Princess Dianas friends are super-worried about her portrayal in Spencer

One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen or covered was last fall’s palace-led PR campaign against The Crown. The British royals had enjoyed a renewed interest in the monarchy given that the first three seasons of The Crown were mostly positive and humanizing. But then in season 4, Diana was introduced and the producers were pretty realistic in showing how badly she was treated by the establishment and by Prince Charles. All of a sudden, The Crown was trash and no one should believe anything in that show. All of a sudden, Clarence House was nitpicking every last thing about the show. Beyond the Streisand Effect of it all, it was hilarious to see that Charles’ “popularity” is a mile wide and an inch deep – all it took was ten hours of prestige programming for Charles’ careful twenty-five-year image rehab to go down the drain.

I bring all of this up because of the film Spencer, a movie about Diana deciding her marriage needed to end, all while she was stuck in Sandringham for Christmas. Kristen Stewart is getting great reviews for playing a version of Diana who felt caged, gaslighted and emotionally abused. But now there’s a curious little campaign coming out of Britain to say that the film is wrong, because Diana was a happy person. Or something. The Telegraph ran an article which asks the question: “Doesn’t Diana deserve to be portrayed as far more than someone who was too scared to go down to dinner with the in-laws?”

A number of Princess Diana’s friends recently said that the late royal would be “horrified” by her portrayals in pop culture, including in the forthcoming film Spencer. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Majesty editor Ingrid Seward, hair stylist Sam McKnight, make-up artist Mary Greenwell, and fashion designer Jacques Azagury explained that the film — starring Kristen Stewart as the Princess of Wales and directed by Pablo Larrain — doesn’t necessarily get everything right.

Seward said: “That Christmas she was there with Fergie, she was pretty miserable and she wasn’t speaking to Charles, but she wasn’t cutting herself at that stage. They’ve piled every bad thing into one weekend which is taking poetic licence a little far. ‘I don’t think Diana saw herself as a victim at all. She saw herself as a single woman before the end of her marriage. She was very funny about it all, that’s how she dealt with life – she was either crying or laughing.”

Seward added that Diana would “never try to destroy the monarchy” because it was her “sons’ future..She would be very sad that people think she and Charles never loved each other, that wasn’t true. She’d be horrified at the way she’s portrayed now.”

Greenwell, who worked with Diana for her December 1991 Vogue cover, said: “[Diana is] now seen as this kind of martyr, which I think is wrong. She did amazing things, but she’s misunderstood. All I’d say is that the portrayals you see now are not the best way to understand her. She wouldn’t want to be on this pedestal with all this glory and fame.”

Diana didn’t see herself as a victim, Seward added, conceding that Diana could be “different things on different days. There’s no doubt Diana went through some tough times as she navigated her initiation into royal life.”

[From Yahoo & The Telegraph]

I’m not going into Spencer with the belief that it’s a documentary or that they’ve nailed down every historical fact. I didn’t go into The Crown that way either, and I ended up impressed with how they got the broad strokes right. The Crown used a ton of historical information to nail down the stories they told, and in Season 4, they were often using Diana’s own interviews, from the tapes she made with Andrew Morton. I believe Spencer will be different, not as closely based on history, but a general vibe which is similar to what Diana probably felt, especially circa 1988-1991.

As for all of these people – like Ingrid Seward, my God – trying to push a weird revisionist history on Diana now, it’s kind of disgusting? Diana is not a prop in your monarchist fantasy. She *was* trying to f–k sh-t up within the institution. She was in the depths of misery for years.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, ‘Spencer’.

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