• Rebecca Rubin, Variety

New film about Princess Diana to release on HBO


Princess Diana in the crowd. (Courtesy Photo/HBO)

The Princess, an intimate and immersive look at the life of Princess Diana, will debut on HBO this week.


The film will premiere on Saturday, August 13, at 8 p.m. to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death on August 31. It will be available to stream on HBO Max on the same day.


Ed Perkins (Black Sheep), who directed the film, used only television news footage and other public records to retell the story of the people’s princess. It also tackles the relationship of Diana and Charles, the Prince and Princess of Wales, which served as tabloid fodder for nearly two decades through their wedding, the birth of their two sons and their bitter divorce.


According to the film’s logline, The Princess is described as “a visceral submersion into Diana’s life in the constant and often intrusive glare of the media spotlight. The film unfolds as if it were in the present, allowing viewers to experience the overwhelming adoration, but also intense scrutiny of Diana’s every move and the constant judgment of her character. Through archival material, the film is also a reflection of society at the time, revealing the public’s own preoccupations, fears, aspirations and desires. Princess Diana’s tragic death, caused in part by a high-speed pursuit by paparazzi, was a moment for reflection by both the public and the media machine it feeds. However, after nearly 25 years since Princess Diana’s death, has anything really changed?”


The Princess first played at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. In Variety’s review, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman called The Princess a “perfectly timed, compulsively watchable once-over-lightly documentary.”


“Since we’ve never stopped watching her, The Princess, coming on the heels of Spencer, Season 4 of ‘The Crown,’ and the short-lived musical Diana, may sound like one Diana document too many. Yet after all those dramatic treatments, it’s galvanizing to see the real story laid out exactly as it happened—or, more precisely, as it happened and as it was presented to the public, those being, quite often, two very different things,” Gleiberman wrote.


British Royal Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), wearing a blue jacket over a black dress, with Eton housemaster Dr. Andrew Gailey, Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles outside Manor House on Prince William’s first day at Eton College in Eton, Berkshire, England, on September 16, 1995. (PrincessDianaArchives/HultonArchive/GettyImages/TNS)

The HBO Original documentary film The Princess is an intimate and immersive look at the life of Princess Diana, directed by Academy Award® nominee Ed Perkins (Black Sheep and Tell Me Who I Am) and produced by Lightbox, Academy Award-winning Simon Chinn (Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man) and Emmy-winning Jonathan Chinn (LA92 and HBO’s Tina). The film debuts on Saturday, August 13 (8 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. on HBO, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death, and will be available to stream on HBO Max. The Princess had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.


The relationship of Diana and Charles, the Prince and Princess of Wales, was tabloid fodder for nearly two decades, the subject of almost daily headlines in the 24-hour news cycle. The Princess draws solely from contemporaneous archival audio and video footage to take audiences back to key events in Diana’s life as they happened, including their seemingly fairy-tale public courtship and wedding, the birth of their two sons, their bitter divorce and Diana’s tragic and untimely death on August 31, 1997.


Intensely emotional, The Princess is a visceral submersion into Diana’s life in the constant and often intrusive glare of the media spotlight. The film unfolds as if it were in the present, allowing viewers to experience the overwhelming adoration, but also intense scrutiny of Diana’s every move and the constant judgement of her character. Through archival material, the film is also a reflection of society at the time, revealing the public’s own preoccupations, fears, aspirations and desires.


Princess Diana’s tragic death, caused in part by a high-speed pursuit by paparazzi, was a moment for reflection by both the public and the media machine it feeds. However, after nearly 25 years since Princess Diana’s death, has anything really changed?



Gina Rullo contributed to this report.



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