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‘The Princess’ Trailer Captures Diana’s Turbulent Life in a Storm of Media Footage

Rolling Stone logo Rolling Stone 7/27/2022 Althea Legaspi
© courtesy of HBO

HBO has shared the official trailer for its highly-anticipated documentary, The Princess, which chronicles the tumultuous public and private life of Princess Diana.

The new clip offers a compelling look at the film’s archival-heavy approach as it examines the media and the British public’s obsessive adoration and vilification of Diana, as well as the tension between the so-called “People’s Princess” and the old, conservative institution that is the British monarchy. There are also some insights into her turbulent marriage with Prince Charles, no more strikingly captured than in the trailer’s first clip, an old interview in which Charles recalls his first impression of his future wife: “I remember thinking what a very jolly, and amusing, and attractive 16-year-old she was.”

The Princess originally premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January. As Rolling Stone’s David Fear wrote in his review, the use of archival footage was a “stroke of genius.”

“It was the media, after all, that helped coronate her as the ‘People’s Princess,’ showing the world an actual fallible human being living among royals that seemed to treat human behavior like a luxury or a liability. It was the media that documented how the public loved her, sometimes in the most ironic and extreme ways (see: a news interview with a National Front skinhead giddily waiting to get a Charles & Di tattoo on the day of their wedding).”

“It was the media that constantly cut her down, held her under a microscope, blinded her with a spotlight then bitched about her holding a press conference in which she begged to be left alone,” Rolling Stone’s review reads. “And it was the media who declared the Princess of Wales’ love story to be ‘the stuff that fairy tales are made of’ and then become the ogre at her door. They were her judge, jury and yes, executioner.”

Rather than approaching the film as a documentary that traces her early life, the new project scrutinizes the spectacle that inundated her life once she was famous. And while it might have been “a reflection of society at the time” as the film’s press release states, the documentary also questions if “anything really changed” a quarter of a century after her tragic death.

The Princess will make its HBO debut on Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. ET, marking the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death on Aug. 31. It will also stream on HBO Max the same day.

This story was updated July 27 at 4:00 p.m. ET with a trailer for The Princess.

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Video: New documentary 'The Princess' immerses audiences in Diana's story (Reuters)

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