This documentary retraces the life of Diana, from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles until her tragic death on August 31, 1997 in Paris. A feature film composed exclusively of raw archive images (audio and video), without commentary, to reinforce historical immersion. Through reports, interviews and “paparazzas”, the film dissects the overwhelming destiny of “the princess of hearts” who marked the history of the British monarchy, forever.
As soon as her relationship with Charles is formalized, Diana is hounded by the press. The media are asking a lot of questions about this future royal couple and want to know more and more. But the one who will become a princess is uncomfortable in front of the cameras. And the documentary shows it easily: the photos of the paparazzi, and even the official interviews given with her future husband, it’s not her habit, she doesn’t really dare. One scene from the documentary is particularly eloquent. A journalist questioned on the merits of such a hunt for engaged couples wants to be reassuring: Diana’s marriage will formalize her entry into the royal family, he assures us, and the press will certainly leave her alone. Nothing will happen.
His marriage and the birth of his two children are, of course, very publicized. And for good reason, the British seem obsessed with the couple: some have the new royal couple tattooed on their body and some women adopt the same haircut as the princess. Diana’s every move is constantly judged, and sexist remarks abound. When Lady Di and Prince Charles divorce, they make headlines. Everyone tells their version of the facts and this fuels the national obsession with “gossip” about the royal family.
The media relentlessness that created – and partly destroyed – the Diana phenomenon is at the heart of this documentary. A dangerous game that made you think about the role and responsibility of the media – and in particular the tabloids – throughout the life of the princess and after her death on August 31, 1997 in a car accident under the Pont de l’ Alma in Paris.
And yet. Diana’s life seemed idyllic at the start of her relationship with Charles. A 19-year-old girl from the British aristocracy who enters the royal family: a princess’s dream. On the images, Lady Di is not very comfortable in front of the cameras but she is in love. For his part, Charles is colder and more indifferent. Details that don’t really shock… at first. She gives birth to two boys: William, the eldest and potential future king, and Harry, the youngest. A large majority of Britons adore the princess, more than Charles and more than the monarchy. Lady Di has also made the crown closer to people, more human.
The fairy tale turns into a nightmare when Diana learns of Charles’ extramarital affair with a childhood friend, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Lady Di admits in an interview that when she married the Prince, they were (already) three. In November 1995, the Princess gave an interview to the BBC. An interview where she talks about her discomfort and her descent into hell, in front of no less than 23 million viewers. This episode did not please the crown. But Diana, even under pressure, finally wants to reveal her true ordeal after years of suffering. A nightmare that we follow throughout the documentary, which we know, but which always surprises us. Why did the royal family do nothing? The question has remained unresolved… for 25 years.
In this exciting feature film, we will learn nothing new about this dark period of the British crown. But it nevertheless allows a deeper reflection on the relationship that the English people have with the monarchy, and especially on the link, sometimes unhealthy, of the public with figures that are altogether mysterious like Diana.
The documentary takes a critical look at the royal family which has not adapted to the times. The princess was a modern woman in an ancient institution with sometimes outdated values. 25 years after Diana’s death, this negative view of the crown hasn’t really changed. It is among other things to avoid the incessant hunt, that Harry from Sussex and his wife Meghan Markle took their independence two years ago and left to live in North America with their two children. A way to protect their privacy, away from potentially toxic royalty.
Gender : Documentary
Director: Ed Perkins
Country : UK
Duration : 1h44
Exit : August 31, 2022
Distributer : Pathé Live
Summary: 25 years after her death, Princess Diana still fascinates… “The Princess”, an intimate and immersive film, retraces her story as closely as possible. Through rare contemporary archives, he reveals the profound impact of his life and all the events that shaped, and still shape, the passionate relationship of the public to the monarchy.