Princess Diana’s friends aren’t happy with how she is portrayed in upcoming biopic Spencer

We’ve seen many on-screen portrayals of the late Princess Diana over the years, with both TV shows and movies revisiting her life and tragic death on 31 August, 1997. The latest is a highly anticipated Hollywood production titled, Spencer. Set to air on the big screen in November, the upcoming release sees Kristen Stewart as Diana Spencer and judging by the new full-length trailer, it could be a major award season hit.

The film is directed by Pablo Larraín, the genius Chilean filmmaker behind Jackie (2016) and Neruda (2016), which already tells us we’re in for a treat. Here’s everything else we know about Spencer so far…

Who will star in Spencer?

We all watched Emma Corrin’s phenomenal portrayal of Princess Diana in season four of The Crown, but the young actress is now passing on the baton to Kristen Stewart who as mentioned above, takes the role of Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother in the new biopic.

The first images of Stewart in character were released on 27 January, where the resemblance between the Twilight actress and the late royal was eerily uncanny. We were then given a second portrait shot in March before the official film poster was unveiled this week on 25 August, showing Stewart huddled into a corner in a giant white gown.

‘To do this well, you need something very important in film, which is a 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,’ director Larrain told Deadline. ‘As a filmmaker, when you have someone who can hold such a weight, dramatic and narrative weight just with her eyes, then you have the strong lead who can deliver what we are looking for.’

Kristen was clearly absorbed in her role as Diana. Speaking at the Venice Film Festival, she revealed just how much playing the late Princess affected her.

‘I took more pleasure in my physicality making this movie than I have on anything,’ she said. ‘I felt more free and alive and able to move — and taller, even.’

The actress went on to describe Princess Diana as sticking out like ‘a sparkly house on fire’.

‘I look at her, the pictures and fleeting video clips, and I feel the ground shakes and you don’t know what’s going to happen,’ Kristen continued.

‘There are some people endowed with an undeniable, penetrating energy. The really sad thing about her is that as normal and casual and disarming in her air [as Princess Diana is], immediately she also felt so isolated and lonely. She made everyone else feel accompanied and bolstered by this light and all she wanted was to have it back.’

Kristen Stewart and the Venice film festival for the Spencer film
Getty Images

Kristen Stewart was so inspired by her role that she also made donations to a number of Princess Diana’s charities, including the National AIDS Trust and Mines Advisory Group.

So far, we know that the rest of the cast is made up of Jack Farthing (best known as villain George Warleggan in Poldark) who will appear as Prince Charles, Thomas Douglas who has been cast as Diana’s father, Earl John Spencer and German actress Olga Hellsing, who is set to make her big-screen debut as the Duchess of York. Timothy Spall (from The Shape of Water) has been cast as Major Alistar Gregory.

What is Spencer about?

The movie will focus on the breakup between Princess Diana and Prince Charles, particularly surrounding a weekend at Sandringham. Unlike most biopics, Spencer is zoning in on a very small part of Diana’s life, giving us all the dramatized detail of three very turbulent days over Christmas 1992. Diana and her family are staying at Sandringham (a well-known royal tradition) across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, when she realises that her marriage is falling apart and her journey in line to the throne needs to come to an end.

You can watch the full-length trailer here (prepare to get goosebumps!):

After production company Neon shared the trailer on Instagram, many were astounded by Kristen’s performance.

‘Kristen Stewart coming for that Best Actress Oscar,’ one person wrote.

Someone else commented: ‘OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I never thought that 2 minutes trailer could give me goosebumps and heart attack. Can’t wait to see it on big screen.’

Talking about the plot, director Pablo Larraín explained: ‘We decided to get into a story about identity, and around how a woman decides somehow, not to be the queen. She’s a woman who, in the journey of the movie, decides and realises that she wants to be the woman she was before she met Charles.’

He continued: ‘The key is how she discovers during the process of the movie that what she really needs to do is be who she wants to be. And by that, it doesn’t mean she needs to be next to anyone, to be part of anything, but herself and her own children.’

One of the screenwriters behind Spencer, Stephen Knight, has spoken out about some of the film’s most shocking scenes. He said: ‘All the things in the film that seem least believable are true.’

He went on to explain to The Telegraph that his research into the film wasn’t only based on books and documentaries, but that he also spoke to people who were actually present at Sandringham over the weekend in question.

An example given by the writer is the weighing ritual, which is a Sandringham tradition where everyone is weighed at the beginning and end of their visit, to see how much weight they’ve put on during their stay.

However, some of Princess Diana’s friends have spoken out about how their friend is portrayed in the movie and they’re not happy, saying Diana would have been ‘horrified’ by the portrayal.

Speaking to The Telegraph, royal biographer Ingrid Seward, a previous interviewer of Diana who is thought to have known her well, said: ‘They’ve piled every bad thing into one weekend which is taking poetic license a little far.’

‘She would not want to be remembered as someone who was destructive towards the monarchy. She said to me that the monarchy was her sons’ future so she would never try to destroy it.

She continued: ‘She would be very sad that people think she and Charles never loved each other, that wasn’t true. She’d be horrified at the way she’s portrayed now.’

Make up artist Mary Greenwell, who worked for many years with the Princess, added: ‘She’s now seen as this kind of martyr, which I think is wrong.’

‘She did amazing things, but she’s misunderstood.’

‘All I’d say is that the portrayals you see now are not the best way to understand her. She wouldn’t want to be on this pedestal with all this glory and fame.’

When will Spencer be released?

Spencer is set to be released in cinemas on Friday 5 November.