In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death last year, Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Princess Diana in Netflix's "The Crown," shared her reflections on the monarch's passing and her experience portraying the late princess. As the sixth and final season of the acclaimed series approaches, Debicki opened up about the profound impact of the Queen's death and the intricacies of stepping into Diana's shoes.
In an interview with People, Debicki expressed a deep sense of loss over the Queen's passing, acknowledging her as a revered figure both in the United Kingdom and globally. "The loss of the Queen was an enormous sadness," Debicki said. She emphasized the show's commitment to authenticity and to humanizing its royal characters.
Debicki, an Australian actress, revealed that she embarked on the role of Princess Diana with limited knowledge, being only seven when Diana died. Her perception of Diana as a "beautiful princess and humanitarian figure" evolved significantly as she immersed herself in a year of extensive research. This process deepened her respect and admiration for Diana, particularly understanding her struggles with media, public perception, and her tumultuous divorce.
A delightful discovery for Debicki was Diana's sense of humor and warmth, traits that greatly contributed to her popularity and the significant humanitarian impact she made. Debicki lauded Diana as a "prolific" and "groundbreaking" figure, particularly in her efforts to address mental health, AIDS, and landmines.
Peter Morgan, the showrunner of "The Crown," shared that the series finale had to be reworked following the Queen's death. Originally, Netflix co-chief executive officer Ted Sarandos had suggested the series conclude with the Queen's death. However, as she outlived the series, Morgan decided to cap the storyline in 2005, maintaining a historical rather than journalistic approach. "It's dignified," he explained, emphasizing the importance of stopping well before the present day.
Part 1 of "The Crown" Season 6 is currently streaming on Netflix, with Part 2 set to release on December 14. The series, known for its intimate portrayal of the British royal family, has, according to Debicki, succeeded in "opening up the very private lives" of the royals, fostering a sense of empathy and understanding among viewers for characters previously shrouded in public mystique.
As Debicki and the show's creative team navigate the complexities of portraying such public yet private figures, they continue to strike a delicate balance between historical accuracy and dramatic storytelling. Debicki's portrayal of Diana and the nuanced depiction of the Queen's impact reflect the series' enduring appeal and its thoughtful approach to retelling royal history.