The Princess tells the story of Princess Diana by using archival footage, ranging from news reports to interviews to home videos, chronicling her life from the moment she entered the public eye through her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981 to her untimely death in 1997. This documentary explores these tumultuous 16 years in great detail, analysing the complicated relationship the titular princess had with the media as well as with Charles and the royal family as a whole.
Although the film is about Princess Diana and the Windsors, the royals themselves take something of a backseat as the narrative interrogates the relationship the monarchy has with the media and the public. Through its presentation of the various pieces of archival footage, The Princess takes a careful and critical look at the institution of the monarchy and the immense cultural sway it has on the world, exposing the flaws in its archaic machinery and representing the social fallout of public obsession.
The media is often cited as the reason for Diana’s death and the troubles the royals faced and continue to face, but The Princess makes it clear that the media is just one part of a tormented system that includes the public and the royals themselves, feeding into each other in cycles of adoration and hatred and laying down the foundations for conflict and misery, culminating in disaster.
This critical examination hits especially hard in 2022 as various skeletons in the royal closets come to light, once again exposing the flaws in the institution of the monarchy. The tragedy of Princess Diana’s life as represented in the documentary becomes even more heartrending as it highlights the lessons that weren’t learned from her life or her death.
The Princess is a fascinating and thought-provoking documentary, asking important questions about a cultural institution with massive influence across the globe and throwing into harsh light the ways it fails people within and without it. Whether audience members are diehard royalists or can’t stand the sight of the monarchy, this film offers something for everyone to think about with its gripping and comprehensive examination of an undoubtedly popular but deeply flawed system.
The Princess is released in select cinemas on 30th June 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Princess here: