The best Princess Diana movies and TV shows

In 25 years since a tragic and untimely death on Princess Dayana, her legacy looms large in the world’s collective imagination. Her short but very public time as a royal has ensured endless cultural inspiration– and it’s not hard to see why.

Her personal life was marked on the one hand by complicated and unhappy marriage to Prince Charles-the heir to the British throne – both from the stifling constraints of royal protocol, and on the other hand from the glamour, charisma and compassion that made her a beloved public figure. Like “The People’s Princess” she paved the way for a new era of celebrity. She carefully crafted a public persona that was ambitious but relatable, exemplifying the kind of fame now sought by reality stars and influencers — and her death on August 31, 1997, made her story a cautionary tale about the cost of overexposure.

Despite a life that has been so much on display, there are still so many unknowns about the inner life of the passionate and complex Princess of Wales. This may explain why Diana still fascinates us today, a quarter of a century after her death. It certainly explains why her story has been the subject of countless creative projects, including numerous documentaries, films and TV shows.

By Pablo Larraín an experimental biopic Spencer to the dramatic fourth season of The crownhere are the best documentaries, movies and TV shows about the life and times of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The queen (2006)

In Stephen Frears’ film about the royal family in the turbulent aftermath of Diana’s tragic death, Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for her role, plays supreme matriarch Queen Elizabeth, who must deal with public and private pressures amid grief. Although Diana is not depicted on screen, the film shows how deeply she affected the family and the British public – and how her death shaped the way the monarchy is viewed today.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Read more: How Princess Diana created a new era of celebrity

Diana: In her own words (2017)

In this candid documentary based on the recorded interviews used by Andrew Morton for his bombshell book of the same name, Diana: In her own words is a fascinating and intimate look into the life of the princess. Using Diana’s interviews and other archival audio as her sole voice-over, the film attempts to give Diana a chance to tell her story on her own terms.

Where to watch: Disney+

Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy (2017)

In this poignant and poignant documentary about Princess Diana, her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, speak publicly for the first time about the princess as their mother. The film, which pays tribute to their mother’s memory and her humanitarian work, is also a place for the two sons to re-examine their relationship with their beloved mother and talk about the ongoing process of grieving her loss.

Where to watch: HBO Max

the crown, Season 4 (2020)

Few performances have so emotionally chronicled Diana’s evolution from shy bride-to-be to dynamic modern celebrity as Emma Corinne as Princess Diana in the fourth season of The crown. Corinne’s performance is by turns enchanting, moving and heartbreaking as she falls in love with aloof Prince Charles, realizes he’s having an affair with his ex-girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles, becomes an internationally loved part of the firm, becomes a mother and discovers her passion to philanthropy. While Netflix’s creative liberties regarding the real-life events depicted in the The crown are well known, the high-octane drama in this retelling of the love triangle between Charles, Diana and Camilla (whom Charles married in 2005) was so great that Charles and Camilla’s official Twitter account was forced to turn off comments after the season premiere.

Where to watch: Netflix

Read more: Why Princess Diana is so difficult to portray on screen

Diana: The Musical (2021)

The splashy, excessive Diana: The Musical may seem at odds with the narratives often told about the princess’s life, but TIME’s Stephanie Zaharak called it “a work that pleased Diana herself, who was known to be a fan of spectacles The Phantom of the Opera— it will warm up. Although the musical was supposed to debut on Broadway in the spring of 2020, due to the pandemic, it delayed its premiere until November 2021 and produced a filmed version for Netflix, which was released before its premiere on the Great White Way. Starring Jeanne de Waal as Princess Di and featuring original music and lyrics by David Bryan and Joe Di Pietro, the show was widely panned by critics, but would still be worthy viewing for Diana fans.

Where to watch: Netflix

Spencer (2021)

Pablo Laraine’s fantastical reimagining of a few fateful days in the life of the Princess of Wales is less a biopic than an experimental tribute to the tragedies and triumphs of Diana’s public and private life. Although elements of the film are rooted in real events, there are also surreal elements such as hallucinations and a visit from Anne Boleyn. The film hints at this element with its opening epigraph, which warns viewers that the film is a “fable of true tragedy”.

Where to watch: Hulu

The princess (2022)

The intense and relentless public scrutiny Diana faced is the central tension in Ed Perkins’ documentary The princess. Composed entirely of archival video and audio of Diana, from the time speculation swirled around her engagement to Prince Charles to her death in 1997 in a car crash that occurred while she was trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris, the film is a quiet but searing indictment of the media attention directed at Diana and its role in her passing.

Where to watch: HBO

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Write to Kady Lang c [email protected].

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