Currently streaming on HBO and director Ed Perkins is the story of the woman we all know as THE PRINCESS.
Slightly faded in memory of most unless you are English, especially with all the ruckus Prince Harry and wife have caused in recent years, THE PRINCESS is a reminder of the late Princess Diana Spencer. Told through pictures and archival footage, it begins with the excitement surrounding young Diana as she becomes engaged to the most eligible bachelor of the day – Prince Charles.
Their early interviews show a sweet Diana with Charles as they answer questions about what their hopes are for their upcoming marriage. Charles seems to be the one in charge and Diana stays true to her man!
The wedding is the event of a generation with all the glamor and spectacle one would expect in a Hollywood production. Diana looked ravishing and the people of England could not have been happier with something wonderful to celebrate. Some time later, Prince William is born bringing more happiness to the country followed by Prince Harry.
But behind closed doors, Princess Diana is struggling with unspoken rumors of infidelity by Prince Charles with his former mistress Camilla Parker-Bowles. Now the media becomes involved as he goes on the defensive with family issues and secrets. Princess Diana finds ways to spend her time with charities for AIDS, homelessness and land mines.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana finally given their release papers from one another after she gives her own television interview that shocks the country, the books and newspapers do not let up. Charles goes his way and Princess Diana agrees to drop the HRH from her title, is given a settlement and walks away with her two sons.
Life becomes different but not any less media worthy as Princess Diana is constantly being followed, not by one or two photographers but dozens and dozens. Trying to have time with her boys without the paparazzi becomes impossible.
Being seen with other men also causes a fervor for the tabloids and when she is seen with Dodi Al Fayed. He is an Egyptian film producer but more so is that he is the son of billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed. Seen boarding planes and vacationing on fabulous yachts, readers of the papers cannot get enough.
That is until August 31, 1997, in Paris, France as Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed try to escape a barrage of paparazzi into a tunnel and never coming out the other side. Instead, a crash that takes the life of Al Fayed and Princess Diana. Now the world knows, and the shock reverberates everywhere.
The funeral is one that takes over as the world, the same as witnessed the wedding 1981. The emotion was everywhere in the people but less so with the royal family. Keeping a “stiff upper lip”, Charles brings Princess Diana home as her brother Earl Spencer, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Phillip walk behind her casket.
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As the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approaches, director Perkins does not interview anyone but instead, lets the photographs and footage speak instead. What makes the documentary so revealing in a way is that the world knows more about her struggle with bulimia, depression, the emotional abuse and the monarchy that dug in its heels to a changing time.
Princess Diana did the one thing that had not been done since Queen Elizabeth became the reigning monarch, she captivated the world with every move she made. Not always a good thing for Diana but she was beginning to make head way into a life of her own when she died.
It is important to remember the work that she did for her country and around the world because it is the work that continues today. Her boys have grown up and found happiness in the way that suites them the best, even if the world does not always agree with the choices.
That being said, PRINCESS DIANA tells its own story, and we have the chance to remember, once again, that she may have been complicated but she was still, after all, the People’s Princess.