Photo courtesy of Left Bank Pictures / IMDb

Review: 'The Crown' Takes on the Tumult of Princess Diana's Royal Life

Emma Corrin’s role as Princess Diana has been the talk of the town, whether commended or critiqued over her performance and portrayal of such a beloved historical figure.

The latest season of "The Crown" centers around Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s tumultuous relationship, with Corrin first appearing as the 16-year-old Diana Spencer in her first encounter with Charles (Josh O’Connor). After winning over the approval of the Queen (Olivia Colman) and Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), Diana struggles to assimilate into royal life. The season concludes with an emotional scene between the couple, with Princess Diana declaring that she will break away from the family if she doesn’t get the support that she needs.

From her soft-spoken demeanor to her quiet charm, Corrin elegantly captures Diana’s essence. If you close your eyes, you can hear Princess Diana’s likeness. Yet, the most memorable part of Diana’s story in "The Crown" revolves around her complexity and depth. Corrin plays out the darker side of the princess’s life, bringing to light her experiences with disordered eating, the ups and downs of her marriage, and navigating the tough exteriors of the royal family. It is hard to not fall in love with Corrin’s performance, which garnered a positive reaction from the media as well. 

However, in keeping with the pattern from most historical dramas, there has been controversy over whether "The Crown" adequately reflects historical reality, especially since Princess Diana’s portrayal and storyline casts a shadow over the royal family’s reputation. It is easy to see how the show can be misunderstood. From the costumes to the set design, most aspects of the film are closely modeled after real life. Princess Diana’s outfits, from her wedding dress to those worn on her tour of Australia, were all very close recreations of their originals. 

In multiple interviews and magazine articles, the creators and the cast of the show remind everyone that the show is fictionalized, a mere interpretation of real events and reimagining of those events with a dramatic flair.

In her "Tamron Hall Show" interview, Emma Corrin was asked to address the controversies surrounding her role. "It's a difficult one," Corrin explained. "I think for everyone in "The Crown" we always try and remind everyone that what we are, the series that we're in, is fictionalized to a great extent. Obviously it has its roots in reality and in some fact but Peter Morgan's scripts are works of fiction."

As with all works of art, there will always be people who love it and some who hate it. 

Undeniably, "The Crown" has a rich and compelling storyline addressing significant contemporary issues. For the rest of the fourth season, the Queen reflects on how she raised her children and whether she was a good mother, while Charles struggles against his engagement and refuses to give up on his love for Camilla Shand. Princess Margaret grapples with her life’s purpose and gains insight into dark family secrets. The complex relationship between Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Queen Elizabeth highlights the Prime Minister’s controversial role as a female politician with a calloused, conservative approach to politics. Overall, "The Crown" does its job, so long as its viewers don’t take dramatization as fact.

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