Princess Diana's Struggle in the Spotlight Captured in New Trailer for HBO's 'The Princess'

The documentary from director Ed Perkins uses archival audio and video footage of Princess Diana, showing her rise to fame and untimely death

Princess Diana attends a White House event September 24, 1996 in Washington, DC
Princess Diana. Photo: Richard Ellis/Alamy Stock Photo

Twenty-five years after Princess Diana's untimely death, a new documentary is looking at her life in the public eye using archival audio and video footage.

On Wednesday, HBO released a trailer for the Ed Perkins-directed documentary The Princess, which will premiere on August 13. The film explores Princess Diana's complex relationship with the media, from the early days of her romance with Prince Charles to their headline-making breakup and ultimately how the paparazzi frenzy contributed to Diana's tragic death in 1997 at age 36.

"Intensely emotional, The Princess is a visceral submersion into Diana's life in the constant and often intrusive glare of the media spotlight," according to HBO. "The film unfolds as if it were in the present, allowing viewers to experience the overwhelming adoration, but also intense scrutiny of Diana's every move and the constant judgment of her character. Through archival material, the film is also a reflection of society at the time, revealing the public's own preoccupations, fears, aspirations and desires."

The trailer begins with Princess Diana and Prince Charles' engagement interview when they were asked about their first impressions of each other.

"I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was," Prince Charles said. "I don't know what you thought of me..."

"Pretty amazing," Diana replied.

The HBO Documentary Film The Princess Debuts August 13th On HBO And HBO MAX
The Princess. HBO

Through clips, the intense public interest around Diana is captured, from being chased by photographers to becoming surrounded by unruly crowds during royal engagements — and how Prince Charles realized he's "taking second place," as one reporter said.

The jarring footage includes shots of Diana putting her hand over a camera lens, the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle and Prince William and Prince Harry at their mother's funeral.

The trailer concludes with Prince Charles talking to a young Prince William as Princess Diana looks on glumly. As Prince William peers through a video camera lens, Charles tells his son, "The people in there, look at them...trapped."

Diana, Princess of Wales surrounded by police and security as she arrives for a visit to Harlem Hospital’s pediatric AIDS unit in Harlem. New York City, USA. Feb 1989
Princess Diana. parkerphotography/Alamy Stock Photo

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The Princess had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary film will air on August 13th on HBO and HBO MAX.

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