Prince Charles summons up a vision of the Princess in Netflix drama following her death in a car crash.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Crown season 6, part 1.
One of the most discussed — and most controversial — scenes on Netflix's new season of The Crown occurs during episode 4, when Elizabeth Debicki's Princess Diana pays a final visit to Dominic West's Prince Charles following the death of Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed in a Paris car crash. While many media reports have described this iteration of Diana as a "ghost," it is clear that creator Peter Morgan intends the audience to view her as a a figment of Charles' imagination rather than some supernatural force. The executive producer also includes another scene during the same episode in which the Princess speaks with Imelda Staunton's Queen Elizabeth II, and a third where Salim Daw's Mohamed Al-Fayed is visited by is son Dodi, played by Khalid Abdalla.
"For me, what Peter was doing with those scenes was having a very real conversation about grief," Debicki tells EW. "I know personally that when one loses someone, the desire to converse with them, to have them there again instantly, is so real and so I found that incredibly moving."
In the scene featuring Debicki and West, which takes place on a plane carrying the Prince back from Paris to the UK, Diana thanks Charles for traveling to see her body in the hospital, describing him as, "so raw, broken, and handsome. I'll take that with me."
"You know, I loved you so much," Diana continues, tearing up. "So deeply, so painfully, too. That's over now. Be easier for everyone with me gone."
"No it won't," replies Charles, who is also crying.
"It will," insisted Diana. "Admit it, you've had that thought already."
"The only thought I've had since the moment I've heard is regret," says Charles.
"That will pass," says Diana.
"No, it won't," says Charles, ending the exchange. We then see him looking at a now-empty seat.
Debicki describes filming the scene with West as "devastating, really devastating, one of the saddest things I’ve ever shot as an actor. I remember sitting down, and we didn’t rehearse it, and they just ran the cameras and what you see is almost like the first or second take of both of our work... I found that incredibly moving. We, in a funny way as humans, probably experienced our own sort of meta-sense of grief, and then we were able to channel that into the characters. Dom was so heartbreaking to me in that scene. You don’t really see it in the take but we both would weep after each take, would have to sort of mop up all the tears, and start the cameras again. So, yeah, it was a tough time."
Part 1 of The Crown season 6 is now streaming on Netflix. Part 2 debuts Dec. 14.
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