Princess Diana biographer Andrew Morton praises The Crown's portrayal

Princess Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton brands Emma Corrin’s performance in The Crown ‘far and away the most accomplished and realistic portrayal’ of the late royal despite claims it’s a ‘hatchet job’

  • Andrew Morton is the author of bestseller Diana: Her True Story, published 1992
  • Believes The Crown actress Emma Corrin’s portrayal is closest yet to princess
  • Noted Corrin’s Diana is ‘more sophisticated than actual princess’ and displays more ‘feminine guile and cunning’ which helps bestow ‘dramatic tension’

Princess Diana’s biographer has branded Emma Corrin’s performance in The Crown ‘the most accomplished and realistic’ portrayal of the late royal he has seen.

English journalist Andrew Morton, 67, who penned the bestselling Diana: Her True Story in 1992, said the 24-year-old actress demonstrated ‘star quality’ in the role.

His claims contradict the opinion of the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter, who branded it ‘a hatchet job on Prince Charles and a bit of a hatchet job on Diana’. 

In a letter to Vanity Fair, Morton added that Corrin’s Diana is ‘more sophisticated than the actual princess’ and ‘displays more feminine guile and cunning’.

‘I think Emma Corrin’s performance is far and away the most accomplished and realistic portrayal of Diana I have seen,’ he said.


Princess Diana’s biographer has branded Emma Corrin’s performance in The Crown (left) ‘the most accomplished and realistic’ portrayal of the late royal (right) he has seen

‘Star quality… There have been many Diana depictions in movies and TV series over the years and they have always struggled with the wig. Not this time.’

Morton said Corrin’s portrayal of Diana in the first three episodes of the new fourth series, which dropped on Netflix on Sunday, helped add ‘dramatic tension’ to the show.

Speaking about episode three, entitled Fairytale, he told the publication he found the build-up to Charles and Diana’s wedding ‘very affecting’.

‘There was a slowly unfolding realisation on both sides that they were heading toward an unwanted and unhappy outcome, namely the royal wedding,’ he explained.

‘It reminded me of what a close friend of Diana’s said about the whole wretched mess when I was researching Diana: Her True Story: ‘I am sorry for the tragedy of it all. My heart bleeds for the whole misunderstanding but it bleeds most for Diana’.

Morton said Corrin’s portrayal of Diana in the first three episodes of the new fourth series, which dropped on Netflix on Sunday, helped add ‘dramatic tension’ to the show

‘That sentence has always stayed with me as summing up the Diana and Charles story – a couple who decided to marry after only spending a matter of days in one another’s company – with of course Mrs. PB [Parker Bowles] as chaperone.’ 

He pointed out that Diana’s eldest son Prince William, 38, did not make the same ‘mistake’ when it came to his marriage; he wed Kate Middleton, 38, after eight years together. 

Morton said he was impressed by writer Peter Morgan’s ‘nuanced and sophisticated portrait’ of the late princess, who died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997 aged 36. 

While he conceded that much of the series is a work of fiction, Morton said a lot of it ‘rings true’ and the joy of the drama is that the viewer is never quite sure. 

Morton’s remarks echo comments made by Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell, who praised Corrin for perfecting her ‘mannerisms and personality’ and claimed The Crown is a ‘true, fair and accurate’ depiction of the princess as a ‘victim of people who didn’t really care’. 

Morton said he was impressed by writer Peter Morgan’s ‘nuanced and sophisticated portrait’ of the late princess

Though many royal experts have openly criticised the drama, with Penny Junor branding it a ‘grotesque and deeply unfair portrayal’ of Charles and Diana.

She told Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘I think these are caricatures, they are portrayed the way they are for dramatic effect. Every dramatist needs victims and they need villains and what Peter Morgan has done here is portray Diana as the victim and just about every member of the royal family as villains.’

Junor previously suggested The Crown is ‘in danger of damaging not just the reputations of people who are powerless to hit back, but the future of the monarchy itself’.

Royal author Tom Quinn described some aspects of the Netflix drama’s portrayal of Diana as ‘nonsense’, according to The Sunday Express. 

Speaking about the controversial depiction of Diana’s battle with bulimia, Arbiter said: ‘You can’t ignore it, so if you’re doing a thing like The Crown, they try to be accurate, although they’re not making a very good job of it.’ 

Meanwhile friends of Prince Charles launched a blistering attack on The Crown at the weekend, accusing producers of the drama of ‘trolling on a Hollywood budget’. 

Morton has previously claimed Diana, who doted on both of her sons, would be ‘devastated’ to witness the breakdown of Harry and William’s relationship.

He said that Diana took comfort knowing that her eldest, who was always destined for the throne, would be able to lean on his younger brother for support while carrying out his duties.

Speaking after the release of Finding Freedom: : Harry, Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, Harry and Meghan’s unofficial biography, Morton said: ‘They had a unique relationship. 

‘No one else can understand the pain of losing your mum at such a young age, then having to walk behind her coffin with the world watching. 

‘No matter how much Harry and William love their wives, neither woman can truly know what this felt like.’

Despite this, Morton claims that Harry’s decision to step back as a senior member of the Royal Family and move to the US have made him appear even more like his mother.

Using a football analogy, Morton said that the Royal Family viewed Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Princess Diana as Championship players, when they believed themselves to be deserving of the Champions League.

Because of this, despite her disappointment, Diana would have understood Harry’s desire to split from the Royal Family, Morton said.

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