The last time viewers see Princess Diana in The Crown Season 5, she’s packing Princes William and Harry’s clothes for a trip to Saint-Tropez. As the world now knows, within about two months' time, the people’s princess would die in a 1997 Paris car crash that also claimed the lives of Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. Since the period drama’s sixth season is now in production, we know that The Crown will cover Diana’s death, and Netflix has already revealed exactly how much of the tragedy will play out on screen.
“The exact moment of the crash impact will not be shown,” a spokesperson for the streamer told The Sun in October. Meanwhile, a set source claimed to the newspaper that the royal’s untimely passing is “still so fresh and upsetting, it feels as though a line is being crossed,” adding, “Some production staff are now starting to speak up about their feelings.”
In fact, most of the information that’s leaked has been from unnamed sources. “We’ve been dreading getting to this point,” a production insider told Deadline on Oct. 12. “The countdown is two weeks and while we’re calmly carrying on, it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s a certain anxiety; a palpable sense of being slightly on edge. I mean, there’s bombshell sensitivity surrounding this one.”
Deadline’s source also confirmed that Season 6 will focus on “the run-up” to the tragic car crash, including the vehicle “leaving The Ritz after midnight with paparazzi in pursuit and then the aftermath with the British Ambassador to France swinging into action with the Foreign Office and then the subsequent constitutional aftermath.” According to the website, Dominic West’s Charles will also be shown flying to Paris to retrieve Diana’s casket.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Elizabeth Debicki, who took over the Lady Di role in Season 5, insisted, however, that the princess’ final days are being handled with sensitivity. "I'll say that [creator Peter Morgan] and the entire crew of this job do their utmost to really handle everything with such sensitivity and truth and complexity, as do actors,” she explained. “The amount of research and care and conversations and dialogue that happen over, from a viewer’s perspective, something probably that you would never ever notice is just immense. From that very first meeting [with] Peter, I knew that I'd entered into this space where this was taken seriously [in] a deeply caring way.”
West, for his part, agreed that the team behind The Crown was not taking the subject lightly. “It’s a hell of a season, because it deals with Diana’s death and appalling scenes, like having to break that news to your sons,” he told EW. “I've got two boys of that age and so it's a heavy, heavy responsibility to get it right and something I think we all take pretty seriously.”