Season 4 of The Crown premiered in November and really breathed a new life into the series after nearly a year away from fans. It also introduced the much-anticipated arrival of Lady Diana, played by Emma Corrin. Since this season takes place when she’s a teen and just meeting Prince Charles, it shows her naivete and slowly shows how she’s thrown into the spotlight and shaped into the Lady Di people around the world all knew and loved.
And, unfortunately, it showed the increasing anxieties she faced behind the scenes and how it hardened her a bit. Which leads, perfectly, into the end of the season and into Season 5, which is going to switch over to Elizabeth Debicki’s portrayal of the late Lady Diana in the ‘90s.
But for Corrin’s credit, she captured the youthfulness of Diana perfectly. Including one scene in particular, early on, where Diana is dancing before one of her ballet lessons. And in order for Corrin to really lose herself in the moment, she had something a little different playing off-camera. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Crown Season 4].
‘The Crown’ Season 4 showed young Diana, including some of her education and dance lessons
Why Emma Corrin Prefers Playing ‘Younger’ Princess Diana on ‘The Crown’
It’s a The Crown tradition that every two seasons, the cast changes to show the time jump in the royal family. And while the whole family didn’t change this season, Corrin came in as Diana Spencer, the teen sister to Sarah who Prince Charles was sort of seeing. But then things didn’t work out because he was still preoccupied with Camilla Parker Bowles, and Diana caught his attention again. The rest is somewhat history as they became engaged when Diana was 19 and married by 20.
But still, for most of the season, Corrin plays a younger Princess Diana, which she loved.
“I actually love my plot line, because I have the biggest attachment to young Diana,” Corrin told Vanity Fair on Dec. 14. “I love her so much—I think, to be honest, because the younger Diana was very undocumented. She was sort of mine to create.”
And in an earlier episode, Diana is shown taking dance lessons, which is something that did happen in real-life as well. As Corrin explained in a British GQ interview where she broke down some of her scenes, dancing was a way Diana expressed herself.
In the scene during the third episode, which Benjamin Caron directed, Diana has gotten engaged and then married by the end, and she’s going through a lot of emotions. Including the fact that Prince Charles isn’t as into the engagement as she might have thought he was before. She also pieces together more of the Camilla situation here too.
In a scene where Lady Diana loses herself dancing, Emma Corrin actually danced to a Cher song behind-the-scenes
So during one of her lessons, before her ballet teacher shows, she just starts dancing and lets loose. She starts losing control to an Elton John song in the episode, and initially, Caron wanted to have it choreographed. He wanted Corrin to “let the music take” her. But Corrin didn’t think she could authentically lose herself in the music if it was planned out.
“I thought about it, and I said, ‘Is it ok if we don’t choreograph anything, because I really want to just like, completely lose it,” she explained in the GQ video. “I just really don’t think I can choreograph that. If you want me to actually find that.’”
She also wanted to pick the song to dance to at that moment. She knew that it might not make it in the cut for copyright issues, but she wanted to go with it anyway.
“I was actually dancing to Cher, ‘Do You Believe.’ So if you play that over this, that’s what I’m dancing to,” she shared. “They had these huge speakers, and they were just pumping Cher into this massive ballroom, and I just danced for three minutes without stopping. And I remember I fell to the floor and I felt ecstatic. And everyone was like, ‘Oh my god, I want to do that, that looked so much fun.’”
But then the director had to tell her to do it again because she kept mouthing the lyrics as she danced, and, again, they didn’t have the rights to the song and wouldn’t be able to put it into the final cut.
“It was the saddest thing ever, because I had really gone for it and danced for three minutes,” Corrin said. “But I just kept being like, ‘Do you believe!?’”
Princess Diana really did love ballet in real life
There’s always questions with each passing season about how authentic it is, and how close to reality The Crown is to the truth. While dialogue and direct conversations are hard to pinpoint along with real people’s opinions on matters, certain things are just facts. And Lady Diana’s love for dancing was one of them.
According to Classic FM, The Telegraph spoke with Wayne Sleep, the man who danced with Princess Diana during her real-life “Uptown Girl” performance, which was also in the show. He’s also a well-known British dancer who performed with the Royal Ballet. He touched on the fact that the late Lady Di loved to dance.
“She was very good and very musical,” Sleep said, referring to what he knew of her at the time they worked together in 1985. “She had been taking dance classes somewhere off the Talgarth Road [in west London].”
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