The first four episodes of The Crown season six are officially here, but many viewers believe one scene has depicted the most devastating moment throughout the entire series.
On 16 November, Netflix dropped the first four episodes of The Crown’s final season, followed by the last six episodes on 14 December. The latest installment takes place between the late 1990s to mid-2000s, and includes the lead-up to Princess Diana’s fatal Paris car crash in 1997.
The season begins with Princess Diana (played by Elizabeth Debicki) whisking her sons - Prince William (played by Rufus Kampa) and Prince Harry (played by Fflyn Edwards) - away on summer holiday to Saint-Tropez, France. After staying several days on Mohamed Al Fayed’s yacht, the boys return home to London where their father, the then-Prince of Wales, accompanies them to Balmoral Castle to vacation with the rest of the royal family in Scotland.
In episode three, Diana’s partner Dodi Fayed (played by Khalid Abdalla) surprises her with a quick trip to Paris, France. However, the princess is keen to return home to the United Kingdom, and is eager to speak to her sons over the phone. A mob of paparazzi following the couple delays Diana’s scheduled phone call with William and Harry, until she’s able to catch them again later that evening.
It is in this scene that The Crown depicts the doting mother’s final conversation with her sons.
William, then 15, and Harry, then 12, inquire over the phone when their mother will be coming back home from Paris. “I’m coming home tomorrow, and I’m seeing you both tomorrow night,” Diana replies in the episode, which also takes place on the same day as her fatal car crash later that evening. The boys then ask Diana whether she plans on marrying Dodi, considering their relationship has been plastered all over the tabloids.
“Well, you know better than to believe the papers,” she tells William, before adding: “I’m emphatically not going to marry Dodi. To be honest, I can’t wait to come home.”
When William sweetly asks his mother if she’s doing “okay”, Diana candidly tells her eldest son: “I’m okay. It’s just a bit mad here. I don’t really understand how I ended up here. Mummy just needs to make some changes to her life, that’s all. But that’s not your problem, that’s mine.”
Before saying their goodbyes, Diana reminds William and Harry that she will be seeing them the next day - although that day never comes. “I’ll see you both tomorrow night,” she says. “Just the three of us.”
The moment unsurprisingly tugged on the heartstrings of many viewers, who took to social media to share their thoughts on the devastating moment.
“The last phone call between Harry, William and Diana broke my heart,” one fan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“That precious phone call between Diana and her sons,” said someone else. “Don’t mind me, I’m just gonna cry in one corner.”
“The last call between Harry, William and Diana is heartbreaking,” a third user commented.
In both the series and in real-life, Diana and Dodi - along with their chauffeur, Henri Paul - were killed on 31 August 1997 when their Mercedes-Benz was pursued by paparazzi and crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. The mother of two was 36 years old.
The fatal car crash was recreated in the very first scene of season six. While the incident is not shown on-screen, a car carrying Diana and Dodi is seen speeding past a man walking his dog, before entering the tunnel. As the vehicle’s horn blares, he calls emergency services on his cell phone.
Australian actor Elizabeth Debicki, who took over the role of Diana from Emma Corrin in season five, admitted it was “difficult to recreate” the scene - especially with her character being hounded by the paparazzi. “It was heavy and very manic, and incredibly invasive. And it had a kind of pressure to it,” Debicki said in an interview with Netflix.
“At times it’s almost like an animalistic response to being pursued, by that many actors playing the press, because there’s nowhere you can go and you only have to be in a situation like that for about a minute, before you realise this is completely unbearable.”
The first four episodes of The Crown season six are available to stream on Netflix in the US and UK.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies