The Parent Trap's Elizabeth James Was Basically Princess Diana & These Looks Prove It

The two women have distinctly similar tastes in fashion.

Princess Diana & Elizabeth James
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Do you ever watch a film and just sit there and think, “Who on earth does that actor remind me of?” Well, while re-watching The Parent Trap recently (it was for research purposes, I swear), I had that exact thought when Elizabeth James — aka British actor Natasha Richardson — came on screen. And the person she reminded me of? The late Princess Diana.

After a little nose around social media, I’ve discovered I’m not the only one who’s had this thought while watching the 1998 classic. In fact, it turns out a few people actually thought that Richardson and Princess Diana were the same person.

Whatever your thoughts on this phenomenon, it’s hard to deny that the resemblance between the two women is striking. Richardson’s decidedly ’90s haircut in The Parent Trap is straight out of the Diana playbook, with Elizabeth James rocking a short blond bob and fringe.

Then there were James’ outfits. Oh, the outfits. So chic, so elegant, so distinctly Diana. Did costume designer Penny Rose use the princess as inspiration? While she’s never said for certain, I can’t help but think at least one image of her was pinned on Rose’s mood board. Both wore neutral tones, casual shirts, and classic LBDs.

Still not convinced? Just keep scrolling.

The Hair

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Let’s start with the hair. Not Diana’s youthful riff on the Farah Fawcett flicks, but the ’90s post-divorce crop. Elizabeth James definitely showed a picture of the late princess to her hair stylist.

The Shift Dress

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When we first meet Richardson as Elizabeth James, not only does she have the Diana hair, but she is wearing a shift dress – a Diana staple for public appearances.

The White Coat

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Why does an unfitted oversized white jacket look amazing on both these women? Whatever the reason, Richardson and Diana carried it off with aplomb. Princess Diana’s Versace coat was indicative of her becoming more adventurous with fashion post-divorce, whilst James uses hers as a light cover-up whilst taking Annie on a trip around London.

The Neutral Tones

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Throughout the film, James rocks a neutral palette, with an enviable selection of beige and cream tops. As she is getting ready to leave (read: panicking) and meet ex-husband Nick Parker for the first time in 11 years, she’s aptly wearing a safari shirt, ready for her holiday. Diana had a similar colour palette and shirt selection on a trip to Egypt with Prince Charles in 1992.

The Blue Shirt

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The epitome of laid-back-yet-put-together-ease, the loose button-down shirt has become a go-to for off-duty royals since Diana first rocked them. Elizabeth James’ relaxed vibe in Napa Valley is very similar and a far throw from her more buttoned-up style choices in London.


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“If I was seeing my ex, after 11 years, and I had your legs, I’d wear this little baby,” James’ butler Martin says, holding the slinky black dress. “You'll kill it.” And kill it she does. The LBD was also a signature of Diana’s in her post-Prince Charles years, with the late royal opting for designs from Versace, Catherine Walker, and others.