Actors Who Have Played Princess Diana in TV Shows and Movies

In 1982, Caroline Bliss played the new princess in a TV movie about the royal wedding.

Caroline Bliss and Princess Diana.

United News/Popperfoto & Tim Graham / Getty

Just 14 months after the royal wedding, ABC released ‘‘Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story,” a dramatic retelling of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Bliss played the role of Diana “with reasonable accuracy,” according to The New York Times in 1982. 

The publication went on to explain that the “script for the ABC opus did attempt to make brief references to certain pressing realities” when compared to the other network movie that came immediately after. 

The same year, CBS released a similar TV movie about the royal wedding, with Catherine Oxenberg playing the role of Princess Diana.

a close up of Catherine Oxenberg's face; a close up of Princess Diana's face

Catherine Oxenberg and Princess Diana.

CBS & Princess Diana Archive / Getty

Just a few weeks after ABC’s movie, CBS released a similar film titled, ”The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana,” which also chronicled the royal wedding. 

“The CBS film, unfortunately, makes her something of a Pollyanna, or a Cinderella — a sweet innocent sprite upon whom a fairy godmother bestowed a few crucial wishes,” The Washington Post wrote in 1982 about the portrayal Diana. 

Nicola Formby played Princess Diana in “The Women of Windsor” in 1992.

Nicola Formby's sitting in a chair looking; Princess Diana also sitting in a chair

Nicola Formby and Princess Diana.

CBS & Princess Diana Archive / Getty

CBS aired “The Women of Windsor” in 1992 to tell the story of Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, both of whom married into the royal family. In this TV movie, Formby took on the role of Diana, which Variety called an overall flat character

“‘The Women of Windsor’ is a good-looking but unabsorbing rehash of the marriages of the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York,” Patricia O’Connell at Variety wrote in 1992. “Two of the main exposition devices — voice-over from a reporter and newspaper front pages — are a poor substitute for fully developed characters and interaction between them.”

Serena Scott Thomas took on the titular role in NBC’s 1993 biopic, “Diana: Her True Story.”

close up of Serena Scott Thomas' face; close up of Princess Diana's face

Serena Scott Thomas and Princess Diana.

NBC & Tim Graham / Getty

Based on the bestselling novel by Andrew Morton, NBC’s film adaptation was meant to be an inside look at the royal couple’s rocky and volatile relationship. In 1983, Entertainment Weekly rated the movie a B+, explaining that the director was able to make a “classy-looking movie about a distinctly un-classy aspect of the British upper class.”

The publication also wrote that Scott Thomas played Diana with “great charm” but did not resemble the “angular princess.”

In 1996, Julie Cox was cast as Diana in the CBS movie “Princess in Love,” which told the story of her reported affair.

Julie Cox as princess diana with arms crossed; Princess Diana smiling with her arms crossed

Julie Cox and Princess Diana.

CBS Photo Archive / Getty

Based on the bestselling book, “Princess in Love” was a CBS film that chronicled Diana’s extramarital affair with her former riding instructor. Cox played the princess after signing onto the project just a few days before filming began, People reported

“Cox is no body double for Di, being brunette (they dyed her hair) and, at 5’4″ — six inches shorter,” People wrote in 1996. “And she’s oblivious to Windsor-mania. She never read the book, she says, because ‘I thought I would hate it. I thought, If I read it, I’ll have a hard time taking the script seriously.'”

A year after Princess Diana died, “Diana: A Tribute to The People’s Princess,” aired with Amy Seccombe in the lead role.

close up of Amy Seccombe's face; close up of Princess Diana's face

Amy Seccombe and Princess Diana.

PA Images & Princess Diana Archive / Getty

“Diana: A Tribute to The People’s Princess” showcased the final year of Diana’s — played by lookalike Seccombe — life, highlighting her relationship with Dodi Fayed and her relationship with her two children, according to RadioTimes. The film culminates with the car accident that killed Diana in 1997. 

TLC made a dramatic documentary in 2007 about Diana’s final days. Genevieve O’Reilly played the princess in a series of reenactments.

close up of Genevieve O'Reilly's face; close up of Princess Diana's face

Genevieve O’Reilly and Princess Diana.

Princess Diana Archive / Getty

“Diana: Last Days of a Princess” was billed a docudrama, which mixed real-life interviews with those close to her and dramatic reenactments of the days leading up to the car accident. 

According to the New York Times, O’Reilly’s portrayal was a realistic one.  

“‘Diana’ doesn’t deify the princess,” the publication wrote in 2007. “It portrays her as needy but manipulative, loving but flawed — in other words, as a human being. Blending documentary techniques and scripted drama, it gives a surprisingly credible picture of the princess’s last summer.”

In 2013, Naomi Watts played the royal in “Diana,” which concentrated on her relationship with Hasnat Khan.

Naomi Watts wearing a necklace as princess diana; and Princess Diana wearing a necklace and crown

Naomi Watts and Princess Diana.

Ecosse Films/AP/Herman Knippertz

“Diana” premiered in theaters in 2013 to poor reviews, earning an 8% Rotten Tomatoes score. But the New York Times said Watts’ performance was one of the best parts. 

“Anchored by Ms. Watts’s sympathetic performance, it humanizes the woman behind the smile, the helmet hair, and the myth,” the publication wrote in 2013

Watts told the Daily Mail that she felt like she connected with Diana’s spirit while filming the movie. 

“There were definitely moments when I felt Diana’s presence – I dreamed about her a lot, too, and that’s a first,” Watts told the publication in 2013. “I kept wondering to myself: ‘Would she have liked it?’ So I found myself constantly asking for her permission to carry on.”

Bonnie Soper played Princess Diana in two Lifetime movies: “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” and “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal.”

Bonnie Soper as Diana wearing blue top; and Princess Diana wearing a blue blazer

Bonnie Soper and Princess Diana.

Lifetime & Princess Diana Archive / Getty

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” premiered on Lifetime in 2018 and followed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s new relationship, while “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal” debuted in 2019 and followed the couple’s first year in marriage. Although the actors who played Harry and Meghan changed between movies, Soper played Princess Diana in flashback scenes in both movies. 

“I didn’t pay attention to the whole Royal scene – I was a little southern girl,” Soper told Stuff in 2018. “However, I do very much recall seeing her in the magazines and seeing this woman hounded by the press. I remember being very interesting by her. Then of course, with the accident, I remember being shocked like the rest of the world and feeling sad, so sad.”

Emma Corrin played a young Princess Diana in the fourth season of Netflix’s “The Crown.”

Emma Corrin as Diana wearing purple gown; and Princess Diana wearing a purple gown.

Emma Corrin and Princess Diana.

Netflix & David Levenson/ Getty Images

“The Crown,” which recounts the life of Queen Elizabeth by decade, dove into the Charles and Diana storyline in its fourth season. Corrin plays the role of the budding royal alongside Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles. 

“Emma’s doing a brilliant job, and it’s breathtakingly accurate; she looked the spitting image [of Diana], and it’s kind of extraordinary,” O’Connor told Harper’s Bazaar in 2019. “So that’s kind of spooky.”

Corrin won a Golden Globe in 2021 for the performance and was nominated for an Emmy.

Kristen Stewart is set to play Princess Diana in an upcoming movie titled “Spencer.”

princess diana wearing red blazer and black hat; Kristen Stewart playing diana in red blazer and black hat

Princess Diana and Kristen Stewart.

Princess Diana Archive / Getty & Pablo Larrain

“Spencer” will follow Diana during one weekend with the royal family at Sandringham just before she decides to leave her marriage with Prince Charles.

In early 2021, director Pablo Larrain began filming with Stewart.

“The accent is intimidating as all hell because people know that voice, and it’s so, so distinct and particular,” Stewart told InStyle. “I’m working on it now and already have my dialect coach.”

In the new trailer for the movie, Stewart’s Diana can be seen running and dancing through the halls of Sandringham. The movie is set to be released in November. 

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