News, Culture & Society

Royal experts slam ‘unnecessarily gratuitous’ new Diana film Spencer

Royal experts have branded the new Diana film Spencer ‘cruel’ and ‘unnecessarily gratuitous’ as it had its premiere last night, saying the movie starring Kristen Stewart strips the late princess of her ‘respect and dignity’.

Commentators have warned how Diana’s sons Princes Harry and William will both by upset by scenes in the movie which show her breaking down in tears in front of William as she battles her eating disorder and self harms.

Distressing scenes in the film out on November 5 show Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, fantasising about throwing herself down the stairs and choking on a pearl necklace gifted to her by husband Prince Charles.

Other parts of the film detail her bulimia as she vomits and even experiences hallucinations about her own death – and royal experts including Richard Fitzwilliams, Ingrid Seward and Penny Junor have all criticised the depiction.

Mr Fitzwilliams told MailOnline today: ‘It was an extraordinary decision to feature Diana throwing up on the poster whilst dressed in couture. The film does show scenes of bulimia and self harm which is indeed cruel.’  

Royal experts have slammed the new Diana film Spencer starring Kristen Stewart, saying it strips her of ‘respect and dignity’

Ingrid Seward

Penny Junor

Royal experts Ingrid Seward (left) and Penny Junor (right) have been among those criticising the new film out next month

The commentator, who attended a BFI London Film Festival press screening of the film, added: ‘I strongly doubt that either William or Harry will watch it. We have 20 more episodes of The Crown to come, which will probably also show disturbing scenes featuring her.

‘At least (director Pablo) Larrain only claims this is ‘an imagining’, ‘a fable’ and that is his right as a film maker. But it is not dramatic enough to be good cinema and its appeal is centred on Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Diana which, though it has its merits, is badly flawed.’

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams attended a BFI London Film Festival press screening of the new film

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams attended a BFI London Film Festival press screening of the new film

And Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty Magazine, told The Sun: ‘It is really cruel to portray her like this. It is totally unnecessary. 

‘William and Harry will be very angry and hurt about this. They will find it horrible that their mother is being portrayed in such a huge movie this way.’

Royal expert Penny Junor agreed, telling the Sun: ‘It is unnecessarily gratuitous. Poor William is all I can say, and let’s leave Diana with a shred of respect and dignity. I know William was there when she was unhappy but it sounds to me the movie is factually incorrect.’

In one scene William is seen begging his mother to come down for dinner after she locks herself in her room after self harming with wire cutters.

William screams: ‘Mummy, mummy… mummy, you said to tell you if you are being really silly. You are being really silly.’

‘Please mummy, we have to sit down before Granny. Mummy just switch off your mind. Don’t think about it until after dinner for everyone’s sake.’

Diana then exits the room with makeup streaming down her cheeks and asks her son if he saw Camilla Parker Bowles at the church on Christmas Day morning. 

Diana (depicted with Harry and William) fantasises about throwing herself down the stairs and choking on a pearl necklace

Diana (depicted with Harry and William) fantasises about throwing herself down the stairs and choking on a pearl necklace

Scenes in the film show the late Princess - who died in a car crash at the age of 36 - breaking down in tears in front of William

Scenes in the film show the late Princess – who died in a car crash at the age of 36 – breaking down in tears in front of William

(From left) Amy Manson, Sean Harris, Kristen Stewart, Freddie Spry, Jacki Nielen, Jack Farthing, Elizabeth Berrington, Stella Gonet and James Harkness pose for photographers at the premiere of Spencer at the Royal Festival Hall in London last night

(From left) Amy Manson, Sean Harris, Kristen Stewart, Freddie Spry, Jacki Nielen, Jack Farthing, Elizabeth Berrington, Stella Gonet and James Harkness pose for photographers at the premiere of Spencer at the Royal Festival Hall in London last night

Stewart has said the film is careful not to exploit Diana's legacy. A poster for the movie which is out next month is shown

Stewart has said the film is careful not to exploit Diana’s legacy. A poster for the movie which is out next month is shown

Arriving at last night’s premiere at the Royal Festival Hall, Stewart said the film is careful not to exploit Diana’s legacy, telling how it ‘comes from a genuinely careful and considerate place’. She added: ‘I hope she’s watching.’

‘It is really cruel’: What the royal experts are saying about Spencer 

Richard Fitzwilliams

‘It was an extraordinary decision to feature Diana throwing up on the poster whilst dressed in couture. The film does show scenes of bulimia and self harm which is indeed cruel. I strongly doubt that either William or Harry will watch it. We have 20 more episodes of The Crown to come, which will probably also show disturbing scenes featuring her. At least (director Pablo) Larrain only claims this is ‘an imagining’, ‘a fable’ and that is his right as a film maker. But it is not dramatic enough to be good cinema and its appeal is centred on Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Diana which, though it has its merits, is badly flawed.’

Ingrid Seward

‘It is really cruel to portray her like this. It is totally unnecessary. William and Harry will be very angry and hurt about this. They will find it horrible that their mother is being portrayed in such a huge movie this way.’

Penny Junor

‘It is unnecessarily gratuitous. Poor William is all I can say, and let’s leave Diana with a shred of respect and dignity. I know William was there when she was unhappy but it sounds to me the movie is factually incorrect.’

The 31-year-old was joined by child actors Jack Nielen, 12, who plays Prince William, and Freddie Spry, 10, as Prince Harry.

It comes after last November royal experts criticised graphic scenes in The Crown which portrayed Diana’s struggle with bulimia.

In one distressing sequence Emma Corrin’s Diana was shown putting her fingers down her throat to be sick following a heated argument with Prince Charles .

In another, she was seen gorging on desserts before again forcing herself to be sick in a toilet in the palace.

Some of the scenes were so graphic that viewers are given an on-screen warning at the beginning of the three episodes where her bulimia was depicted.

The first trailer for Spencer was released last month, with Stewart’s take on the late Royal’s accent heard for the first time.

Set in 1991 and set for release on November 5, the short clip saw the Hollywood star roaming the grounds of Sandringham Estate at Christmas time as her marriage to Prince Charles breaks down in the wake of divorce and infidelity rumours.

The film’s logline reads: ‘The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.

‘There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. Spencer is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.’

The script, written by English screenwriter Steven Knight, who has also written Peaky Blinders, follows the moments when Diana realises she needs to ‘veer from a path that puts her in-line to one day be Queen’.

Director Larraín explained that the drama will not delve into Diana’s tragic death, but instead focus on her relationship with her Royal husband and the love she has for children Prince William and Prince Harry.

The filmmaker said: ‘We decided to get into a story about identity, and around how a woman decides somehow, not to be the Queen… 

Last, November royal experts criticised graphic scenes in The Crown which portrayed Princess Diana 's struggle with bulimia

Last, November royal experts criticised graphic scenes in The Crown which portrayed Princess Diana ‘s struggle with bulimia 

Some of the scenes in The Crown were so graphic that viewers are given an on-screen warning (above: Emma Corrin as Diana)

Some of the scenes in The Crown were so graphic that viewers are given an on-screen warning (above: Emma Corrin as Diana)

Diana, Princess of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry in September 1995. She died in Paris in August 1997

Diana, Princess of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry in September 1995. She died in Paris in August 1997

‘She’s a woman who, in the journey of the movie, decides and realises that she wants to be the woman she was before she met Charles.’

Kristen Stewart arrives for the premiere of Spencer last night

Kristen Stewart arrives for the premiere of Spencer last night

Following the trailer’s release, fans hailed Kristen’s performance as the late Royal and called for the actress to be given an Oscar.

She utters just two words in the short preview, responding: ‘They don’t,’ when told the press know everything in one scene, but that was clearly enough to send fans wild.

They declared that the American star’s British accent was ‘spot on’, while her mannerisms and characterisation of the late Princess were also accurate.

When news of the film was first announced, Twitter was swarmed with people questioning Kristen’s casting in the role of Diana.

Larraín  quickly defended his decision to cast the star as the Princess of Wales, telling Deadline: ‘Kristen is one of the greatest actors around today.

‘Kristen can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile an ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need.’

‘The combination of those elements made me think of her. The way she responded to the script and how she is approaching the character, it’s very beautiful to see. 

‘I think she’s going to do something stunning and intriguing at the same time.’

Spencer is set for theatrical release in both Britain and the US on November 5

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk