And how do you feel about the prospect of the royal family watching?
I would be lying if I said that it isn’t completely daunting. But I think if they switch on and press play on Netflix, then they know what they are getting themselves into.
I do hope there is a part of them that wants to see it and they don’t do it because they are unhappy about it. But this is fiction, we are playing versions in a version of events, so I hope they don’t take anything too personally.
How did you prepare?
Well, there is obviously a lot of stuff about Diana out there, but a lot of it wasn’t really helpful to me in terms of this role and where we go with the character.
It was through reading the scripts that I realised this is very much our version of Diana and that freed me up to create the character.
What was your view on Diana before playing her?
I don’t know what I thought about her, really. She was always just there. My mum particularly has always been very fond of her, so she was always around as this kind of martyred figure.
This season starts with Diana taking her grandmother along on her first date with Prince Charles. What was that like to shoot?
It’s a weird thing that happened, but a great scene to film. You have Diana’s child-like excitement, Charles being his usual unreadable self and then the grandmother sat between them giving them both side-eye.
It was a great scene to shoot, but if you stop to think, it would be very strange to have your granny come on a date with you.
We see Diana go through a week-long initiation at Balmoral. What is your take on that introduction into royal life?
It looks like a nightmare, but I think she knew what she was doing all along.
There’s a great scene with Prince Philip where she is basically flirting with him, which I think shows how she knew how to use her charm. I think she actually quite enjoyed it.
The series also focuses on Diana’s personal issues. Was that something you were anxious to portray accurately?
Definitely. Once I read the script and saw that was going to be part of the storyline – which I was very pleased about, I put a lot of work and research through books and online into those scenes.
It was important to me to show that she was really going through these things and not just allude to it. It was hard to shoot those scenes, but I wanted to do it justice.
We also get to see you in that famous wedding dress. How did it feel?
Very heavy! We went through several fittings, each of which took hours, but I enjoyed those more than actually wearing it on the day we shot.
You really only briefly see her in the dress because you don’t see the wedding in the series, but it was wonderful to be part of the process of putting the dress together.
I wasn’t actually getting married, of course, but it did feel like one of those moments you want your mum to see [laughs].
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