When we learned that the sixth and final season of The Crown would open with the story of the last weeks of Princess Diana’s life we were almost completely certain that the showrunner and creator Peter Morgan he would have taken up the same themes in the series that he had addressed in The Queen, the 2006 film that gave Helen Mirren the Oscar and which focused on the way in which the English crown received the news of the princess’s disappearance. In The Queenas we know, the emphasis was entirely on the queen’s integrity and her desire not to leave Balmoral, now considering Diana a stranger to the family, deciding not to implement a series of provisions – such as the flag being flown at half-mast at Buckingham Palace – which the English people have begun to view with suspicion and anger. In The Crown, which deals with Diana’s death in the fourth episode of the sixth and final season, the tone is very different, and focuses not so much on the respectability and authority of the sovereign but on the pain for the disappearance of an ex-wife and, above all, of a mother. Unlike what happened in The Queen, Peter Morgan chooses in this round to focus on details of extreme humanity and sweetnesslike Carlo who, on the morning of Diana’s death, decided not to wake William and Harry immediately because, as long as they slept, “they still have a mother” and how William who, on the day of his disappearance, disappeared for 14 hours losing track of himself to be alone with his pain.
The details, however, are endless, and continue with Carlo’s (Dominic West) desperation when faced with Diana’s lifeless body in Paris and his intention to bring the body back to London demanding a state funeral and not the private function that the Spencer family had hoped for. The figure of Tony Blair (Bertie Carvel)so central in The Queenin The Crown remains almost in the background, letting Diana herself speak – and this is the real revolution – brilliantly played by Elizabeth Debicki who, during the last episodes of the Netflix series, gives an extraordinary performance across the board, very careful to replicate not only the whispered voice of the princess, but also the smallest movementsand, like hands that never stay still and his head is always tilted a quarter when he addresses someone. To tell the internal conflict of the main characters after the disappearance of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed (Khalid Abdalla), Peter Morgan chooses, in fact, to have those directly involved interact with those who survive him, giving life to scenes of absolute power. Engaged in organizing the funeral and prostrate with pain, Carlo speaks with the spirit of Diana, remotely recalling those sinister and phantasmagorical atmospheres recounted so well by Pablo Larraín in Spencer, when Kristen Stewart played Diana.
«Thank you for how you were in the hospital. I loved you so much, now it will be easier for everyone without me”, Diana’s ghost says to Carlo when he realizes all the harm he has done to her in life. The crucial moment of the fourth episode of The Crown it is, however, the conversation between Queen Elizabeth played by Imelda Staunton, who at the beginning of this season almost disappears to make room for Diana, and her daughter-in-law: «You’ll be happy, I imagine.” the sovereign tells her before telling Lady D not to accept anyone telling her how much she has to suffer, a phrase which, alone, sums up the whole essence of the two-odd hours The Queen. Peter Morgan’s merit, however, was also another: restore justice to the character of Dodi Al Fayed which, for obvious reasons, has always remained in the background of the Alma tunnel tragedy. The dialogue between Dodi’s ghost and his father Mohammed Al Fayed (Salim Daw), so obsessed with obtaining English citizenship that he shamelessly pushes his son into Diana’s arms, reveals that, in the end, he will always be the sense of guilt to unite them for life. “Forgive me, please,” Mohammed says to his son. «Forgive me for disappointing you. Wounds heal only with the truth.” Which is, perhaps, the best sentence that Peter Morgan could write to put a point to four episodes that are nothing short of perfect.
Source: Vanity Fair
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