165 Comments

"She did have agency. Things could have been different."

She could have worn a seat belt.

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I agree to the extent that Diana had serious personality issues that ought to have been explored. This season of The Crown gave her much more wisdom than she probably entertained in real life. She courted the publicity and it's very likely she was playing a vindictive game with the royal family, and with Charles. That awful, flying monkey interview with Bashir. Like Meghan Markle, the feigned ignorance as to what working for the royal family would entail is absolutely unconscionable.

What The Crown did well was to humanize Charles, the scapegoat in all of this. Diana is still treated as a saintly victim to his callous philandering. Yet it could be argued that Camilla was the love of his life all along. His subsequent harmonious marriage to her reveals that he was as much a victim of circumstances as Diana was. I'm the same age as Diana, and while watching her story play out -- during a time when marriage and family seemed utterly old-fashioned, even I often wondered why she didn't just shut up, enjoy the clothes, yachts, castles, and attention, and carry on as she pleased behind closed doors. Instead, she bemoaned the fact that Charles didn't measure up to HER expectations, which would have required him to become a completely different person.

I also appreciated the humanization of Dodi. Through the media lens, he reads as a feckless loser; at least The Crown told an analogous story of entrapment. Being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth isn't all it's cracked up to be; The Crown told this story well. And the actress who played Diana got her moves and expressions down to an impressive degree. Yet I agree, it would have been far more intriguing to witness the complexity of her duplicitous character, and to reveal how great a liability she truly was to the Royal Family, which for all intents and purposes, is not just a family in the sense of a great Russian novel -- but also a corporation that must protect its reputation at all costs.

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I thought the whole season was just gratuitous. First, “The Queen” came out in like 2009 or 10 and did a way better job dealing with the aftermath of Diana’s death. Then the way they portrayed William and Harry--the former as some cold, unfeeling kid who wouldn’t hug his mom--was just gross. And then Diana’s talking to Charles and the Queen after her death like some bloodless version of Banquo’s ghost was laugh out loud cringe.

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Interesting juxtaposition of Diana and JFK. showing how fawning, juvenile and flat out silly our press and media have become. Both highly flawed people have been absolutely deified by these nitwits. The most laughable of all being the Camelot legend fomented by JFK's propagandists - even as he was a reckless drug addict cavorting with East German spies and mafia molls.

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Eh, I watched it thinking they just made up the storyline because they don’t know the facts. It’s entertainment to me. I’ll say one thing, Elizabeth Debicki is a doppelgänger for Diana...it’s worth watching just for her performance alone.

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Even a bad season of The Crown is still better than most other shows

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I never understood the cannonization. To my mind, and admittedly I never spent much time reading about her- my impression is based on the scraps most of us pick up--Diana was a naive girl with some problems chosen to be a breeder under a global spotlight. She thought it was love and spent years getting even instead of moving on. She did have a way with the public and was vulnerable but also destructive. That's it.

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Funny, I find the storyline of Diana unimportant or maybe slightly significant as the natural progression of events. What I think the Crown truly reveals is the folly of the antiquated Royal governance scheme that is the royal family.

What is pointed out very starkly is how it’s not possible for humans to live up to the expectations of God’s chosen ones on earth. There are very strict codes they are supposed to live by dictated by the Christian religion. The royal family has famously failed to live up to these rules again and again going back to Henry VIII and before. I won’t detail all the failures because they are well documented.

Why should the royal family have all this privilege? Beats me. They claim to be chosen by God yet can’t live any more morally than the rest of us. I’ve never really understood the British fascination with their vestige of monarchy. I guess it’s all the tradition. As an American it all looks like something that could have been left by the wayside long ago. I guess it makes sense since our ancestors did just that.

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Great piece. I agree with a lot of what you say here but I think they also did a good job of, or at least I had the deep sense watching it, she actually did put herself on the situation e.g. her chat with her therapist on this point, being an example. There was a sense her insecurities and destructive behavior driving what was happening, along with a kind of willful and self deceptive ignorance that she was merely being a friend to Dodi and not helping along his decision to cut off his engagement. So she didn’t come off squeaky clean to me. But yeah, the whole final hotel scene before the fateful crash was kind of nauseating.

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I think the actress that portrayed her not only looked like her but uncannily reproduced her mannerisms. Regardless of the criticism, one can admire good acting.

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I found the character of The Crown more fascinating. A woman transformed into an institution whose every decision and act could not convey human emotion. The Crown’s inability to cry at the scene of the mine blast, her refusal to give her sister happiness, her initial refusal to give Diana a royal funeral betray a person hollowed out of humanity and filled with protocol. That was the job, and she did it. She never even revealed the emotional toll it must have taken on her.

I grew weary of Diana towards the end.

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Another great piece from Kat Rosenfield!

As a Centrist who sees the Yin and Yang in everything, I find Diana's story fascinating.

She married a Prince!!

She died in a horrible car crash because she was being chased by photographers who wanted pictures of the woman who maried a Prince.

"The purest security is that which comes from a quiet life and withdrawal from the many"

(Epicurus)

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This doesn't seem to belong in FP.

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The character of Diana killed The Crown, in the same way the real life Diana killed the magic and positive role of royalty in English society, I think. She turned them into tabloid. Queen Elizabeth obviously understood her role in society really well. And that character is what made The Crown so good, as well.

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Never was a big fan of hers, or Charles. Got way more attention than warranted. The real TRAGEDY was that Mother Teresa died around the same time and her death was eclipsed by Diana’s.

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The word that comes to mind to describe Diana is "impulsive." She had a very unsteady upbringing; mother left abusive father; father terrorized children. She wanted the emphasis to be "family" instead she quickly learned that "royal" always came first. The earlier episodes of her with Prince Philip were touching as he befriended, guided and used himself as an example of someone who successfully navigated working for The Firm. Her cad of a brother persuaded her to do the Martin Bashir interview and after that, it was "ever after."

I look forward to watching these latest episodes.

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