Just as Prince Charles plucked a shy kindergarten assistant from the ranks of the great unknown to be his bride, Netflix has cast a newcomer to play the doomed Princess Diana in hit series The Crown.
Emma Corrin is so new to showbiz that she doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry and her age is unknown. When news of her casting broke, she had just 60 Instagram followers.
Corrin’s official IMDb page lists only three career credits to date, including a blink-and-miss-it role on TV rural potboiler Grantchester and big screen drama Misbehaviour, in which she’ll play a beauty queen in the 1970 Miss World pageant.
Just who would be tapped for the plum but fraught role of the royal family’s most glamorous renegade has been hotly anticipated by fans of The Crown.
On Tuesday (US time) Netflix ended the wait, crowning “brilliant talent” Corrin – who will reportedly also star in Epix series Pennyworth – as its Lady Di.
The actress “captivated us when she came in for the part of Diana Spencer,” The Crown creator Peter Morgan said in a statement.
“As well as having the innocence and beauty of a young Diana, she also has, in abundance, the range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman who went from anonymous teenager to becoming the most iconic woman of her generation.”
Morgan has previously hinted Diana might make her debut on The Crown in the upcoming third series. But filming won’t begin until later this year.
Corrin herself — whose 10 Instagram posts show she likes cat videos, takes part in marches and has a dog – said she won’t be seen in the tragic aristocrat’s wool vests and upflicked hair until next season.
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“Beyond excited and honoured to be joining The Crown for its fourth season,” the actress said in her own statement.
“I have been glued to the show since the first episode and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is just surreal.
“Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. I will strive to do her justice!”
Her casting met with mixed reaction on social media. Twitter users noted she looked more like Jodie Foster and Tatum O’Neal than Diana.
While Diana’s 1977 fateful meeting with Prince Charles – to be played by Josh O’Connor – won’t be on our screens in 2019, her real-life love rival Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell) will.
The Crown’s casting director Nina Gold spoke last year about the difficulty in casting actors to play characters like Diana and Camilla.
“There are so many tiny, intangible signifiers of class and status that we don’t even realise,” Gold told Vanity Fair, about the royal family’s retro diction, posture and manners.
“In the ’60s and even ’70s, the class distinctions were more extreme than they are now. The way the Queen and the royal family and the people around them sounded in the ’60s … if you were to hear them speak now, it would sound way too much.
“But we need actors who can speak that way and embrace it, so it sounds authentic coming from them. It’s a pretty difficult balance.”
Corrin joins 2019 best actress Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite), who takes over from Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth.
Outlander’s Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip and Helena Bonham-Carter replaces Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret.