people’s princess

Everyone is sobbing over that devastating new Diana doc that just premiered at Sundance

Princess Diana
Princess Diana, September 1996 (Photo: Shutterstock)

If The Crown and the recent movie, Spencer, didn’t offer enough of an insight into the life of the late Princess Diana, prepare yourself for a more factual exploration of her years in the limelight.

A new documentary, The Princess, made by Ed Perkins, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s turned into one of the festival’s big talking points.

The doc includes no interviews or voiceovers, and instead stitches together hundreds of pieces of media footage from Diana’s life, pretty much from the time she became engaged to Charles, the Prince of Wales, in 1981.

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The footage, some of which would appear shocking to today’s audiences, includes a newsreader talking of why the 19-year-old Diana was a suitable match for the 32-year-old heir to the British throne, adding her family had “vouched for her virginity.”

Other footage includes how wedding fever swept the UK … although one off-the-ball pundit predicted the paparazzi would no longer be interested in Diana after her wedding day (talk about getting it wrong!).

The documentary traces Diana’s life in the limelight, up until her death in 1997 in a car crash in Paris.

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Most of the reviews of the The Princess have been favorable, with it scoring 82% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing. Variety called in “compulsively watchable”.

Deadline’s Anna Smith called it “riveting stuff”, concluding, “It’s a testament to Perkins and the team’s skill that this story feels gripping to those who, like me, remember it well. Those less familiar with her tale may find their jaws on the floor.”

Others have been less keen. Kevin Maher in The Times says the film re-treads, “that same achingly familiar Diana story.”

Either way, many who caught it in Sundance have had something to say, leading to it trending on Twitter…

The Princess will air on HBO Max later in 2022.