Netflix’s The Crown is approaching the point where they must address the death of Princess Diana. The beloved royal died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being driven by security officer Henri Paul. She was accompanied by her boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed, and the crash was largely caused by the paparazzi following the couple, whose seemingly every move was being documented at the time. Though, The Crown’s cameras will not be documenting the tragedy directly.
“We’ve been dreading getting to this point,” a production source told Deadline. “The countdown is two weeks and while we’re calmly carrying on it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s a certain anxiety; a palpable sense of being slightly on edge. I mean, there’s bombshell sensitivity surrounding this one.”
Al-Fayed and Paul died instantly. Diana was initially removed from the crash alive, but died four hours later. The only survivor was Trevor Rees-Jones, who worked as a security consultant for Al-Fayed’s father. Diana’s death sent the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world into mourning.
The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan has decided that the crash itself will not be portrayed, and the majority of the scenes around her death will be filmed in two weeks.
“It’s the run-up: the car leaving The Ritz after midnight with paparazzi in pursuit and then the aftermath with the British Ambassador to France swinging into action with the Foreign Office and then the subsequent constitutional aftermath,” they explained.
As the show has progressed and gotten closer to current events, there has been tension from the royal family over how the details of their lives are exposed for a new audience. Diana’s son, Prince William, allegedly already “expressed consternation” over an episode where the show recounted how BBC interviewer Martin Bashir got an interview with Diana that made the now King Charles and his Queen Consort, Camilla, look pretty bad. The decision not to show the crash was influenced by how it might be seen by the family, especially following the recent death of Queen Elizabeth.
The Crown is technically fictional, but Peter Morgan’s material is well-researched. Aside from that, Princess Diana’s tragic story is very well-known. Fans of both the show and the People’s Princess will be watching avidly.