Kristin Stewart earned an Oscar nod for her performance in last year’s “Spencer,” streaming on Hulu. Photo courtesy of NEON/Twitter
Aug. 26 (UPI) — Pop culture’s obsession with Princess Diana didn’t end with her tragic death in a 1997 Paris car crash.
In the ensuing years, film and TV producers have continued to capture on stage and screen the essence of her beauty, style, charm and dedication to her two young sons. They also explore her anxiety, depression and troubled marriage and eventual divorce from Prince Charles, who is next in line for the British throne after his mother Queen Elizabeth II.
As the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death approaches on Wednesday, here are five streaming films and series that attempt to paint a portrait of the People’s Princess.
The Queen (2006) — HBO Max
The film focuses on the royal family’s subdued reaction to Diana’s death, a tragedy they felt should be mourned in private, mainly to protect her and Charles’ sons, Princes William and Harry. Eventually, they seem to realize, in part due to the persuasion of Prime Minister Tony Blair, that Diana was a beloved global figure deserving of an extraordinary public tribute. Diana is seen in archival footage and photos throughout the film, while Helen Mirren earned her Oscar for playing the titular monarch, Elizabeth II. Michael Sheen plays Blair, Alex Jennings plays Charles and James Cromwell plays the queen’s husband, Prince Philip.
Diana (2013) — AMC+
This adaptation of Kate Snell’s 2001 book, Diana: Her Last Love, chronicles the last two years of the divorced Princess Diana’s life as she campaigned against land mines and enjoyed a brief romance with surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan. When the relationship ends unhappily, the princess begins dating film producer Dodi Fayed. Fayed and his driver were also killed in the accident.
Naomi Watts plays Diana, Naveen Andrews plays Khan and Cas Anvar plays Fayed.
The Crown Season 4 (2021) — Netflix
Emma Corrin won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the fun and smitten, teenage and 20-something Diana in Season 4 of the drama series, which takes place mainly in the 1980s. It covers the early years of her marriage to the reluctant Charles (Josh O’Connor) — who weds her to satisfy his father, Philip (Tobias Menzies), even though he is in love with Camilla (Emerald Fennell). It also shows their family life with their boys and eventual betrayal of their marriage vows as they engage in extramarital affairs.
Spencer (2021) — Hulu
This film imagines what could have happened during the royal family’s Christmas festivities at the queen’s Sandringham Estate in 1991 after Diana (Kristen Stewart) and Charles (Jack Farthing) have been on the outs for some time. The clan anticipates the couple’s divorce during a period of eating, drinking, verbal sparring and actual hunting. Stella Gonet plays Queen Elizabeth II and Richard Sammel plays Prince Philip. Sally Hawkins, Timothy Spall and Sean Harris co-star. Stewart earned an Oscar nod for her performance.
Diana the Musical (2021) — Netflix
This musical celebration of milestones from the princess’ life premiered on Netflix before opening on Broadway in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Jeanna de Waal plays Diana, Roe Hartrampf plays Charles, Erin Davie plays Camilla Parker Bowles and Judy Kaye plays the queen. The show — which has book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music and lyrics by David Bryan — was panned by critics and the filmed version scored five Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture.