Talk about eerie. Production for season 5 of Netflix’s The Crown is well underway, and details are emerging about the inclusion of Princess Diana’s fatal 1997 car crash. Initially reported by TMZ, filming was seen unfolding at the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France, fit with a Mercedes-Benz vehicle and paparazzi swarming the car. Production is said to be following an almost exact route of the August 31, 1997, crash, which resulted in the deaths of Diana, then-boyfriend Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul.
The true nature of the horrific crash that took the life of the “people’s princess” has been a subject of controversy for decades. While a coroner’s jury estimated in a 2008 case that the accident was the result of unlawful paparazzi and poor performance on the driver’s part, many – including Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed – have insisted that Diana’s death was the result of carefully designed plans. What version of the story The Crown is set to tell in season 5 remains to be seen, but the news of the Paris production is the latest in a string of high profile concerns.
Season 5 is set to include the latter half of Diana’s marriage to King Charles III, Charles’ continued affair with Camilla, Queen Consort, and the dissolvement of the royal romance – once seen as a fairytale. The newly dropped trailer further includes Diana’s bombshell BBC interview with the now-disgraced journalist, Martin Bashir, in which she famously admitted that there were “three people” in her marriage.
As The Crown continues to revive the royal family’s dirty laundry, members of the firm are said to be increasingly worried about public perception, historical accuracy, and further familial ostracization. Those surrounding the newly named king are even taking appropriate steps to “protect [his] reputation” as season 5 progresses – if it is anything like season 4, Charles’ public image will almost certainly take a hit. As it stands, his approval rating – reported by YouGov – sits at a measly 44 percent.
The late Diana will be brought to life in season 5 of The Crown by actress Elizabeth Debicki, who looks eerily similar to the princess. The role of Diana was previously fulfilled by Emma Corrin in season 4, who took home the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her work. Debicki will star alongside actor Dominic West as Charles, Imelda Staunton as the queen, and Jonathan Pryce as the late Prince Philip.
Season 5 of the hit show has yet to drop on Netflix, but it is already receiving criticism from those within and outside the royal family. Politician John Major, for instance, told the Mail On Sunday that his fictional involvement in the show and an abdication-based storyline is “a barrel-load of nonsense.” Famed actress Dame Judi Dench expressed her criticism for the latest iteration of the Netflix drama, writing in an open letter to The Times that The Crown should be accompanied by a disclaimer, clearly indicating that it is a work of fiction.
The historical accuracy of season 5 will be consumed when it drops on November 9, 2022. Until then, fans and foes alike will certainly be waiting in anticipation.