Fans who have already binge-watched the latest season of Netflix series The Crown may not have long to wait until season 6, as the cast has already begun filming.
Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West star as Princess Diana and Prince Charles in Season 5, which charts the public disintegration of their marriage.
In the TV depiction, Charles’ affair with Camilla, now the Queen Consort, brings scandal to the royal family through a biography that Diana contributed to by royal author Andrew Morton.
Both royals do sit down TV interviews and ultimately divorce in 1996, but the show stops in summer of 1997 while Princess Diana is about to depart for a vacation.
In reality, she was less than two months away from the tragedy that took her life in a Paris car crash that August.
Who is Dodi Fayed? Princess Diana’s Lover Who Died Alongside Her
That July Diana had just broken up with heart surgeon boyfriend Hasnat Khan and started dating Dodi Fayed, son of businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed.
The Crown shows the Harrods owner inviting the princess to St Tropez for “sunshine and shopping and the big new yacht.”
The Crown Season 5 ends with Diana smelling a child’s baseball cap, suggesting she is missing William and Harry, while she packs for the holiday.
Dodi Fayed proposes to another woman while his father waits on board the boat for the arrival of his guests.
In real life, Diana brought Prince William and Prince Harry along to St Tropez in mid-July, but her boys then joined King Charles III and the royal family for their annual summer holiday in Balmoral, Scotland.
Diana, meanwhile, had a whirlwind summer romance which in the aftermath of her death was rumored to include talk of marriage, though some have argued the relationship was a fling for the princess and would have disintegrated when she returned to Britain.
Following St Tropez, she went on another cruise on al-Fayed’s yacht, The Jonikal, before the events that took her life began with a visit to The Ritz in Paris.
Prince William and Harry’s Last Phone Call With Diana
On the 20-year anniversary of her death in 1997, William and Harry described how they had a final phone call with their mother in August while she was in France with Dodi during ITV documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy.
Harry said: “I can’t really remember what I said, but all I do remember is, probably, you know, regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was.
“And if I’d known that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother, the things that I would have said to her.
“Looking back on it now, it’s incredibly hard. I have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life.
“Not knowing that that was the last time I was going to speak to my mum, and how differently that conversation would have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling that, you know, that her life was going to be taken that night.”
Prince William said: “Harry and I were running about, playing with our cousins and having a very good time.
“I think Harry and I were just in a desperate rush to say goodbye, see you later and we’re going to go off.
“If I’d known now, obviously, what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else. But, erm, that call sticks in my mind quite, quite heavily.”
Asked whether he recalled what he said, the prince replied “I do, I do,” but did not divulge the content.
Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed Killed in Paris Car Crash
On the night they died, Diana and Dodi were attempting to outwit a pack of photographers waiting outside the Ritz Hotel where they had dinner.
A plan was devised to send their main vehicle out without them in it in the hope the paparazzi would all follow the decoy, leaving them free to escape in another car.
However, some photographers stayed back and pursued the princess and her new boyfriend as they departed the hotel in a Mercedes S280, driven by Henri Paul, who was acting head of security at the Ritz.
Paul had been drinking at a Paris bar when he was called back to work to be the back-up driver, having already clocked off earlier in the night.
Diana and Dodi were not wearing seatbelts when Paul lost control in the run-up to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel and hit the 13th pillar.
Dodi and Paul were pronounced dead at the scene. Diana was resuscitated and taken to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris but died at 4 a.m.
Trevor Rees-Jones was seriously injured but survived, though his head injuries meant he has no memories of the crash.
Aftermath of Princess Diana’s Death
In the immediate aftermath, the royals were criticized for remaining in Scotland while the nation mourned and a debate developed in the media about whether Buckingham Palace should fly the royal standard at half-mast. By tradition, it only flies when the monarch is in residence.
A now famous front page of The Sun newspaper read: “Where is our Queen? Where is her flag?”
Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a famous tribute in which he referred to Diana as “the people’s princess.” Queen Elizabeth II and immediate family members ultimately returned to London.
She was photographed inspecting a sea of floral tributes, Harry and William were made to walk behind Diana’s coffin at her funeral and Diana’s brother Charles Spencer eulogy contained a swipe at the both the media and the monarchy.
He said: “It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this—a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.
“She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate and I do this here Diana on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.
“And beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned.”