The entire Actresses Who’ve Performed the Inimitable Princess Diana By the Years

In the upcoming film Spencer, which aims to get beneath the surface and re-humanize the iconic People’s Princess, Stewart may be the first actress to play Diana who actually has firsthand experience of the sort of paparazzi mob that the Princess of Wales faced off against regularly.

Addressing the question of how in the world do you get a thing like that right, Stewart said on Jimmy Kimmel Live in November, “I mean, everyone’s perspective is different and there’s no way to get anything right because what is fact in relation to personal experience? My movie takes place over, like, three days, and it’s this, like, really poetic internal imagining of what that might have felt like rather than giving, like, new information. So, we kind of don’t have a mark to hit. We just also love her.”

Director Pablo Larraín called Stewart “one of the great actors around today,” telling Deadline in June, “To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is mystery. Kristen can be many things, and she can be very mysterious and very fragile and ultimately very strong as well, which is what we need. The combination of those elements made me think of her.”

Similar to his 2016 film Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy navigating the days following her husband’s assassination, Spencer will focus on a few pivotal days in Diana’s life in 1992 when she had to decide what to do as her marriage to Prince Charles continued its irreversible downward spiral. 

Stewart was only 7 when Diana died, but she remembers seeing on TV the field of flowers that mourners left in front of Kensington Palace. “I’ve never seen so many in one place,” the Twilight star recalled to Jimmy Kimmel. “I was really young, didn’t really know what was going on. But now, it’s hard not to feel protective over her.”

Portman was nominated for an Oscar (and every other award). If Stewart garners such honors, it will certainly be a first for a Diana movie, none of them so far having been able to rise to the occasion that the late royal’s hauntingly powerful—and, yes, inimitably scandalous—story remains to this day.

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