Emma Corrin has landed the potentially star-making role we imagine just about every young, blonde British actress has wanted since 2016: The Crown‘s young Princess Diana. But you’ll have to wait awhile to actually see her make her debut. In announcing the news, producers also clarified that the character will not be making her debut until season four of the series, despite original plans to introduce Diana toward the end of the upcoming season three. And they’re promising it will be worth the wait.
“Emma is a brilliant talent who immediately captivated us when she came in for the part of Diana Spencer,” said The Crown creator Peter Morgan, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “As well as having the innocence and beauty of a young Diana, she also has, in abundance, the range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman who went from anonymous teenager to becoming the most iconic woman of her generation.”
Meanwhile, Corrin let her joy be known on Instagram, where she wrote, “over joyed, over the moon and incredibly honoured, what a project to join.”
It certainly is a spectacular role for such a newcomer. Indeed, Corrin is such a newcomer that her Instagram account history only begins six days ago. You’re not going to find much more on her IMDb page, either. She appeared in a short film in 2018, and her only other credit available for viewing is an episode of British mystery series Grantchester (she played a character named Esther Carter, for what it’s worth). She’ll also appear in the upcoming British film Misbehaviour, which is about the events of the 1970 Miss World competition, which brought forth a load of social change, including the first black competitor, to the pageant world. She’ll costar in the film alongside Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and incidentally, the film’s director, Philippa Lowthorpe, has also directed two episodes of The Crown. In addition, she’s booked a role as a series regular on Epic’s upcoming Pennyworth, which, yes, is a prequel series about Batman’s butler. She also has something of a background in modeling, appearing in a 2015 shoot for Wonderland magazine. If the “booked and busy” theory of talent holds, it seems Corrin certainly holds quite a lot of promise as someone who only recently began her professional career.
According to her talent agency page, Corrin studied at Cambridge University (where she was actively appearing in student productions as recently as 2017), and has appeared onstage as the Princess of France in a Marlowe Society staging of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost and in multiple roles in the Corpus Playroom’s recent staging of Coriolanus. And that, folks, is really all we know about her. Not even her age has been confirmed anywhere, though we assume it’s somewhere in the early 20s.
We always suspected that the Princess Di role would got to a newcomer out of nowhere. The character, after all, will be introduced on the show while she’s still a teen. Season four will coincide with Margaret Thatcher’s run as prime minister (Gillian Anderson will play the controversial conservative character), which began in 1979, the year Diana turned 18. Diana and her future husband Prince Charles first met in 1977, when the Prince briefly dated her older sister, Lady Sarah. The courtship between Charles and Diana didn’t begin until 1980, and the pair were engaged in 1981.
Even though the show places a lot of focus on the personal lives of the royal family, structurally it’s focused around terms of prime ministers, with each season focusing on the terms of one or two, depending on the timing. Thatcher’s reign lasted over a decade, until 1990, which is more than enough time for an entire season. It would coincide with Diana and Charles’s whirlwind courtship, the princess’s early problems with adapting to life as a royal, and the initial strains in their relationship. According to longstanding gossip, Diana eventually grew so frustrated that she confronted Charles’s mistress (and now wife) Camilla Parker Bowles at a birthday party in 1989, which would make a great penultimate season four episode, if you ask us (Parker Bowles, by the way, will be introduced in season three, as played by Emerald Fennell, current showrunner of Killing Eve.)
Production on season four will begin later this year, possibly even before season three premiers on Netflix. Corrin will join a completely new cast that includes Oscar winner Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, and Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles. Presumably, the cast will be renewed again for seasons five and six, though wondering if that means we’ll get a new Princess Diana as well is perhaps getting ahead of ourselves.
In the meantime, we should be wondering who the series will cast in what will assuredly be the most fun role of season four: Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson.