Post-Princess Power Play: Princess in Love

The power of the British Crown is undeniable and has been for centuries. 

Its influence on pop culture is no exception. And now with the parallels being drawn between Princess Diana and Meghan Markle, history certainly repeats, but this time the Crown may be the one influenced. It’s certainly on its heels in terms of public perception. 

As such, we decided to revisit a movie from TheArchive, a sudden timely piece of nostalgia, Princess in Love, and anyone who loves multiple award-winning The Crown on Netflix, will undoubtedly get a kick out of this movie which aired on CBS 25 years ago.  It aired only one year before Princess Di’s untimely death.

Recounting the true-life story of the rollercoaster love affair between Captain James Hewitt and Lady Diana Spencer, Princess in Love suggests that this relationship “destroyed a royal marriage and stunned the British monarchy.” Today we know that the Royals, still an obsessive figment of media attention and global fandom, and no less a tough lot, remain an insulated family but one no longer immune to the demands for parity from an evolving culture relentlessly pursuing an equitable set of mores. 

A subdued and gentle Lady Di is played by Julie Cox in a role - while quite outmatched by the indomitable doppelgänger that is Elizabeth Debicki in Netflix’s The Crown - that still exemplifies Diana’s real life sublimation and pulls on one’s heartstrings despite how often we revisit this story.

Christopher Bowen plays a watered down Charles as the passive aggressive man-child one would expect. The two have no chemistry on camera as should be the case when juxtaposed to Diana’s obsession with Captain Hewitt - for whom she clearly had passion and deep connection.

There are several tender moments through the 1996 TV movie that feature Diana warmly interacting with her boys, Prince Harry and Prince William, in ways that foreshadow, especially with Harry, his deep devotion to a mother who shaped the bold and determined man he is today.

Princess in Love was directed by TV movie juggernaut and ‘Rich Man Poor Man’s' David Greene, widely known for having seven wives, the last of which hadn’t lasted a week before his untimely death, less than ten years after filming this movie and just miles from where Oprah interviewed Diana’s son Harry and Meghan Markle last week.  
If Princess in Love feels pro-Royal, it’s because the underlying book it was based on was written by Anna Pasternak, who has unsurprisingly been critical of Markle. The fact that even just 25 years ago, this film took the position that somehow Diana may have been the primary cause of the unprecedented Royal divorce, is as tragic today as thinking that somehow Harry and Meghan should be the only ones held to account simply because they sought to finally challenge the Crown and its peculiar penchant for obfuscation. That Buckingham Palace came back last week and declared on record, “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning…are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately,” it seems that perhaps change is likely to come.
So indeed the Crown is no doubt as deliciously intoxicating as it ever has been, and a wholly new and exciting power play is in full effect, as the power players have shifted the narrative. While Princess in Love demonstrates the power of a woman without any, today’s Markle has shown the world that that game is on, and she’s not messing around.  

Markle has taken on the Crown in the most unconventional manner - by pitting it against itself. There’s no doubt the script has been flipped, a script perhaps Princess in Love may have benefited from, to tell the story of an embattled woman who isn’t going to take it anymore!

Stream Princess in Love free on Roku now...



TheArchive channel is dedicated to aficionados and lovers of story, craft, and silver screen fun – streaming rare, retro, and 4K restored films and classic TV. From indies and series, to Oscar winning documentaries, unearthed MOWs, and a killer horror library, TheArchive delivers forgotten, never-before-seen gems for free. MarilynKarloff, and Orson Welles stream alongside ReeseKeanu, and Samuel L. Jackson. Find true stories of QueenHendrix, and Sinatra, an LGBTQ library, MLK bios, and world history docs. TheArchive has the movies and shows you either saw, should’ve seen, or should be watching now!