November 24, 2020
The series is teaching a new generation how unhinged our national institutions really are
Young women are watching Dianas story in The Crown with horror | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
It looked like a fairytale, the wedding of Charles and Diana. It’s an old myth: a girl marries a prince and becomes a princess, but as with all good fairytales, there is a dark understory. At its centre is a shy, kind young woman, who must, for some reason, be a virgin – everyone is fixated on this point. Once married, the palace becomes a prison, and she suffers horribly. Along the way there are betrayals, attempts at suicide. Eventually she escapes, only to have her freedom curtailed by her premature death. The people mourn as they have never mourned before.
This story is powerful, and as a result it is continually revisited. Certain newspapers remain fixated on the princess, and new twists and leads are constantly emerging, the latest being that she may have been coerced into the infamous BBC interview with Martin Bashir through the use of falsified documents. We see her fictionalised, too, this time by Emma Corrin in Netflix drama The Crown; and it is fiction, though Diana’s brother feels he has to remind people of that fact, because so much of this story, which people treated as a soap opera long before it became one, involves bias and conjecture. Yet Corrin has nevertheless captured something of the young Diana – her sensitivity and her loneliness, which feels real to people, and has fostered even more empathy for her unhappy life as a royal.
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