New Sky documentary The Princess uses archive footage to explore Princess Diana’s public obsession
A quarter of a century after her death, Princess Diana will be back in the spotlight with a series of new documentaries airing to mark the anniversary.
The Princess is one such example, a feature-length Sky documentary covering the last 17 years of Diana’s life.
It is the second major work from Ed Perkins, the director of the 2019 Netflix documentary Tell Me Where I Am, which follows a man who suffers memory loss after an accident and relies on his twin brother to help him to help recovery.
The Princess is another stark work that joins the ranks of other Diana documentaries, but it’s unique in that it focuses less on Diana and more on the media and public gaze that followed her every step.
What is “The Princess” about?
The documentary traces the life of Diana Spencer shortly before announcing her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981 until her death in a car accident in Paris in 1997.
The film consists entirely of archival footage taken during the two decades that Diana has been in the public eye without interruption.
It will explore the public’s obsession with the “People’s Princess” and the impact Diana has had on millions of people throughout her life.
The film will also question how the British public’s attitudes towards the monarchy have changed over time and in particular how they have been affected by Diana’s death.
The princess uses news and paparazzi images to question the extent to which a poisoned media climate could be held responsible for the tragic events in Paris.
Additionally, footage from the controversial 1995 Panorama interview between Diana and Martin Bashir is included in the documentary.
In July this year, BBC director-general Tim Davie said the interview would never again be broadcast by the company after an investigation found the interview had been arranged through fraudulent tactics.
Featuring no dramatic new revelations or bombastic accusations, The Princess instead uses contemporary footage to ask new questions.
Perkins told Indiewire, “I’m very aware that this story has already been widely shared. I think it’s fair to say that this is one of the most told stories of all narrative genres.
“I had a strong feeling that perspective, which hadn’t really been explored before, wasn’t necessarily trying to get into Diana’s mind. I wanted to try to do something different.
“The question that really interested me was: What does this story tell us about ourselves? What relationship do we have not only with monarchy but also with celebrity? What was our role and perhaps our complicity in this tragic story?”
Is there a trailer
Yes, there is, and you can watch it right here:
How to watch The Princess in the UK?
The Princess premiered in the UK on June 11 at the Sundance Film Festival London and had a major theatrical run on June 30.
The 109-minute documentary will air on Sky Documentaries on Sunday 14 August at 9pm. It will also be available to watch NOW.