"After learning she had gotten the part of Princess Diana on The Crown, Emma Corrin spent the next few days on preparations," reports Kathryn VanArendonk. "She bought binders and notebooks and pens. She cued up a list of documentaries and lined up stacks of biographies. She made folders of archival photos. She listened to recordings of Diana’s voice over and over again. None of it felt all that useful. The first thing that helped Corrin understand Diana was to read the scripts, which included references to the princess’s bulimia. This swiftly became the center of how Corrin conceived of her. She wanted to make sure the disorder wasn’t a tangential part of her life but something that shaped nearly every moment of her day." As Corrin puts it: “If you’re trying to understand the psychology of a character and they’re going through that, it’s hugely essential to their experience.” It’s the kind of interior understanding that radiates outward into a physical portrayal. “I did something with my hands in a lot of scenes. You use your hand to make yourself sick, and her fingers on her right hand have become a source of anxiety for her. She will rub them together when she’s anxious, when she’s cross, when she’s emotional.”
For Emma Corrin, accurately depicting Diana’s battle with bulimia was of paramount importance: “I have struggled with my mental health, and I know what it is like to want to make your emotions tangible, to want to exercise some control over things that feel out of your grip…so it made me empathize a great deal with this character,” says Corrin. “I think it’s important eating disorders and mental health are shown sensitively but accurately on-screen, so that conversations are started—so that awareness is built.”
Corrin recalls director Benjamin Caron warning her she would be treated like Diana after landing the part: "He took me aside and very helpfully said, ‘You and Diana are going through a very similar thing. You’re going to suddenly be in the public eye, in a role that everyone has had their eyes on,'" Corrin recalls. "'You will be in the newspaper and you’ll be papped. Anything you feel about it, be it fear or excitement or nervousness, be aware of it because that’s exactly how she would have been feeling.'" She adds: "God, he was right."
The Crown doesn't fully explain why Diana was a global phenomenon: "The series shows the media frenzy that descended upon Diana right from the beginning of their relationship," says Suyin Haynes. "But it never directly addresses why and how she became so popular around the world. It wasn’t unusual for the women in Charles’ life to be the center of attention in the British media; he was, after all, the heir to the British throne, and he was over 30 when he finally found a match in Diana. There was almost a sense that the public was waiting for him to get married and settle down. Yet Diana’s popularity only increased as the decade wore on, and it endured despite the acrimonious breakdown of her marriage to Charles, which culminated in divorce in 1996. More than two decades on from her tragic death at 36 in a car crash in a Paris underpass in 1997, her legacy still occupies a unique position in the British public consciousness—and beyond."
Corrin and Josh O'Connor struggled not to play the ending of Charles and Diana's relationship: “Josh and I found it really interesting," she says. "We had to keep reminding ourselves throughout the whole process not to play the ending, because it’s hard not to play the tragedy, because everyone knows how it ends,” Corrin tells TheWrap. “And so that was really interesting for us. I think that also, we were really fascinated in the kind of slow realization for us both that there was a lot of love in the marriage between Diana and Charles. And I think it would be naive for anyone to assume that it would have happened if there wasn’t.”
The Crown Season 4 has reportedly sparked "royal dismay": "Friends of the Prince of Wales have attacked The Crown as exploitative and inaccurate after the new season included a scene in which Lord Mountbatten says he is disappointed at Charles’s relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles," reports The Times of London, adding: "The series is said to have provoked anger among senior royals, as well as dismay that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided to sign a production deal with Netflix to make documentaries, films and children’s shows for the streaming giant."
The Crown Season 4 is a "cowardly abuse of creative license": "False history is reality hijacked as propaganda," says Simon Jenkins, adding: "The royal family series The Crown has garnered plaudits for its acting and brickbats for its inaccuracies, almost all of them derogatory towards living or recently dead individuals. The new series, on Netflix, appears to have upped the fabrication and the offence. The scriptwriter, Peter Morgan, admits: 'Sometimes you have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.' This sounds like a dangerous distinction. Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006) was uncomplimentary but a plausible recreation of events around the death of Diana. Olivia Colman’s sour-faced parody of the monarch on Netflix left us guessing which parts were true and which false. It was fake history. The words and actions of living individuals were made up to suit a plot that could have been scripted by Diana’s biggest supporters."
Gillian Anderson on portraying Margaret Thatcher's class consciousness: “I think she was very self-conscious that she came from the working class,” says Anderson. “She grew up above a shop, with a mom and dad who worked in the shop. They lived a very frugal existence. And even though she went to study chemistry and get a law degree, she never forgot her roots. It always sat somewhere inside her, the fact that she wasn’t considered to be on the same par as the people she was in politics with.”