The Netflix series has faced a backlash for choosing to dramatise the tragic events of 1997, despite executives insisting the depiction has been done with the utmost sensitivity.
Elizabeth Debicki, 33, who plays the princess, said she found filming the scenes in the run-up to her death ‘heavy and very manic, and incredibly invasive’.
Speaking ahead of the launch of series six of the royal drama next week, she said: ‘It was difficult to recreate.
‘At times it’s almost like an animalistic response to being pursued, by that many actors playing the Press, because there’s nowhere you can go and you only have to be in a situation like that for about a minute before you realise this is completely unbearable.’
Recreation: The Crown’s Elizabeth Debicki has shed light on filming iconic Princess Diana scenes, including her wearing a blue swimsuit on a diving board
Iconic scene: One picture of the late Princess of Wales shows her wearing a turquoise swimsuit as she is poised elegantly on the edge of a diving board in Portofino
Doomed: Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed in The Crown
The Australian actress said that filming Diana’s final 24 hours had been ‘very demanding’, adding: ‘I think it’s going to be really interesting to see how people respond to the show.’
Elizabeth revealed the painstaking steps the Netflix show had taken to recreate it as closely as possible.
She said: ‘There was just something about that swimsuit and recreating that moment that felt very sacred, and it was very important we got it right.’
Jonathan Pryce, 76, who plays Prince Philip, said he ‘could not stop crying’ when director Christian Schwochow put together clips from the series for them to watch about Diana’s death.
He added: ‘Neither could the cameraman who’d filmed it or the director who’d shot it. It was an extraordinary moment. It was reliving waking up and listening to the radio.’
Fellow cast member Khalid Abdalla, 42, who plays Dodi Fayed, said he even walked the route taken by the car in which the couple died in the Alma tunnel to better ‘understand’ what happened.
The actor said: ‘There are all sorts of things that I have understood about the geography of what happened on that day that I didn’t understand before doing this, or until doing what I did as I walked the entire trajectory of the car down to the Alma tunnel, back and forward, to understand it.
‘It’s a huge responsibility, and I hope audiences, when they see it, feel that we have done it right and honoured how sensitive it is.’
Dodi’s father Mohamed Fayed, played by Salim Daw, is seen grieving in some scenes.
Young actor Fflyn Edwards, who plays Prince Harry, amazed the director Mr Schwochow with his ability to capture the emotion of the prince in the aftermath of his mother’s death.
Pursuit: Ms Debicki (pictured left) as Diana in Paris. Stars of The Crown have said they were reduced to tears shooting scenes surrounding the death of Princess Diana
Father: Salim Daw as Mohamed Fayed. Dodi’s father Mohamed Fayed, played by Salim Daw, is seen grieving in some scenes
‘For me in my directing career it was seeing this 12-year-old actor surrounded by a hundred extras, a hundred shooting crew and all these star actors and he just on the first take showed an emotion that just made us all stop breathing,’ said Mr Schwochow.
The Crown producers came under fire earlier this year when it emerged that they had shot scenes of the run-up to the crash, footage of a mangled car and Diana’s coffin.
The late princess will also appear as a ghost in an emotional reconciliation with a grieving Prince Charles, played by Dominic West.
Other series six storylines see Prince William trying to integrate into life at Eton in the wake of his mother’s death.
Elizabeth Debicki (pictured in April 2023), 33, who plays the princess, said she found filming the scenes in the run-up to her death ‘heavy and very manic, and incredibly invasive’
The Queen, played by Imelda Staunton, 67, reaches her Golden Jubilee and reflects on the future of the monarchy with the marriage of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.
Lesley Manville, 67, who reprises her role as Princess Margaret, said she understood some of the criticisms levelled at the Queen’s sister as she was a ‘spoiled princess’ who ‘didn’t do much to earn money’.
The first four episodes are released on November 16 and the rest on December 14.