Princes William and Harry will be facing fresh anguish today as a newly released clip from the final season of The Crown shows them missing a phone call from Princess Diana on the day before she died.
The final season of the Windsor biopic is released today, and will show the lead up to and fall out from the late Princess of Wales’ death.
A new clip shows, Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki, calling to speak to her sons, only to be told by an aide ‘you missed them’.
The clip begins with Diana walking out of a car into the Ritz hotel with boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed by her side. She is swarmed by paparazzi.
She then steps inside the hotel, where she calls Balmoral to speak to William and Harry.
Princes William and Harry will be facing fresh anguish today as a newly released clip from the final season of The Crown shows them missing a phone call from Princess Diana on the day before she died. Elizabeth Debicki is pictured as Diana
The final season of the Windsor biopic is released tomorrow and will show the lead up to and fall out from the late Princess of Wales’ death
‘Balmoral Castle,’ the operator says.
‘Oh, it’s Diana calling for the boys,’ the Princess replies.
‘You’ve just missed them,’ the aide adds. ‘The princes waited for your call but have gone back out again. Maybe try again at dinner time’.
Diana then looks extremely anguished, silently mouths ‘f**k’ and scrunches up her face in anger.
Other newly released clips include Charles’ despair over telling William and Harry their mother has died and Diana telling Dodi she’s a ‘persona non-grata’ at Balmoral.
The show will also depict the last time Prince William and Prince Harry spoke to their mother – but it will not be a true reflection of the conversation.
In episode four, Diana is depicted as frustrated while in Paris with Dodi, and desperate to return to the UK to see her sons.
After missing one opportunity to speak with them on the phone, Diana finally manages to have a call with Prince William and Prince Harry, where they ask her if she’s going to marry the son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed.
The clip begins with Diana walking out of a car into the Ritz hotel with boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed by her side. She is swarmed by paparazzi
The show will also depict the last time Prince William and Prince Harry spoke to their mother – but it will not be a true reflection of the conversation. Rufus Kampa is pictured as Prince William
William and Harry are pictured with Diana in the months before her death
However, according to Prince Harry and Prince William’s accounts of the last phone call he ever had with his mother, this version of events does not quite ring true.
‘I am emphatically not going to marry Dodi. To be honest, I can’t wait to come home.’
William then asks his mother if she is ok. She nods and says: ‘I’m ok. It’s just a bit mad here. I don’t really understand how I ended up here. Mummy just needs to make some changes to her life, that’s all. But that’s not your problem – that’s mine.’
In a tender moment, she tells her sons she loves them and they reply to say they love her too. She promises to return home the following evening to see them.
Later in the episode, Diana comes to her untimely death in the car accident.
Although it is true that Prince William and Prince Harry shared a phone call with their mother on the last day she was alive, their recollections of the call do not reflect the Netflix series’ depiction.
Speaking in a 2017 documentary Diana: Our Mother, the Princes discussed for the first time the details of their ‘desperately rushed’ final call with the late royal.
Elizabeth Debicki as Diana with her sons. Netflix releases first look images from Part 1 of the final series of The Crown
The show will also show Dodi and Diana’s holiday to Saint Tropez
Earl Spencer, Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles follow the coffin to the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales on September 6, 1997
Recalling the chat, they expressed their regret that they were desperate to go back outside and play with their cousins, who were also at Balmoral.
Harry said: ‘I can’t really, necessarily, remember what I said. But all I do remember is probably, you know, regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was.
‘And if I’d known that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother – the things I would have said to her.’
The fact that Harry, who was 12 at the time of his mother’s death, cannot remember the details of his final conversation with Diana suggests it was not a chat where deep feelings were expressed – rather, an ordinary discussion because neither Diana nor the princes knew it would be their final conversation.
William also said of the call: ‘Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘see you later’.’
Another clip shows then Prince Charles (Dominic West) speaking to Camilla (Olivia Williams) in the hours after Diana died.
A newly released image from the series finale portrays Princess Diana cosying up to her lover Dodi Fayed, with her devotedly holding her hands around Dodi’s face
The sixth and final series of Netflix ‘s The Crown recreates moving images of Diana’s final summer holiday on board Mohamed Al-Fayed ‘s yacht in the South of France , days before her death in 1997. Pictured above is Elizabeth Debicki recreating the moment
‘When are you going to tell the boys?’ Camilla asks.
‘I wanted to let them sleep, delay it as long as possible, while they’re sleeping they still have a mother,’ Charles replies.
‘Of course,’ say Camilla, as news coverage of Diana’s death plays in the background.
‘This is going to be enormous,’ Charles adds.
‘People have no idea. This is going to be the biggest thing that any of us have ever seen’.
The emotional first four episodes cover the tragic car crash in Paris that killed Princess Diana in August 1997 – alongside her lover Dodi and their chauffeur Henri Paul – and the Royal Family’s reaction to it, as well as the summer holiday Diana and Dodi enjoyed in St Tropez prior to the tragedy.
The Paris scenes were shot in the French capital, while a yacht was hired for the St Tropez scenes, although these were actually filmed in Mallorca.
New photos also give viewers a glimpse into Diana’s romance with Dodi – played by Khalid Abdalla
Dominic West as Charles and Elizabeth Debicki as Diana in series five of Netflix’s The Crown
The Crown will show Elizabeth Debicki’s Princess Diana posing for paparazzi cameras while on a yacht on her final holiday just weeks before her death, newly released photos show. Diana is pictured left, Debicki right
New photos also give viewers a glimpse into Diana’s romance with Dodi – played by Khalid Abdalla
Debicki dons a Ralph Lauren shirt to recreate scenes from the show
New photos also offer a first glimpse of Olivia Williams as Camilla
The now Queen Camilla looks troubled in the new photos
Rufus Kampa – playing a teenage Prince William – walks through the Sandringham Estate in Barbour jacket
For sensitivity reasons the exact moment of Diana’s death is not re-created, but there are controversial scenes in which Charles tenderly converses with an imaginary Diana in the cabin of the royal plane as he accompanies her body from Paris to London , and later when she also appears to the Queen.
Critics who have seen these scenes called them ‘farcical’ for portraying Diana as a ghost, but series creator Peter Morgan has insisted that wasn’t the intention.
‘I never imagined it as Diana’s ghost in the traditional sense,’ he told Variety magazine. ‘It was her continuing to live vividly in the minds of those she has left behind.’
The Crown was devised by Morgan after the success of his 2006 film about the Royal Family’s reaction to Diana’s death, The Queen.
And the series – which has earned 21 Emmys and dozens of BAFTA nominations, not to mention some criticism for its historical inaccuracies – covers the same ground, but using fresh information gleaned in the 17 years since the Oscar-winning movie was made.
In fact, the scripts had to be updated all the time as the Royal Family were plunged into headlines throughout the filming period, not only with the Queen’s death but also following the release of Prince Harry’s memoir Spare.
‘I assumed that Charles is an emotional and rather open-hearted guy in spite of the buttoned-up exterior he has to have in public,’ Dominic West, who plays the then Prince, told Weekend Magazine.
‘But when Harry wrote his book and said he never hugged him or anything, we had to change that slightly.’
Images show Diana being hounded by paparazzi shortly before her death
There is also a glimpse into her love life with Dodi
Charles looks panicked following the death of Diana in the Crown
Another shows the Princess appearing as a ghost to the Queen
The first few episodes were particularly tough for the whole cast as Diana’s last days with new love Dodi aboard his father’s yacht were re-created.
At the end of series five we met US model Kelly Fisher, who Dodi was dating when he started seeing Diana.
While he wooed the princess on a family yacht, Jonikal, Kelly was left alone on another boat. She later claimed they had been engaged.
For Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Diana, filming these scenes was daunting. ‘Even though I had a physical break before this, I was probably always thinking about what was to come,’ she says.
‘We see her going on holiday with the boys to St Tropez and then on to Paris. Much of it was actually a lovely time.
‘We were in a very beautiful part of the world so I constantly let that just wash over me and tried to sort of relax, knowing what was to come.’
The story then picks up at Balmoral where the family has to come to terms with the devastating news.
For Jonathan Pryce, who plays Prince Philip, filming the scenes brought back emotional memories of Diana’s death.
‘I remember turning on the radio and hearing something about Diana and Paris and I thought, “What the hell?”’ he says.
‘And then turning on the television and it was such a shock. Both my wife and I found ourselves quite weepy about it, and I never thought I would cry over a member of the Royal Family.
‘When we were filming in Scotland, the director of the episode around Diana’s death put together a reel of footage for me and I couldn’t stop crying.
Thanks to the efforts of the hair, make-up and costume teams, Imelda Staunton, who stars as Queen Elizabeth II in the final series, felt like the monarch every single day for two and half years of filming
Both the characters of Charles and the Queen appear stressed in the final season
‘Neither could the cameraman who’d filmed it, or the director. It was an extraordinary moment. I was reliving waking up and listening to the radio.’
The difficulty of that time is re-created as we see Charles telling William and Harry their mother has died, as well as dealing with the demands of the nation who wanted the family to be seen.
‘It’s sort of the worst period of Charles’s life so there are lots of scenes of him trying to come to terms with Diana’s death and breaking the news to his sons, trying to help them mourn and having varying degrees of success at that,’ says Dominic.
RE-CREATING THE ‘SACRED’ BLUE SWIMSUIT MOMENT
Princess Diana pictured in St Tropez
The Crown pulled out all the stops when it came to re-creating Diana and Dodi’s last summer in St Tropez.
‘Gottex, the company that made all of Diana’s swimwear, made all of ours for us,’ says costume designer Sid Roberts.
‘We just adjusted it to whatever Elizabeth felt comfortable with. That 90s shape is very high cut on the thigh, and it goes right up and quite high on the bottom as well. So we just made those adjustments with Gottex.’
And the effort paid off for Elizabeth Debicki.
‘I really love the blue swimsuit Diana wears when she walks out to the end of the diving board on the yacht and sits down,’ she says.
‘There was just something about that swimsuit and re-creating that moment that felt very sacred.’
‘There were some really heavy scenes and a lot of tears for Charles. But I love crying, so it was great.
‘Then there were a lot of set-piece teas at Windsor Castle or Christmas Day or family photos or weddings where all of us were there and they were the biggest joy because you’re in a room and everyone looks like a member of the Royal Family so it’s hilarious. Then Imelda walks in and you go, “My God, there’s the Queen!”’
The final six episodes of the series, which will be available in December, will see the family moving on from Diana’s death and cover William and Kate’s budding romance at St Andrews, finishing with Charles and Camilla’s wedding in April 2005.
The university scenes were actually filmed at St Andrews and the wedding at York Minster.
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos has explained why the series ends there. ‘It was the cut-off to keep it historical, not journalistic,’ he said. ‘By stopping almost 20 years before the present day, it’s dignified.’
Dominic – whose gardener wife Catherine FitzGerald is friends with Charles in real life – says he found himself fighting the King’s corner.
‘I really like him and admire him. I think he’s a good guy who gets a lot of stick and I didn’t want to add to that,’ he says.
‘But there were plenty of people around me who were giving the opposite point of view so hopefully what comes out is compassionate but relatively well-balanced.’
Fans will once again revel in the re-creation of key moments and occasionally uncanny portrayals of characters we know so well, although Dominic reveals he dispensed with the use of ‘ear plumpers’ for this series.
‘They made my ears go out but it was quite a faff and they were quite uncomfortable and didn’t make much difference,’ he says. ‘They didn’t make me look any more like Charles, unfortunately.’
Instead he concentrates more on an impression of the character rather than a complete likeness, and reveals he and Olivia Williams, who plays Camilla, had ‘trigger phrases’ to get into character.
‘My main one was based on an interview with Charles on a plane to Australia when he said, “I just do it for jolly old Britain”.
‘Olivia would say, “Modern democracy” to get into her role and then I’d say, “Jolly old Britain” and we’d start the scene.’
For Imelda Staunton, his on-screen mother, it was the outfits that made the difference.
‘Everything I wear has been handmade and all those details help,’ she says.
‘We do the make-up and when the wig goes on we say, “There we go, that’s it.” But then, actually, the lipstick does it.
‘It’s like putting all the ingredients into a fantastic meal. They have to be right and it has to be cooked for the right amount of time, but every single day for two and a half years they’ve made me feel like I’m the Queen.’