Fans of The Crown have anxiously anticipated the arrival of Princess Diana since the show’s first season aired in 2016. Diana is a true cultural icon; her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981 ignited a global fascination with everything from her fashion to her philanthropy, and today, her sons Prince William and Prince Harry strive to keep her memory alive in the public consciousness. But the late royal’s memory also points directly to a history of unrest within the royal family dynamic. Here, everything we know about Princess Diana’s time on The Crown, updated as we learn more.
Who is playing Princess Diana?
In April 2019, Netflix confirmed that Emma Corrin, a relative newcomer with roles in Alex’s Dream and Grantchester, would play the iconic royal in season 4 of the show.
In a statement released by Netflix, Corrin said, “I have been glued to the show and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is surreal. Princess Diana was an icon and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. To explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity and I will strive to do her justice!”
When will she debut on The Crown?
Back in 2016, there was talk that Diana would be introduced at the end of season 3, before playing a major role in the fourth season. In terms of the timeline, this theory made sense—the third season takes place between between 1964 and 1977, covering much of the Prime Minister Harold Wilson era. Diana and Charles reportedly first met in 1977.
But by 2017, series creator Peter Morgan told Vanity Fair, “The Diana stuff…I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with her if I ever get that far. I’ve mapped out what might be a third season. If she were to be introduced, it’d probably have to wait until the fourth.” Netflix confirmed Diana would appear in the fourth season while announcing Corrin’s casting in April 2019.
The UK Times reported in 2017 that the fourth season would focus on Margaret Thatcher’s years as prime minister. Thatcher (played by Gillian Anderson) held the title from 1979 to 1990, which puts the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana and subsequent births of their two sons—Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984—well within the season’s domain.
The official release date of The Crown season 4 hasn’t been announced yet, but star Olivia Colman confirmed that it would begin filming in August 2019, per Yahoo. Considering the first two seasons were released back to back in 2016 and 2017, a 2020 air date for season 4 (and Princess Diana’s arrival) seems likely.
Are there photos of Corrin as Di?
In October, photos of Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Corrin as Princess Diana emerged. The couple appear to be reenacting Charles and Diana’s 1983 tour of Australia, given the similar fashion choices. Even the most skeptical of viewer will notice the undeniable resemblance between Di and Corrin.
What will Diana’s storyline look like?
It’s hard to know which angle The Crown will take with Princess Diana’s character. Many view the late royal as a misunderstood heroine while also remembering the unrest she caused within the monarchy. Though most people view Camilla Shand (later Parker Bowles), played in season 3 by Emerald Fennell, as “the other woman,” Morgan has a decidedly different take on her relationship with Charles, whom she met in 1971. In August, Morgan told Entertainment Weekly, “People always assume Charles cheated on Diana with Camilla. It’s absolutely the wrong way round. He was deeply in love with Camilla and forced to marry Diana.”
In the months leading up to Diana’s tragic death at age 36, her life became increasingly separate from that of the royal family, save for her two young children. Only time will tell how The Crown will depict her brief but permanent mark on royal history.