Since her death in 1997, there have been dozens of actors who have starred in Princess Diana movies and shows in memory of the People’s Princess. But who played her best? And who looked the most like the Princess of Wales? Well, we’ll let you decide.
Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961, in Sandringham, Norfolk. The daughter of Earl James Spencer and Frances Shand Kydd, Diana was born into British nobility and lived near the royal family at their Sandringham estate. The royal family announced Diana’s engagement to Prince Charles in 1981, and the two married that same year in a royal wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The couple went on to welcome two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, before their separation in 1992 and their eventual divorce in 1996. A year after her divorce, Princess Diana died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel after her driver was chased by the paparazzi. Her funeral was televised, and her legacy continues to live on thanks to her sons and several documentaries, movies and TV shows that were made after her death. Kristen Stewart and Naomi Watts are only a couple actors who have starred in Princess Diana movies since her death. But who made the best Princess Diana both in looks and in essence? We’ll let you decide. Ahead are the actors who have played the People’s Princess in Princess Diana movies and shows.
Kristen Stewart in Spencer (2021)
Kristen Stewart will star as Princess Diana in the upcoming movie Spencer, which started filming in 2021. The title references Diana’s maiden name. The film, which is directed by Oscar nominee Pablo Larraín, will follow Diana over the course of a three days in the 1990s when she realizes that her marriage with Prince Charles isn’t working. The movie will also be set during one of Diana’s final Christmases at the House of Windsor at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, where she and Charles would often stay at.
“I’ve seen movies from Kristen that are so diverse it’s incredible, showing different layers and her diversity and strength as an actress,” Larraín said in a statement at the time as to why Stewart was cast. “We’re very happy to have her, she’s very committed. As a filmmaker, when you have someone who can hold such a weight, dramatic and narrative weight just with her eyes, then you have the strong lead who can deliver what we are looking for.”
Emma Corrin in The Crown (2020)
Corrin made her debut as Princess Diana in season 4 of The Crown, which premiered on Netflix in 2020. The season followed Diana in the early days of her relationship with Prince Charles, from their engagement to their eventual separation. Elizabeth Debicki will play Diana in season 5 of The Crown, which is expected to see her post-divorce from Charles and will portray her death.
In an interview on The Tamron Hall Show in 2020, Corrin responded to backlash over her portrayal of Princess Diana. “It’s a difficult one. I think for everyone in The Crown, we always try and remind everyone that the series that we’re in is fictionalized to a great extent,” she said at the time. “Obviously, it has its roots in reality and in some fact, but [creator] Peter Morgan’s scripts are works of fiction.”
Bonnie Soper in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance (2018)
Soper played Princess Diana in the A+E movie, Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, which followed Diana’s son Prince Harry’s life and relationship with his wife, Meghan Markle. Though most of the film centerd around Meghan and Harry’s relationship, the movie doe s include scenes from Harry’s childhood and flashbacks to when his mother was alive.
Naomi Watts in Diana (2013)
Watts earned Oscar buzz for her portrayal of the People’s Princess in 2013’s Diana. The film, which is based on Kate Snell’s 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love, followed Diana in the final two years of her life. The movie starts amid Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles follows her throughout various royal tours until her fatal car crash in 1997.
Serena Scott Thomas in Diana: Her True Story (1993)
Based on Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words, which was written in cooperation with the princess before her death, this miniseries follows Diana’s whole life, from her childhood as a young girl to her years as a public icon to the real reason her marriage with Prince Charles didn’t work. The miniseries, which was critically acclaimed at the time, also explores Diana’s experience with an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts.
Edita Brychta in Fergie & Andrew: Behind Palace Doors (1992)
Diana isn’t the central character in this film, but Fergie & Andrew: Behind Palace Doors is still a must-watch for any royal fan who loves biopics about the royal family. The film tells the love story of Prince Andrew and Duchess Sarah Ferguson, from their early courtship to their eventual separation.
Catherine Oxenberg in Charles & Diana: Unhappily Ever After (1992)
Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After focused on Diana’s marriage to Charles. The film follows their relationship from their early days of love to Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles to the eventual end of their marriage. The movie also explores other reasons Charles and Diana may have fell out of love with each other that hadn’t had to do with their feelings for other people.
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