The Crown’s Emma Corrin Is Sure There Was “So Much Love” Between Princess Diana and Prince Charles
The newcomer opens up about her longstanding Diana obsession, pushing for the Princess’s eating disorder to be portrayed onscreen, and naming her dog Spencer.
SEE INTERVIEW VIDEO: here
It isn’t easy to make a fashion statement over Zoom, but Emma Corrin has done it. The actress appears on my screen wearing a horse-patterned dress, and paired it with a gold horse pendant necklace. It’s still stylish somehow, very Alessandro Michele-Gucci maximalist, but definitely a choice—and one that might carry a deeper meaning if she had played famed horse girls Princess Anne or Queen Elizabeth on The Crown.
But no, Corrin is the up-and-coming actress behind the show’s Princess Diana, and is actually “terrified” of horses (“They’re just so huge, they can run so fast”). If anything, her equine outfit is indicative of her willingness to go with the flow: when she was given a horse dress to wear, she realized she “weirdly” had a horse necklace that she’d never had a chance to wear, et voilà, head-to-toe stallions. It’s a quality that will come in handy when I ask her if her dog, whom she named Spencer after you-know-who, has anything in quality with his namesake—Corrin just gives a brief laugh and admits that she’s “not prepared for this to be a question” before indulging me with an answer.
Below, Corrin opens up about season four of The Crown, the complexities of Charles and Diana’s marriage, and finding a mentor in Helena Bonham Carter.
I know you’ve had a longstanding interest in Diana. As someone who, like me, who didn’t know her when she was alive, I’m curious what drew you to her.
I think growing up, I just had this overwhelming awareness of her relatability and that people seemed to adore her for being very empathetic and very caring. I very much grew up with the whole “the People’s Princess” understanding of who she was.
It really intrigued me when I got the role and started doing research, because I was quite keen to actually see, or try and understand, the person behind that, which I suppose is what the series is so great at doing.
How did your perception of her change as you got to know her better?
I don’t think my perception changed particularly, but I think I just had a new understanding or greater understanding of the complexity of everything that she was going through. I really was interested in learning about what she was like when she was younger. I really enjoyed those episodes, particularly everything in episodes two and three I suppose, when she’s meeting the royal family for the first time and you see her with her flatmates and her life before everything. I think it gave me a real appreciation of how young she was and the life she’d left behind and how she went into this thinking it was going to be one thing and then it turned out to be very much another.
Were you at all interested in Charles or Camilla, or know much about them, before the show?
I guess I had a very vague understanding of everything, but I guess also with The Crown, with Peter’s writing, it takes everything behind closed doors. What we end up showing in this season is very much unchartered territory, I suppose. It’s very fictionalized. I mean, Peter has this amazing way of writing very complex human characters and really bringing out the nuance in relationships. I was really interested in learning those nuances in the love triangle, I suppose, as it’s come to be known.
What kind of nuances?
Josh and I talked a lot about the complexities of marriage, I suppose, and also the pressures that everyone was facing in that situation. The pressure that Charles felt to do the right thing, do his duty, choose a wife. And how young Diana was. How she really liked Charles and had an idea that marrying him would be, I suppose as the episode suggests, some kind of fairytale. Then, Charles’s love for Camilla, which to be fair, was there for the whole of his life.
I think it was just a very unfortunate series of events, honestly, and it was just interesting to see all of these things play over each other. I’ve been asked in a lot of interviews like, “Oh, whose side are you on?” Or like, “What do you think about this?” It’s very hard, and it’s impossible to pick a side, because it’s so much more complicated than that.
Also, I hope that we don’t have to choose sides in interpersonal relationships.
Exactly. Right? I mean, that’s the thing—if anyone asks [to choose sides], you should say, “Can you do that in your relationships?” There’s so much more to it than that. Josh and I also always maintain that there must have been so much love between Charles and Diana, because it is possible to love someone and also for it not work out in a marriage or in a relationship. It happens every day, all the time.
When you were preparing for the role, did you get any good insights from people who knew Diana personally?
I met with her personal secretary, Patrick Jephson, who was wonderful to talk to. He was really great. He worked with her for a number of years, and I remember him describing her as such a happy person, and that really meant a lot to me. He said that even though she was going through a lot, especially as the marriage was ending, he said, “If you knew her well, then you knew that you could make her smile in an instance.”