The Reel Review
Told in the present tense, this unconventional HBO documentary uses contemporaneous news footage to weave together a montage of key milestones in the life of Britain’s Princess Diana, on this 25th anniversary of her death in a car accident in Paris at the age of 36.
Oscar-nominated director Ed Perkins (Black Sheep) masterfully weaves news footage and archival video, some never before seen, in this composite of Diana, as seen through the eyes of the media. There are no interviews. Some of the archival footage, set to a compelling score, is mesmerizing as we witness the transformation of the formerly shy, naïve bride into a shrewd and dazzling public figure.
While it doesn’t provide any new insight, The Princess is a fair and fitting tribute to Diana – an excellent primer for younger viewers unfamiliar with the public’s fascination with her. Its finalé, showing a grieving public sobbing at Diana’s funeral, illustrates just how much the People’s Princess was adored.
• Princess Diana is buried on an island at her family’s Althorp estate in Northampshire. England – her childhood home.
• Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles on April 5, 2005 at Windsor Castle, seven years after Diana’s death.
• James Hewitt, the cavalry officer and horseback riding instructor who had a romantic relationship with Princess Diana from 1986-1991, recovered from a heart attack and stroke in 2017. As of 2021, the never-married Hewitt, now 64, was working as a gardener and taking care of his elderly mother.