma Corrin to Naomi Watts in Diana.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
November 19, 2021 8:50:26 am
Naomi Watts, emma corrinNaomi Watts and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana. (Photo: Entertainment One and Netflix)

Several notable actors in Hollywood have played the role of Diana, Princess of Wales, better known as Princess Diana, in various TV show and movies. This includes Naomi Watts and most recently Emma Corrin in The Crown.

Diana was a free-spirited woman, who was lovingly dubbed People’s Princess, because of her humanitarian efforts and sweet disposition. By all accounts, she was a genuinely kind woman who loved helping people.

She became a member of the British royal family after she married Prince Charles. Their relationship was projected in popular imagination as a fairytale romance, but it ended with a divorce in 1996 after years of reports of extramarital affairs.

Elizabeth Debicki Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown season 5. (Photo: Netflix)

Diana tragically died in a car crash in the following year.

The latest actor to take on the challenging role is Kristen Stewart. She dons the role in Pablo Larraín’s Spencer. The title of the film derives from Diana’s maiden name. Written by Steven Knight, the film is a dramatisation of Diana’s decision to end her marriage with Prince Charles.

But before you watch Spencer, here are five best portrayals of Princess Diana. It must be noted that Princess Diana had very specific mannerisms and even her accent, so essaying her on screen does not come easy, particularly if one is aiming for total authenticity.

1. Naomi Watts in Diana

Naomi Watts played the role of Diana in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana. The film was a fictionalised account of the last two years of Princess’ life and her relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (played by Naveen Andrews). The film also highlighted her charity work and her advocacy of numerous causes. While the film was panned almost universally, Watts’ performance received a lot of praise. The portrayal is still considered one of the best.

2. Emma Corrin in The Crown

Corrin’s portrayal of a young Diana has received a lot of acclaim in Netflix’s period drama The Crown’s season 4. The season chronicled the introduction of Lady Diana to the world, her wedding to Prince Charles and the birth of their two sons. Corrin’s performance was not exact impression of the People’s Princess, but rather interpretation of sorts.

3. Julie Cox in Princess in Love

TV movie Princess in Love was an adaptation of Anna Pasternak’s book of the same name. It depicted the then-rumoured affair between Diana and British Army officer Captain James Hewitt. The quality of the movie itself was execrable, but Cox’s work was pretty good.

4. Genevieve O’Reilly in Diana: Last Days of a Princess

Genevieve’s TV movie was a half-documentary, half-dramatisation. It mixed scripted scenes, actual footage and interviews with those who supposedly knew Diana like butler Paul Burrell. Again, the film was not received well. A critic called it, among other things, a disgrace. But Genevieve’s performance was praised by most.

5. Amy Seccombe in Diana: A Tribute to the People’s Princess

Released just a year after Diana’s death, this 1998 TV Movie claimed to tell the “fascinating tale” of the People’s Princess. The film focussed on the royal through the final months of her life and her relationships with Dodi Al Fayed and Hasnat Khan. The film had a poignant tone and Seccombe was actually quite good in the role, but bad writing made sure very few liked the film. However, worth watching for those who want to know about Diana when she was far from the paparazzi and media spotlight.

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