Stills released of The Crown’s interpretation of the last moments of Princess Diana have stirred fresh criticism of the series.
Stills from the recent Netflix drama series demonstrate how producers have vividly recreated events leading up to the car crash in Paris in 1997. Actors playing the drunk driver Henri Paul, Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed are inside a black Mercedes overrun by paparazzi on mopeds as it journeys through the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
The Crown was filmed in Paris, near where the crash occurred, and in Barcelona. The Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki stars as Diana, and the Egyptian-British actor Khalid Abdalla is Fayed. Netflix crews were filming in yesterday’s early hours just yards from the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
It said that Netflix would not show the exact moment of the crash, but portraying the moments running up to Diana’s death has provoked criticism.
The royal biographer Andrew Lownie said that the latest images were “distasteful”. He told MailOnline: “It is such an important part of the story, and they have got to show it, but a bit of sensitivity would not go amiss. There are many ways filmmakers can show something without showing it, shall we say. It could all be off-screen. It doesn’t need to be so graphic. We have had documentaries even showing pictures of the bodies in the car. In some ways, people have gone further.”
Last week Dame Judi Dench accused The Crown of “crude sensationalism” and said the Netflix series about the royal family was “cruelly unjust”. “The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism,” she wrote in a letter to The Times.
Debbie Frank, Diana’s astrologer, said it would be “terrible” for Prince William and Prince Harry to see a recreation of the tragedy. “It’s obviously terrible for Diana’s children to have to see that again. It’s insensitive,” she said.
The fifth series of The Crown will be released on November 9.