Princess Diana's 'Revenge Dress' Gets a Stitch-Perfect Re-Creation on 'The Crown'

Elizabeth Debicki was photographed on set channeling the infamous moment when Princess Diana stylishly upstaged Prince Charles

Elizabeth Debicki pictured as Princess Diana wearing her 'Revenge Dress' at Vanity Fair's annual fundraising gala for the Serpentine Gallery while filming hit Netflix TV series 'The Crown'.
Photo: Splash News Online; Getty

The Crown has revenge on tap for season 5 — specifically Princess Diana's famous "Revenge Dress" from 1994.

Photos from set over the weekend show star Elizabeth Debicki stepping out in a re-creation of the slinky black silk Christina Stambolian frock.

Though Diana had had the off-the-shoulder number in her closet for years, she opted to debut it to the world — complete with a dramatic asymmetrical hemline and chiffon train flowed in the wind — on the night a televised interview featuring Prince Charles confessing his infidelity with Camilla Parker-Bowles (now the Duchess of Cornwall).

"On a human level for Diana, you can only imagine how upsetting that [interview] would have been.... Effectively, Charles has aired some serious dirty laundry," explained PEOPLE Senior Editor Michelle Tauber in PEOPLE's 2020 documentary miniseries Diana Diaries.

"Some may have decided this was altogether too much and tried to avoid the cameras, stay out of the limelight — just let the storm pass," continued Tauber. "That is not what Diana chose to do that night."

"Of course Diana knew that all eyes were going to be on her," added PEOPLE Senior Style Editor Brittany Talarico. "She didn't have to say anything with words. It was a fashion response — that dress became her clear message to Charles and the world."

Princess Diana
Princess Diana. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Just as Debicki has taken over the role of Diana in season 5, Dominic West will assume the role of Charles in the final two seasons of Netflix's hit dramatization of the royals' behind-the-scenes conflicts and calculations.

Season 4 ended with Charles (played in seasons 3 and 4 by Josh O'Connor) and Diana (Emma Corrin) hitting a point where their marriage had become clearly irretrievably broken.

The next set of episodes, scheduled to premiere in November 2022, will delve into the last years of the Prince and Princess of Wales' marriage, as well as the final days of Diana's life before she died unexpectedly in a 1997 car crash in Paris at the age of 36.

Diana's "Revenge Dress" moment was just one time when the princess asserted her star power and chose to step out of the shadow of the royals in the later years of her life, and it looks like The Crown will be exploring those dynamics in its upcoming season — a choice that has not pleased some of Diana's friends.

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a pale blue shalwar kameez, speaks to Jemima Khan (L) during a visit to Shaukat Khanum Hospital on February 22, 1996 in Lahore, Pakistan.
Jemima Khan and Princess Diana in 1996. Anwar Hussein/Getty

British screenwriter and producer Jemima Khan, a former confidante, told The Times of London this weekend that she had stepped back from an advising role on the show because it wasn't treating Diana "as respectfully or compassionately as I had hoped."

She continued, "It was really important to me that the final years of my friend's life be portrayed accurately and with compassion, as has not always happened in the past."

Khan, 47, who was dating Crown creator Peter Morgan during some of the period when she claims to have helped with scripts for the show, says she asked for her contributions and her name to be removed from the series when she saw the direction the story was taking.

A spokesman for the series told The Times: "Jemima Khan has been a friend, fan and a vocal public supporter of The Crown since season one. She has been part of a wide network of well-informed and varied sources who have provided extensive background information to our writers and research team — providing context for the drama that is The Crown. She has never been contracted as a writer on the series."

Elisabeth Debicki And Dominic West Filming The Crown In Mallorca
Elisabeth Debicki and Dominic West Filming The Crown In Mallorca. BACKGRID - Joan Llado / GTres / SplashNews.com

Though full details have not been released, set photos have shown West's Charles and Debicki's Diana in scenes with the child actors playing Prince William and Prince Harry, Timothee Sambor and Teddy Hawley. And Egyptian actor Khalid Abdalla was cast to portray Diana's final romantic partner Dodi Fayed, who was also killed in the car crash with the princess.

Rounding out the cast, Imelda Staunton is taking over as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce has joined as Prince Philip and Lesley Manville will portray Princess Margaret.

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The Crown returns for season 5 in November 2020, and seasons 1–4 are streaming on Netflix now.

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