All the key details The Crown missed out in the BBC Panorama interview with Princess Diana
The Crown’s version was a lot less harsh
The Crown is known for its dramatised takes on the history of the Royal Family and it often misses out key moments that happened for viewers’ pleasure. One of the most famous moments in Royal Family history is the BBC Panorama interview Princess Diana did with Martin Bashir in 1995. In the fifth installment of the series, viewers see how Bashir managed to convince the princess into giving the interview and the backlash that followed. However, there are a lot of key details that did not get featured in The Crown. Here are all the key differences in The Crown’s Martin Bashir and Princess Diana interview:
Content warning: Discussion of self-harm, eating disorders and depression.
When talking about Diana’s post-natal depression, The Crown removed a lot of what she actually said
In The Crown’s version of the interview, Martin Bashir asked Princess Diana about the moment she gave birth to William, saying it must’ve been “a very happy moment”. During the scene, Diana said: “When William was born, I became unwell with postnatal depression. I just wanted to stay in bed all day. I was in a very dark place.” Bashir then asked if the princess asked for help, to which she responded: “I suppose if you’re the first person in a family to ever feel low, then it’s pretty hard to get the support that you need, so you suffer alone.”
However, in the actual interview, the conversation was slightly different. Like in The Crown, Bashir asked how the Royal Family reacted when they found out Charles and Diana would be having a boy. Princess Diana said everyone was “thrilled to bits”, and soon went into deep detail about her battle with postnatal depression. She said: “It had been quite a difficult pregnancy, I hadn’t been very well throughout it. So by the time William arrived it was a great relief because it was all peaceful again.
“Then I was unwell with postnatal depression, which no one ever discusses. Postnatal depression you have to read about it afterwards and that in itself was a difficult time. You’d wake up in the morning, feeling you didn’t want to get out of bed. You felt misunderstood and just very very low in yourself.”
In the real-life interview, Bashir asked if the way Princess Diana was feeling was “out of character”, to which she agreed it was. “I never had a depression in my life. But then when I analysed it I could see that the changes I’d made in the last year had all caught up with me and my body said ‘we want a rest’,” she said.
One major similarity to the actual interview and The Crown’s version, was Diana’s response to Bashir asking about the Royal Family’s reaction to her depression. In the real-life interview, she said: “Well maybe I was the first person ever to be in this family who ever had a depression or was ever openly tearful. And obviously that was daunting because if you’d never seen it before how do you support it?”
The Crown changed Diana’s response to Bashir asking her how her postnatal depression impacted her marriage
Martin Bashir asked Princess Diana what impact her illness had on her marriage to Prince Charles, and The Crown changed it considerable amounts. In The Crown’s version, Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki, said: “Well it gave people a marvellous new label to pin on me. ‘Diana’s crazy and should be sent to a home.’ But what better way to break down a personality than by isolating it?” In the real BBC Panorama interview, Diana actually said: “It gave everybody a wonderful new label. ‘Diana’s unstable and Diana’s mentally unbalanced.’ And unfortunately that seems to have stuck on and off over the years.”
The Crown took out Princess Diana talking about her battle with bulimia and her mental health
Princess Diana suffered with bulimia throughout an extended period, and she spoke about it at length in the BBC interview, however it was not covered in The Crown’s version. In the actual BBC interview, Diana also speaks about times she self-harmed herself, but this was not included in The Crown episode.
In the real interview, Bashir asked Diana: “According to press reports, it was suggested that it was around this time things became so difficult that you actually tried to injure yourself. Is that true?” Diana responded: “When no one listens to you or you feel no one is listening to you all sorts of things start to happen. For instance you have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help, but it’s the wrong help you’re asking for. People see it as crying wolf or attention seeking and they think because you’re in the media all the time, you’ve got enough attention, inverted commas.
“But I was actually crying out because I wanted to get better in order to go forward and continue my duty and my role as wife, mother, Princess of Wales. So yes, I did inflict upon myself. I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn’t cope with the pressure.”
Diana shared that she would “hurt” her arms and legs and could empathise with women going through the same thing. Bashir later asked about her battle with bulimia. Princess Diana shared she had the eating disorder “for a number of years”, and described it as “a secret disease” that you inflict upon yourself “because your self esteem is at a low ebb and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable”.
Diana described her bulimia as “a symptom” of the issues in her marriage to Charles, and called it her “escape mechanism”. She said: “I was crying out for help but giving the wrong signals and people were using my bulimia as a coat on a hanger. They decided that was the problem – Diana was unstable.” When asked if she reached out to any members of the Royal Family for help, Diana said she didn’t because people thought it was just wasting food.
“You have to know that when you have bulimia, you’re very ashamed of yourself and you hate yourself and people think you’re wasting food so you don’t discuss it with people. And the thing about bulimia is your weight always stays the same whereas with anorexia you visibly shrink. So you can pretend the whole way through. There’s no proof,” she said.
The conversation surrounding Diana’s belief if Charles would be King, was very different in the real Panorama interview
One of the differences in The Crown’s Martin Bashir and Princess Diana interview is when Bashir asked Diana if she believed Charles would be King. In the show, she said: “Well who knows what fate will bring? It’s a very demanding and suffocating role, and Charles was always conflicted about it. Because I know him so well, I would think that the top job would put big limits on him and I’m not sure how he would cope with that.”
However, in the real interview, Diana had a very different response. When asked if she thought Charles would ever be King, Diana replied: “I don’t think any of us know the answer to that. And obviously it’s a question that’s in everybody’s head. But who knows? Who knows what fate will produce? Who knows what circumstances will provoke? There was always conflict on that subject with him when we discussed it and I understood that conflict because it’s a very demanding role – being Prince of Wales – but it’s equally more demanding role being King.
“And being Prince of Wales produces more freedom now, being King would be a little more suffocating. And because I know the character, I would that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him and I don’t know whether he could adapt to that.”
Princess Diana revealed in the real BBC Panorama interview that she did not want a separation from Charles
One moment of the interview that was not covered in The Crown, was Princess Diana’s thoughts towards her and Charles’ separation. Martin Bashir asked about Diana’s feelings about the legal separation, to which she said she felt “deep profound sadness”. “We had struggled to keep going but obviously we’d both run out of steam and in a way I suppose it could have been a relief for us both that we’d finally made our minds up. But my husband asked for the separation and I supported it,” she replied.
She shared that it was not her idea to separate and that she came from a divorced background and “didn’t want to go back into one again.” Princess Diana claimed she asked Charles to put the announcement of their separation out before their children came back home from school for the Christmas holidays, because “they were protected in the school they were at”. Diana said: “He did that and it came out on December 9th. I was on an engagement up north. I heard it on the radio and it was just very very sad. Really sad. The fairy tale had come to an end and most importantly our marriage had taken a turn, a different turn.”
Princess Diana’s response to if she thought she’d ever be Queen was changed a lot in The Crown’s version of the interview
Another one of the key differences in The Crown’s Martin Bashir and Princess Diana interview is Diana’s response to if she thought she’d ever be Queen was very different a lot shorter to what she’d actually said. In Netflix’s version, she said: “I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts, in people’s hearts. But I don’t envisage myself ever being Queen of this country. No. I don’t think many people would call for that. When I say people, I mean those at the top, on my husband’s side, because they’ve decided that I’m an issue. Full stop. A liability. But someone’s got to go out onto the streets, give the people the love that they need.”
In the real interview, Diana went into even more detail as to why she thought she would never be Queen. When asked if she thought she would, she simply said: “No I don’t, no.” “I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts, in people’s hearts. But I don’t see myself ever being Queen of this country. I don’t think many people will want me to be Queen. Actually, when I say many people I mean the establishment that I married into, because they have decided that I am a non-starter,” Diana responded.
Martin Bashir asked why she thought “the establishment” decided she was a “non-starter”, and she replied that she does things differently, and doesn’t “go by a rule book”. Diana said: “Because I lead from the heart, not the head and albeit that’s got me into trouble in my work, I understand that. But someone’s got to go out there and love people and show it.”
You can watch her response here.
The Crown season five is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.
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Featured image credit via Netflix.