In some of The Crown’s most controversial scenes yet, Princess Diana is shown returning as a ghost to impart wisdom to both Charles and the Queen – one of which seems to hint at a conspiracy theory about her death.
Having started in the 1940s, the show’s events have now reached the late 1990s, and episode four, title “Aftermath”, deals with the fallout of Princess Diana’s death following a Paris car accident in 1997.
At one stage in the episode, Charles (Dominic West) reflects on Diana’s death while sitting alone on a plane – and she appears to him from beyond the grave.
“Paris – one of the best cities in the world, and you’ve brought it to a standstill,” he says, to which Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) appears in an empty seat in front of him, saying: “Ta-da.”
The scene then shows Charles hail Diana as “the most beloved of all of us”, with the princess then thanking him for showing emotion at the hospital she was taken to in the aftermath of the accident.
“Thank you for how you were in the hospital: so raw, broken º and handsome,” she tells him, adding: “I’ll take that with me.” Diana then says: “You know, I loved you so much. So deeply, but so painfully too. Well, it’s over now. Be easier for everyone with me gone.”
When Charles says “it won’t”, a smirking Diana narrows her eyes and, in a line that seemingly hints at the, she replies: “It will. Admit it – you’ve had that thought already.”
However, Charles tells her that “the only thought” he’s had since learning of her death “is regret”, assuring her that the feeling will never pass.
More than 25 years on, conspiracy theories continue to rage about Diana’s death, despite almost all of them being proven decisively wrong.
Numerous reports, investigations and experts have all agreed with the official account of events: that Diana had been in a car driven by a man who was drunk, which led to the cause of the tragedy.
But others still believe that something more secretive and intentional happened that night. The conspiracy theories take a number of other forms, but all claim to point to the same fundamental belief: that someone wanted to kill Diana, and they helped orchestrate that night’s fatal crash.
In season five, these theories are also hinted at by the show’s writers in a moment between Prince Phillip (Tobias Menzies) and Diana. When she threatens to break away from the royal establishment, Phillip tells her: “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you. Let’s just say I can’t see it ending well for you.”
Elsewhere in episode four of The Crown season six, the Queen (Imelda Staunton) is watching footage of hordes of Diana’s grieving fans gathering outside Buckingham Palace when the late princess appears in an empty seat next to her, and holds her hand.
“I hope you’re happy now,” the Queen tells Diana, adding: “You’ve finally succeeded in turning me and this house upside down.”
When Diana tells her that was “never my intention”, the Queen grumpily tells her she’s started “nothing less than a revolution”. However, Diana explains it only looks like a revolution as the Queen “made an enemy” of “what I stand for”.
Imparting wisdom to the Queen from beyond the grave, Diana continues: “They’re trying to show you who they are, what they feel, what they need. And I know that must be terrifying, but it needn’t be.
“For as long as anyone can remember, you’ve taught us what it means to be British – maybe it’s time to show you’re ready to learn too.”
The Crown is available to stream on Netflix now – find The Independent’s review of the new episodes here.
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