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A new documentary on Princess Diana aims to examine how the late royal coped with public life before her tragic passing.
On Wednesday, HBO released a trailer for the Ed Perkins-directed documentary titled “The Princess,” which will premiere on Aug. 13. The film promises to explore Diana’s struggles in the spotlight, her doomed marriage to Prince Charles, and how the non-stop paparazzi frenzy contributed to her sudden death on Aug. 31, 1997.
Diana passed away from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash. At the time, the 36-year-old was being chased by photographers.
“Intensely emotional, ‘The Princess’ is a visceral submersion into Diana’s life in the constant and often intrusive glare of the media spotlight,” said HBO in a statement. “The film unfolds as if it were in the present, allowing viewers to experience the overwhelming adoration, but also the intense scrutiny of Diana’s every move and the constant judgment of her character. Through archival material, the film is also a reflection of society at the time, revealing the public’s own preoccupations, fears, aspirations and desires.”
The trailer begins with Diana and Charles’ engagement interview. At the time, the pair were asked about their first impressions of each other.
“I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was,” Charles is heard saying. “I don’t know what you thought of me…”
“Pretty amazing,” Diana chimed.
The trailer captures clips of Diana being mobbed by crowds and hounded by photographers as Charles realized he’s “taking second place,” as one reporter put it. The film also reveals the backlash Diana endured as her popularity grew. One person is heard saying, “She has a sick mind,” while another said, “She likes to be bloody well watched.”
At one point, Diana is seen putting her hand over a camera lens. The trailer then shows Prince William and Prince Harry as carefree boys before they eventually lose their mother and have to walk behind her coffin in public.
“When you put a modern person in an ancient institution, they will be destroyed,” someone is heard saying.
“The Princess” premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. It will air on HBO and HBO MAX.
Many saw Diana as a young mother wronged by a privileged older husband’s refusal to give up his lifelong mistress, even though the princess admitted to affairs of her own.
HOW DID PRINCESS DIANA DIE? A LOOK AT THE TRAGIC CAR ACCIDENT THAT TOOK THE LIFE OF THE BELOVED ROYAL
Refusing to fit the Windsor mold, she sought new ways to cope with fabulous wealth, worldwide fame and sky-high expectations. She reached out and touched AIDS patients – a taboo at the time – and traveled to former combat zones to highlight the dangers land mines posed to civilians.
Many believed they could relate to her when she recounted her battles with bulimia and talked openly of her disappointment and loneliness.
Some remember her for bringing a refreshing informality to the royal family –– for example, taking young William and Harry in 1993 to Thorpe Park, a popular amusement center near London, where they squealed and screamed along with everyone else on the water rides.
The depth of the public’s affection for the princess was crystallized in the days after her death when tens of thousands of mourners paid tribute to Diana by placing flowers outside London’s Kensington Palace, where she had lived. An estimated 2.5 billion people watched her funeral globally.
William, 40, is second in line to the throne. Harry, 37, resides in California with his wife Meghan Markle and their children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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