Ed Perkins’s The Princess is an amalgamation of existing media clips of Diana’s life since she joined the royal family. He lets these clips and interviews of her tell her story, oddly fitting given the fact that most of us have only ever seen Diana through the camera lens.
The documentary picks up where the story ends: the paparazzi chase in Paris that cost Diana her life. From there, we return to the announcement of Charles and Diana’s engagement, an event that changed his life forever.
Perkins does well to organize all these images together. He flows seamlessly from one event to the next, and although there is no narrator, the viewer will be able to follow along quite easily. The first thing we notice is the juxtaposition of Diana before and after her marriage. He was radiant and practically radiant when he showed her engagement ring to the press, and it lingered within her until her royal wedding. After that, there is a noticeable change in Charles’s treatment of her, seen in her displeasure when the crowd shows up for her and not for him.
Slowly, that bright-eyed 19-year-old girl becomes sadder and more withdrawn, especially as her every action is laid bare for the world to judge and offer its opinion. It also seems that Charles overshadows any exuberant moment, like his dance with John Travolta or their tour of Australia together. He was the king, but everyone fawned over her.
The documentary wants us to consider whether Diana and Charles might have had a fighting chance without the media or interference from the royal family. What are supposed to be private matters between the two come to light, and the press breaks the news of his eating disorder and suicide attempts, as well as the tensions that existed in his marriage. For all of Diana’s humanitarian work, what people are eager to consume are actually the lewd details of her private life. The fact that Perkins was able to piece together her entire life based on these media clips shows how voracious the media was when it came to Princess Diana.
The constant surveillance and lack of privacy that surrounded his life become apparent as we progress through the documentary, explaining the audacious behavior of the paparazzi in the incident that caused his death. Photos of Princess Diana meant money and people willing to go to any lengths to get their hands on these photos. While the public berates the press for their role in her death, at the same time they are the same people who buy the tabloids about her.
Last year we had a legendary version of Diana’s Last Christmas at Sandringham with Pablo Larraín’s Spencer, as well as a new season of The Crown, which shows how there is still an immense fascination with Diana’s life even though 25 years have passed. years since his death. In Diana we see all the complexities of being human, the hurt and the pain, but also the love and warmth that she radiated when she talked to people. There was a real sense of empathy and desire to connect, and it’s a shame she never had a chance to capture her happiness.
Provided Filter Review.
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Ed Perkins’s The Princess breaks new ground by allowing images of Diana to guide the narrative.