The Daily Telegraph
Princess Royal no longer ‘overlooked’ thanks to The Crown, writer claims
Viewers have fallen in love with Queen’s daughter, creator says, as he unveils actress who will play Diana
FEW could deny that the popularity of the Princess Royal has seen something of a resurgence in recent months.
Royal observers might put it down to her unparalleled work ethic and dislike of the limelight, which has been brought sharply into focus when contrasted with the behaviour of certain members of the younger generation in recent months.
Others might suggest it is connected to the increased publicity that has surrounded her 70th birthday.
But Peter Morgan, the creator of The Crown, the Netflix drama, has another theory. He believes the star of the Queen’s daughter has risen thanks to her portrayal on the hit show, claiming that she was previously “overlooked”.
A teenage Princess Anne, played by Erin Doherty, was introduced in the third series, boasting a near-constant smirk and a regularly raised eyebrow.
“So many people asked me, after she first appeared, to put more of her in there,” Mr Morgan said.
“Anne’s often overlooked. But Erin’s portrayal means that everybody has fallen in love with her.
“Searches about her on Google went through the roof, she’s now one of the most popular royals.” The Princess might well raise an eyebrow at the very thought. She recently revealed that she did watch early episodes of the show, which she found “quite interesting”.
She has also laughed at revelations that it sometimes took two hours to get Doherty’s hair into the requisite style.
“I read an article the other day about The Crown, the actress was talking about how long it took them to do their hair like I did,” she told Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, broadcast on ITV.
“And I’m thinking, ‘How could you possibly take that long?’ I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”
The fourth series of The Crown, to be released later this year, will include the introduction of a young Diana, Princess of Wales, played by Emma Corrin, the 24-year-old Cambridge-educated actress.
It will depict her transition from shy kindergarten teaching assistant to global figure, as well exploring her disastrous marriage.
One episode will focus on the couple’s tour of Australia in 1983; another will be set around her tour of New York in 1989.
Elizabeth Debicki, the Australian actress, will play Diana in the final two seasons, it was announced last night. Debicki, best known for her role in the BBC drama The Night Manager, said: “Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many. It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one.”
Corrin, who spent more than two hours a day in the make-up chair, said she had never been told she looks like Diana before.
She told The Mail on Sunday: “I have never had that. I get told I look like a young Jodie Foster.”
The brief for the part called for “a mesmerising new young star with extraordinary range” who had to be able to play a “flirt and social exhibitionist on the world stage” and a “desperate and lonely self-harmer at her lowest ebb”.
Corrin was offered the part at the final audition. She said: “It felt like I’d just been proposed to; it was the best moment of my life. “Something they have been making clear from the start is that this is not an impression.
“I am going for essence. Any movement and voice work we have done has been figuring out why she talks the way she does, and how she was a massive departure from the Royal family, a bit like Meghan is now I guess.”