Diana at 60
Containing some gorgeous never-seen-before footage of the princess and the Royal Family, Robin Bextor’s Diana at 60 offers a view behind the lens of the woman who won the hearts of the nation while struggling with an internal conflict against one of the most famous families on the planet. In the year that would have been her 60th birthday, the documentary aims to evoke memories through historical recollection, but more importantly educate those who may not be aware of her story, offering a suggestion as to what the Royal Family might have looked like now, had she not passed before her time.
Exceptionally provocative and moving in moments, the film is most effective when interviewing those associated with Diana’s life before the royal chapter, revealing her personality and adventures during her school years. During this first segment the viewer is given a more personable flavour of who Diana truly was, and it works brilliantly.
Following this, the production becomes a historical retelling of the princess’s life, as opposed to a look at how she and the Royal Family would appear now, had she not died on that fateful night. It is here that the magical gloss begins to dissipate, the film falling into the trap of simply informing a majority of the audience of what they already know or experienced firsthand. In fact, the only reference to the future comes before the end credits when addressing the highly topical departure of Harry and Meghan from the firm and the rift that has formed between Diana’s two sons.
The result is a documentary that comes across as incredibly dated, partly due to the footage and interviews used, but also because it simply, albeit eloquently, covers old ground for such a large portion of its 60-minute runtime. Though the narrative proves as compelling as ever when the princess is concerned, it could be argued that a greater level of exploration into the what might have been would have made Diana at 60 a more exciting experience. In addition, the sound editing is unusual, to say the least, with the chosen music fitting questionably over the action on-screen, detracting slightly from the quality of the storytelling and the exciting unseen footage.
There will always be a place for Diana in the hearts of many in the United Kingdom and around the world, so for a certain audience Diana at 60 will be yet another welcome and eye-opening addition to the video archives, but the lack of new unearthed substance means this latest might not make it as one of the greats, despite providing engaging viewing throughout.
Diana at 60 is released in select cinemas and digitally on demand 21st June 2021.
Watch the trailer for Diana at 60 here: