Watch ‘The Crown’ Star Emma Corrin Transform Her Voice Into Princess Diana’s

Will Thorne
·5-min read

To capture the crisp received pronunciation of the royal family, “The Crown” dialect coaches teach cast members to say the word “ears” when saying “yes.”

Like her co-star Josh O’Connor, who plays Prince Charles, Emma Corrin found one particular word was the key to unlocking Princess Diana’s slightly dispossessed-sounding posh drawl.

“Mine was ‘alright.’ I just love her voice so much, I really miss it,” Corrin told Variety. “She goes down at the end of everything she says, which makes everything she says sound quite sad.”

It’s fair to say that Diana has plenty to be sad about in season 4, as her and Charles’ stormy marriage is placed at the heart of the action. Speaking at a video junket to promote the season, which launches Nov. 15 on Netflix, Corrin recounted the “mean but fun” story of when she was chosen to play the iconic princess.

Corrin had been invited to read for Diana in chemistry sessions for Camilla Parker Bowles, and one momentous day, director Benjamin Caron and producer Suzanne Mackie teased the decision a little with a cheeky back and forth.

“We were in a very stately home, we read the scene through, and then Ben turned to Suzanne and said, ‘Can I tell her now?’ And Suzanne was like, ‘Let’s maybe read it through once more,'” Corrin recalled. “So we read it through once more and then Ben was like, ‘Will you be our Diana?’ It was intense, Josh was there in the room which was incredible. I think he actually has a better memory of it than I do because my brain stopped functioning. I have a complete blackout in memory from when they offered me the role to when I was in the car calling my family on the way home.”

“It was like ‘X Factor’ where they get the bands together and they say, ‘Guys we’ve got some bad news,’ and it cuts to them being like sigh, ‘the other lot are going home, you’re through!’ It was that dramatic,” chipped in O’Connor.

Given the recent Diana-centric trailer, it’s hardly giving too much away to say that she is introduced very early on in season 4 and features prominently throughout.

However, Corrin teased that the Diana we meet at the very beginning (who is only a teenager at that point) is very different to the one we see after 10 episodes of tumultuous drama.

“I love the Diana we meet in the beginning for so many reasons….this is the Diana no one knows about. We all know what she was like when she was older, there’s so much, too much footage of her. So I was really charmed by getting to know younger Diana,” Corrin said.

Diana is far from the only disruptive force to be rocking the Royals this season. Gillian Anderson also enters the fray as Margaret Thatcher, husky voice, puffy hair and all.

Thatcher is arguably the most divisive figure in British political history (let us not forget that “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” from “Wizard of Oz” appeared at the top of the U.K. charts when she passed away in 2013), which begs the question of how far does “The Crown” delve into the policies and decisions that made her such a hated figure?

Anderson said the season offers “a pretty well-rounded look into the character that we might not have seen before.”

“It’s always interesting to take on a character that has so many complexities and layers and I guess divides people so thoroughly,” she said. “The prism that we look through in this series is the Crown, so any Prime Minister that is sitting in front of the Queen is just a snapshot. We certainly deal with some of the most prevalent issues during Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister, but again they are slices of events. We are seeing as much of the character of Margaret Thatcher as she is as mother and as career woman, than we are seeing her as politician necessarily. That gives us a different view into her than maybe we’ve seen with other portrayals, we don’t think of her necessarily as being emotive or even having any emotions whatsoever.”

Like the previous generations of “Crown” players before them, Corrin and O’Connor have to relinquish their characters as a new crop of actors step into their shoes in seasons for the final two outings (it’s already been revealed that Elizabeth Debicki will be donning Diana’s tiara, and Dominic West is in advanced talks to take up the Prince Charles mantle).

The pair agreed their characters still haven’t left them yet, and expressed that letting go has been particularly difficult because production on season 4 was brought to such an abrupt end by the pandemic.

“It was strange because we didn’t have any closure because of COVID. I was filming one day to the next and then I was in lockdown,” Corrin said. “In terms of someone else taking over, my friend put it really well the other day. She said it must feel like your ex is moving on, which is exactly what it feels like. It’s like, ‘Oh that’s nice, I hope they’re happy.’ But you do have to let go I guess. The charm and brilliance of the of ‘The Crown’ is that you see all these different actors play their versions of these people, it’s so much more interesting than seeing one person do it, than seeing one person’s interpretation.”

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