The Crown on Diana’s Final Weeks & Her Tragic End | Season 6 Part 1

The first episode of The Crown’s final season opens with an ominous glimpse at the dark moment that has been hanging over the series since the very first episode. When it was confirmed that the series would indeed continue covering events through the end of the last millennium and into this one, people began to wonder about how the team were going to cover an event as traumatic as the death of Princess Diana. In the first four episodes of season 6, the show paints a touching, insightful picture of the weeks leading up to the crash – covering not only the drama but the human elements that made Diana so beloved in the first place. So let’s analyze these four episodes and figure out what this fictionalized retelling has to say about Diana, Charles, the Queen, and the rest of the royal family; Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed; and the impact Diana and her passing had on the royal family and the world at large.

CH 1: Diana Finding Her Footing In Freedom

The Crown has always been rather nuanced with its take on all of the royal family, including Princess Diana. While, given her immense popularity and beloved memory, it would have been easy to just showcase her as an angel on Earth, the show has always instead chosen to present her as a real human being, problems and all. In these four episodes, Diana is in some ways more free than we’ve seen her before – whether she’s singing along to Tumbthumping in the car with Prince William or playing a prank, her light, playful side has clearly not been crushed by the drama surrounding the divorce. These episodes allow us a heartwarming view of Diana as a mom, working to create private moments of fun and normalcy for her boys even in the midst of chaos. But many of the issues plaguing her in previous seasons still remain even a year after leaving the royal family. This is both the result of outside pressures – the world wanting to know what Diana’s next move is, the Royal family still feeling like they should have some control over her because of her status as mother of the future king – but also because of Diana’s own inner issues that she’s still working through.

The show explores the ways in which Diana’s need for attention causes her to amplify the problems she’s already facing. She is, understandably, exhausted by the constant media scrutiny around her life and choices. But she also clearly does – up to a point – seem to have an underlying drive to seek out that same attention, even though she knows it’s bad for her. But Diana is clearly aware of this issue, and has begun trying to work on it – but these kinds of deep seeded compulsions can be very difficult to overcome. This push and pull between wanting to be able to bask in the spotlight while simultaneously desiring a private life is a major battle for Diana in these episodes. She’s at first more than willing to play along, but as the paparazzi pressure begins to ratchet up more and more, and her life becomes more and more constricted, watched, and scrutinized to an degree even greater than when she was a royal, and it begins to take its toll in a new way. But Pandora’s box has already been opened, and no matter how hard Diana tries to escape, the eyes of the world always manage to follow.

We do get to see how she, just like in real life, decided to try to use all of this attention for good, to help others even when she couldn’t help herself. Post-divorce, Diana had become unmoored, unsure of where exactly she fit into the world. But at the point we meet her in episode one, she has begun taking concrete steps to continue her charitable work. Her work up to this point had already had a global impact and she sought to continue on with it even though she was no longer a royal. In episode two, we see her trip to Bosnia in support of the Landmine Survivors Network, which in real life became one of her most well-remembered charity outings as images of the People’s Princess walking across a minefield covered newspapers around the world and helped wake people up to the dangers these landmines still posed.

CH 2: Twin Gilded Cages

Most of Diana’s storyline in these four episodes, though, centers around her relationship with film producer and Harrod’s heir Dodi Fayed, and his father Mohamed, who Diana affectionately calls Mou-mou. The show leans into the long-standing rumor that Mohamed engineered the pair’s entire relationship, which he and those close to him have always denied. For most of these episodes, Mohamed exists as a background villain, pulling the strings behind the scenes and constantly calling his son to push him to accelerate the relationship. While Diana was seeking to escape the institution of the royal family and British high society, the show posits that Mohamed was desperate to break into it – to the point that he was willing to manipulate his son into completely undoing his entire life just to try to marry Diana. In addition to dragging Dodi away from his fiance (in real life Dodi was allegedly engaged to Victoria’s Secret Model Kelly Fisher when he met Diana, though his family has denied that the pair were still together at that point) the show even puts forward the idea that it was Mohamed who called the paparazzi that took the infamous boat kiss picture.

In real life, those close to Diana have noted that her fling with Dodi really just seemed to be a ploy to make her real true love, surgeon Hasnat Khan, jealous after the pair split up earlier that summer (and it has been suggested that she was the one that told the paparazzi where to find her for the kiss photo to this end.) On the show, Diana and Dodi’s relationship does feel more like a friendship than a true romance – they laugh together and relax around one another, and they find common ground when they open up about their issues with their fathers. While Diana’s father was always aloof, causing her to act out in an attempt to get his attention, Mohamed was overbearing, suffocating Dodi by trying to micromanage his life. Each sees the other as having it better, Dodi noting that at least Diana’s father wasn’t constantly crushing her, Diana pointing out that at least Mohamed seems to care about Dodi at all. Both have been deeply hurt by their father’s treatment, and now as adults are starting to come to understand just how much this has molded their behavior. In the private conversations between the two that the show imagines, we see how these factors give them a sense of shared understanding. While Diana clearly finds Dodi’s drive to speedrun their relationship annoying, she also seems to get why he’s so hellbent on following his father’s orders even at his own (and her own) expense. We also see Diana and Charles come to a sort of truce – both at happier, freer points in their lives, they now have the common ground of wanting to focus on William and Harry’s happiness above all else. Though this certainly wasn’t the end of their back and forth in the press, it does feel like the start of a new page for the pair that could have eventually led to an end to their battles and a level of peace between the two sides.

As the episodes go on, the paparazzi fervor grows more and more fierce – the bidding war for the boat kiss photos sparked a new level of hunger in the photogs hoping that they too could get a major payday for the right photo. In episode three, Diana and Dodi are literally chased through the streets, first by fans and then by paparazzi. Then it all reaches its apex when the pair arrive in Paris for what was only supposed to be a one-day stopover before heading back to England. After being hounded every time they so much as step outside, the pair decide to have dinner at the Ritz, which was owned by Dodi’s father and so a place they could be safe from intrusion. Though even here they weren’t totally free from prying eyes – when they attempt to sit down to have dinner, everyone in the restaurant has stopped to gawk at them, to the point of causing Diana to break down. Once they’re safe in their room, Dodi goes through with his father’s wish and attempts to propose to Diana – but she immediately puts an end to it and points out what a silly idea it is. But instead of leading to a fight or some other drama, they actually sit down for dinner and have a very honest, loving conversation. They, in the way that only friends can, point out the personal flaws that the other is trying to avoid that is making them miserable – Dodi trying too hard to please his father at all costs, Diana trying to rush into the next phase of her life. When Mohamed interrupts their conversation with a call to see if Dodi proposed, Dodi isn’t quite able to go through with actually breaking from his father in the way Diana suggests. He later comes clean about this, and Diana laughs that she knew he didn’t really do it, but encourages him that he will be able to one day. Though a U.K. police report did confirm that Dodi had purchased an engagement ring, there’s no definitive proof that he did actually propose that night. Of course, their conversation, like the entire rest of the show, is just a fictionalized imaging of what could have been. But it does provide some small amount of comfort to imagine that Diana did get to have this heartfelt conversation and moment of connection before what came next.

CH 3: A Farewell To An Icon

This sweet moment between the pair happens just before they leave the Ritz for the final time, heading out on that fateful drive through Paris. Though they attempted to trick the paparazzi with decoy cars, they’re spotted leaving and chased through the streets. Audiences have long wondered how the show would deal with Diana’s death, which became such a spectacle in real life. And the creative team’s answer was to focus not on the event itself, but the emotions around it. The crash, thankfully, occurs off-screen (though we do hear the horrible screech of metal.) As more and more people hear the news, from the medical staff waiting outside the operating room to the palace staff to Diana and Dodi’s closest family members, the audio cuts in and out, replicating the lack of ability to fully comprehend information that can come from such a great shock. The information sends a shockwave around the world, and the outpouring of sadness and confusion begins immediately.

As he arrives at the scene of his son’s death, we can hear Mohamed’s previously boisterous and self-assured shell break as he recites a prayer, and he shatters completely at the sight of his son’s body in the morgue. At Balmoral, Charles is broken by the news, while the other senior royals seem more or less unmoved outside of their concern for William and Harry. The show has worked to shed a different light on Charles and Diana’s relationship than the one that played out in the press, and it’s in the scenes away from the eyes of the public where we see Charles able to display his immense grief. As on the show, the real-life royals were chastised for being too aloof and cold when the nation was grieving after Diana’s death, and The Crown uses Charles to help voice these concerns. Not only is he upset about her death, when he goes to Paris to retrieve her body he sees firsthand how upended everyone is by the news – and he realizes that it’s important for the family, and the Queen in particular, to be there for the people. Even if Diana was “out”, and the Queen so pointedly noted in the first episode of the season, she had touched the hearts of everyone in the country, and now those hearts were bleeding. The Queen and Prince Phillip watch the public mourning unfolding on television and hear the cries that she’s abandoning the country, but are for a while convinced that the best course of action is to ignore it and hope it blows over. Their move toward isolation is contrasted with Mohamed joining in grieving with his community at the funeral for his son. The royals do eventually travel to London for the funeral, but even here – in the Queen’s televised speech and the funeral procession – the people, the grieving community, are kept at a distance.

One rather odd artistic choice the show makes is to have both Diana and Dodi reappear after their deaths as sorts of ghosts or hallucinations to have some final key conversations. Diana first appears to Charles as he’s on the plane back to England after retrieving her body. They have a heartfelt goodbye, in what is an attempt by the show to give the characters – and us as the audience – a sense of closure that could never be had in real life. This is also the case when Dodi appears to Mohamed, where they speak honestly about the difficulties of their relationship. And finally, Diana appears once more, this time to the Queen herself. Whereas both previous apparitions appeared directly across from their still-living counterpart, symbolizing the directness of their final goodbyes, here Diana is next to the Queen who won’t even turn to look at her. The Queen is clearly unsure about her choice to remain tucked away from the people, as another newsreel in the background relays how unhappy people are with her. It’s Diana herself who gives Elizabeth the push to accept that times are changing and a stiff upper lip isn’t enough to weather every storm anymore. It’s after this that the Queen finally makes the decision to head back to London and speak to the people.

CH 4: William & Harry

In these first episodes of season six, we get to know Princes William and Harry a bit more. Harry is still quite young and a momma’s boy, always excited for any moment he gets to spend with her. William is well now into teenager-dom and is growing in his independence and his unhappiness with parts of royal life. He doesn’t love being shuttled back and forth between parents and hates being hounded by the paparazzi. As the older of the two, he’s also more aware of the issues going on in his family, both between his parents and with them individually. Though they do, in their own ways, try to shield him to some degree, the truth always peeks through. While both parents clearly love and care for their sons, we’re also shown how they’re willing to use them on occasion or push aside their needs. But at the heart of these four episodes, the show clearly wants to hit home the fact that no matter what else was going on in her life, Diana’s boys were her guiding light.

After the crash, Charles has the devastating task of informing the boys that their mother has died. Eventually William, distraught both at the loss of his mother and the behavior of all of the adults around him, disappears into the Scottish countryside. On the show, everyone at Balmoral goes out to search for him but are unable to find him. It’s not until fourteen hours later that he returns, completely drenched from the rain. There’s no solid evidence that William did go missing for a time during this period, but he has opened up about how he found solace in nature in Scotland after his mother’s passing.

CH 5: What’s to Come in the Final Chapter?

There are still six more episodes to come in this season of The Crown, showing the royal family’s lives after this cataclysmic event. The second batch of episodes this season are set to reach all the way into 2005, the year William graduated from university and Harry entered the Royal Military Academy. So while the show will certainly still touch on the effect of their mother’s death, we’ll also see them as they begin forging their way into adulthood and trying to find a sense of normalcy. And, of course, love – as it’s already been confirmed that Kate Middleton will be making her way into the story.

Before Diana’s death, Charles’ major concern on the show is getting everyone – both the public and his mother – to accept Camilla. In the first episode, he arranged a 50th birthday celebration for Camilla in the hopes that the Queen would attend but she declines. Her problem, she explains, is not with Camilla herself but with all of the drama Charles caused to get with her. But Princess Margaret can see how truly happy Charles seems to be now and reminds Elizabeth that having a happy future king isn’t such a terrible thing, and Elizabeth begins to soften to the idea. As this season is set to go all the way into the year of the pair’s nuptials, it’s likely we’ll continue to see the gradual acceptance of Camilla into the royal fold play out.

Diana’s memory looms large over the British royal family. And while early seasons in a way felt like they were building up to the appearance of this cultural icon, now at its conclusion it will have to contend with a world without her. We all know how things played out in the media in real life, but the real interest in the show has always come from the imagining of what went on behind the scenes, away from the public eye. Diana shook up the royal family and the public’s view of it and so these final episodes will be left to explore what happens when a spark is snuffed out but the light it created remains.


Crawford-Smith, James. “Did Dodi Fayed Buy Princess Diana an Engagement Ring?” Newsweek, Newsweek, 16 Nov. 2023,

Harman, Laura. “Did Prince William Go Missing for 14 Hours When Princess Diana Died?” Yahoo!, Yahoo!, 16 Nov. 2023,