Princess Diana’s ‘friends’ are super-worried about her portrayal in ‘Spencer’

Charles and Diana Visit Canada

One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen or covered was last fall’s palace-led PR campaign against The Crown. The British royals had enjoyed a renewed interest in the monarchy given that the first three seasons of The Crown were mostly positive and humanizing. But then in season 4, Diana was introduced and the producers were pretty realistic in showing how badly she was treated by the establishment and by Prince Charles. All of a sudden, The Crown was trash and no one should believe anything in that show. All of a sudden, Clarence House was nitpicking every last thing about the show. Beyond the Streisand Effect of it all, it was hilarious to see that Charles’ “popularity” is a mile wide and an inch deep – all it took was ten hours of prestige programming for Charles’ careful twenty-five-year image rehab to go down the drain.

I bring all of this up because of the film Spencer, a movie about Diana deciding her marriage needed to end, all while she was stuck in Sandringham for Christmas. Kristen Stewart is getting great reviews for playing a version of Diana who felt caged, gaslighted and emotionally abused. But now there’s a curious little campaign coming out of Britain to say that the film is wrong, because Diana was a happy person. Or something. The Telegraph ran an article which asks the question: “Doesn’t Diana deserve to be portrayed as far more than someone who was too scared to go down to dinner with the in-laws?”

A number of Princess Diana’s friends recently said that the late royal would be “horrified” by her portrayals in pop culture, including in the forthcoming film Spencer. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Majesty editor Ingrid Seward, hair stylist Sam McKnight, make-up artist Mary Greenwell, and fashion designer Jacques Azagury explained that the film — starring Kristen Stewart as the Princess of Wales and directed by Pablo Larrain — doesn’t necessarily get everything right.

Seward said: “That Christmas she was there with Fergie, she was pretty miserable and she wasn’t speaking to Charles, but she wasn’t cutting herself at that stage. They’ve piled every bad thing into one weekend which is taking poetic licence a little far. ‘I don’t think Diana saw herself as a victim at all. She saw herself as a single woman before the end of her marriage. She was very funny about it all, that’s how she dealt with life – she was either crying or laughing.”

Seward added that Diana would “never try to destroy the monarchy” because it was her “sons’ future..She would be very sad that people think she and Charles never loved each other, that wasn’t true. She’d be horrified at the way she’s portrayed now.”

Greenwell, who worked with Diana for her December 1991 Vogue cover, said: “[Diana is] now seen as this kind of martyr, which I think is wrong. She did amazing things, but she’s misunderstood. All I’d say is that the portrayals you see now are not the best way to understand her. She wouldn’t want to be on this pedestal with all this glory and fame.”

Diana didn’t see herself as a victim, Seward added, conceding that Diana could be “different things on different days. There’s no doubt Diana went through some tough times as she navigated her initiation into royal life.”

[From Yahoo & The Telegraph]

I’m not going into Spencer with the belief that it’s a documentary or that they’ve nailed down every historical fact. I didn’t go into The Crown that way either, and I ended up impressed with how they got the broad strokes right. The Crown used a ton of historical information to nail down the stories they told, and in Season 4, they were often using Diana’s own interviews, from the tapes she made with Andrew Morton. I believe Spencer will be different, not as closely based on history, but a general vibe which is similar to what Diana probably felt, especially circa 1988-1991.

As for all of these people – like Ingrid Seward, my God – trying to push a weird revisionist history on Diana now, it’s kind of disgusting? Diana is not a prop in your monarchist fantasy. She *was* trying to f–k sh-t up within the institution. She was in the depths of misery for years.

Lady Diana

kristen stewart spencer1

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, ‘Spencer’.

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33 Responses to “Princess Diana’s ‘friends’ are super-worried about her portrayal in ‘Spencer’”

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  1. Iris says:

    Oh my god, this is nonsense. Diana would LOVE this. She’s still considered an icon. People still adore her. She wanted to be loved and I’m pretty sure would have seen the ‘fame and glory’ as part of that

  2. Sue says:

    I wish nobody was still using Diana as a prop. Stop making films and terrible musicals about this dead woman. Let her rest in the peace she deserves.

    • Maria says:

      I think that the years after her death leading up to this were when she was being used as a prop. Gaslighted from beyond the grave, painted as mentally unstable and yet unconditionally proud of the monarchy etc.

      The musical notwithstanding, her story is actually being told truthfully now. Seems more conducive to peace to me.

      • Sue says:

        @maria – I get what you are saying but Diana can’t consent to any of this. Or even defend herself like the BRF are doing with the Crown.

      • Maria says:

        I get that too, but an exploration of what really happened to her is better than the portrayal which was used to prop up Charles and Camilla all these years, which is that she was (as William himself said) paranoid and delusional and mentally ill and a naive bleeding heart. The Duchess of Cornwall is going to be sitting on the throne one day on top of the legacy of the lies they told about Diana to legitimize Camilla and make Charles blameless in this situation. She couldn’t defend herself from that either and it was much worse.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ Mariam thank you for clarifying that it’s extremely important that the truth, the experiences that Diana went through, should be told!! No more of the gaslighting from The Monarchy, CH or BP!! They don’t want their dirty laundry brought out again, as they were exposed as the awful bunch that they were and continue to be! Had the Royal Family, Charles and his decision to marry Diana as she was of proper stock for producing heirs, they wouldn’t be having such a hissy fit!!

    • Chloe says:

      That is my only issue with this film. The fact that its the 1000000 adaptation about her life. She’s nothing more than a cash cow to them even when she’s dead.

    • Anne Call says:

      She’s the new Marilyn. The curse of dying young and still beautiful. If she had lived she’d be an elegant 60 year old women that hopefully would be happy with a second husband and enjoying her 5 grandchildren. But instead she’ll be exploited for decades to come and then forgotten.

      • Maria says:

        She won’t be forgotten. It will be like Abraham Lincoln, Rudolph Valentino, and yes, Marilyn Monroe, people who died sensationally at the height of their media exposure. But she’ll always be visible because of her role in the British monarchy and how she exposed it. Particularly how history is repeating itself with her younger son, ultimately that’s why these portrayals are coming up.

      • Snuffles says:

        She will never be forgotten. These endless films, tv shows and books about her and her children have made sure of that.

    • Silver Charm says:

      Agreed. It’s at the point of being morbid and exploitive. Even the way KStew talks about Diana is creepy and self serving bc she wants that Oscar. Said in her LA Times interview that she Diana’s ghost gave her approval and she felt Diana trying to break through. Her whole awards campaign has been gross. But I guess the same strategy worked for Rami Malek.

  3. Becks1 says:

    LOL I don’t think Seward has any especial insight into the demise of their marriage at that point. I do think the comment from Greenwell is more insightful, about how Diana did amazing things, she wouldn’t want to be a martyr (I’m sure she would have rather lived), and she wouldn’t want to be on this pedestal. She was a flawed person but so are we all, so I’m not sure that needs to be counted against her. But I do think Diana would enjoy being the saint to the royal family’s sinners, even if she would be too big a person to actually admit it, lol.

    I think this movie is obviously going to try to cram a lot of emotion and drama into one weekend, and I’m not going into it expecting 100% historical accuracy. But I do think a lot of the “Broad strokes” as we like to say are going to be right.

  4. atorontogal says:

    Why the F can’t people just let her rest in peace?

  5. Digital Unicorn says:

    I’ll probably watch this when it comes out on Netflix – not a massive fan of Stewart thou TBF to her she does a decent job of the accent.

    Keen will be watching this to see what outfits she can cosplay!

  6. Chloe says:

    These people are really trying to gaslight Diana in her GRAVE as if she didn’t herself say that her marriage was a miserable one before she even actually got married.

  7. Jais says:

    I mean if those were my in-laws…I might be too scared to go down for dinner…no shame there. Or literally I just might not want to be around terrible people. So the title of this article just doesn’t work for me.

    • Noki says:

      I imagine it was a very awkward experience for Meghan during those pompus Christmas festivities. For such a privelleged bunch of people they really acted like they have never seen a black person before at H & Ms wedding.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    This is the same line that royalists on Twitter have been pushing since the statue unveiling. That she was much more than her struggles with the Royal Family, that she was a happy person and that people should remember that she did a lot of good work. No one has forgotten the work she did in fact it’s talked about alot. What is not said is the British establishment was opposed to her work with people HIV/AIDS and that she was criticised highlighting the issue of landmines. The royalists want the public to forget that she was treated badly by the Royal Family even in death and the same bad treatment was meted out to her youngest son and his wife.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      I was a kid in the 90s so I have positive memories of her working with people that had AIDS and helping bring awareness to all the issues caused by land mines. I had no idea the institution behind the BRF tried to stop her until this year when I listened to the ‘You’re Wrong About’ series on her.
      The hypocrisy and toxicity of that institution never ceases to amaze me.

  9. Lionel says:

    Ingrid Seward WISHES she had been a friend of Diana’s. 🙄

    • Izzy says:

      Seriously, and a hairstylist who did her hair for a photo shoot? How does that make someone an insider?

      • BothSidesNow says:

        I know! Ingrid is about as insightful into Diana was as a perfect stranger! Let’s not forget that Ingrid likes to be chummy with Chaz, so of course she is going to make these comments.

        As for what her “friends” say, I don’t see any comments made by her friends? What are they saying, because these 3 don’t count as “friends”? 🙄🙄

        Such utter usual lies from BP, CH and the rest of the rabid dogs trying to discredit what she experienced with her life as the wife of Charles! Who famously quipped that when the reporter asked them if they were in love, Diana stated “of course” whereas the stunted Charles stated”whatever love means”.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    This is utter bullshit. I remember her death. I watched it unfold. That poor woman had been running for so damn long…. Shame on anyone trying to say anything different than royalty killed her.

  11. MarcelMarcel says:

    I’m total Diana fan girl and a Kristen Stewart fangirl. Can’t wait to see the film!
    It’s disgusting to imply acknowledging self harm on screen makes her look like a ‘victim’. Done correctly it might actually help normalise conversations about self harm and allow more
    compassion about it. Silence & shaming helps self destructive behaviour escalate. Honesty, openness and education helps people heal and saves lives.
    I wish there had been a trust worthy high school councillor and less stigma about self harm when I was a teen. It would have really helped me and my friends.

  12. WithTheAmerican says:

    I saw this b s yesterday and rolled my eyes so hard. Her “friends” sure seem to want to protect the palace from their own hideous behavior.

    Can’t wait to watch this, mostly to see KStew finally act, and now to see what the palace is so afraid of.

  13. Seraphina says:

    It’s been said time and time again, Diana was not perfect and yes, she knew how to manipulate the media BUT she was miserable in her marriage. They cannot change the truth because many of us watched it unfold.
    I CANNOT wait to see another interpretation of Diana.
    And I agree that showing us her truth, although broad strokes may be taken, opens up so many conversations. She is still helping people even in death.

    • Charm says:

      I hate hearing this fallacy that Diana “knew how to manipulate the media.” Its not true. Drumf knows how to manipulate the media and makes them look embarrassingly like chumps as he does it.

      What Diana learnt was that the media follows her wherever she goes so she decided to use that thing which was out of her control to go to places (her charities & causes) so that they would be forced to take her picture there.

      No one follows Drumf around. He creates publicity events and hype for the media to consume.

      • Seraphina says:

        @Charm, I have to disagree respectfully. I think she knew full well what she was doing and became a skilled tactician. Unfortunately too many were against her.

  14. Eurydice says:

    Interesting criticism- Diana wasn’t cutting herself at *that* stage.

    • Jaded says:

      I noticed that too. What that f*cking family did to her was unconscionable and reduced her, for a while, to suicidal ideation, cutting, eating disorders, etc. Then they did it with Meghan. Both women, fortunately, had the tenacity and focus to fight back and I think, if Diana had survived, she would have formed a strong bond with Meghan. They’re birds of a feather.

  15. Lane says:

    Boring! How many more films, TV series, and documentaries about Diana are we going to have to hear about? Enough already!