Who is The Crown‘s Princess Diana, Emma Corrin? Before there was Kate Middleton, there was Princess Diana, one of the most famous royals of all-time; her tragic story is known all over the world. To that end, the responsibility and pressure that would come with stepping into her shoes as an actor are hard to imagine. But for Corrin, that was pressure she accepted.
Corrin was relatively unknown when she was chosen to play Princess Diana in season 4 of the Netflix hit series The Crown, with just a few credits under her belt. In the same way that Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles catapulted her into the public eye, Corrin’s turn as the royal on the show is sure to do the same (via the Independent). Her social media certainly blew up when the much-anticipated season dropped on Netflix.
There’s no doubt that Corrin is destined for even more bigger and better things in the future. Want to find out more about the actress? Here is the untold truth of Emma Corrin.
Emma Corrin landed the role of a lifetime after being a stand-in
When she was cast as Princess Diana in The Crown, Emma Corrin knew that her life would probably change forever. Additionally, the story of her casting really is like something out of a fairytale. It turns out the young actress wasn’t originally being considered by the casting team for the role.
Corrin was originally called in to read Princess Diana’s lines for the auditions for Camilla, Prince Phillip’s first love, who first appeared in season 3. Corrin’s agent was clear that the opportunity wasn’t an audition for the late princess. “But obviously, I was like, ‘I’m going to prepare as if it were,'” Corrin explained to Town and Country.
As Corrin’s co-star, Josh O’Connor explained, Corrin was captivating from day one. “This young actress who hadn’t done an awful lot, and here she was inhabiting Diana, seemingly quite easily,” he recalled. Then, during the non-audition, the team asked Corrin to go on camera, “which I thought was weird,” Corrin confessed to Elle. She then remembered calling her agent, saying “something changed in that room.” A year later, and after countless auditions, Corrin was finally offered the role.
Emma Corrin bought herself a cockapoo to celebrate landing the role of Princess Diana
When Emma Corrin finally landed the role of Princess Diana on The Crown, she decided to celebrate, as anyone would! As she revealed to Town and Country, the star treated herself to a gift: a blue merle cockapoo puppy! Corrin named the dog Spencer, which as she explained to Variety, is a homage to Princess Diana’s family name.
In 2019, Corrin was spotted outside of her home with her adorable pup. “The funny thing is that people are only interested in stopping to talk to her about her dog Spencer at the moment,” one onlooker told the Daily Mail. “He’s the one who attracts attention but no doubt that will all change.”
It’s clear that Corrin is truly obsessed with Spencer. For one, her Instagram page is packed with super cute photos of him. In one adorable video, Corrin and Spencer are seen gazing thoughtfully at the sky. “I think we hang out too much,” she wrote in the caption. In another picture, she called him her “little prince.” So cute!
When Emma Corrin was first cast in The Crown, she kept it quiet
When Emma Corrin received the biggest news of her life — that she was cast as Princess Diana in The Crown — she actually had to keep it secret, at least at first. “I didn’t tell anyone for a while,” she explained to Vogue. “I love my mates but I think it would have got out.” Sounds like Corrin understood the importance of keeping her casting news under wraps!
Apparently, Corrin’s friends caught on pretty fast anyway, and figured the news out for themselves. “My friends from school did this incredible thing, where they made me a scrapbook filled with all of the screenshots from our group WhatsApp, where I have said, ‘Oh my God, guys, I’ve been invited to read,'” Corrin recalled.
Keeping the secret was, understandably, very tough for Corrin. As she told Wonderland, her mum was the only person she was able to talk to about the news. We’re impressed she kept it so quiet!
Emma Corrin doesn't exactly live the life of a Hollywood star
When Emma Corrin was cast in The Crown, she was pretty much an unknown. She’d previously appeared in a few short films, an episode of Grantchester, and the mini-series Pennyworth (via IMDb). So, it comes as no surprise that Corrin’s lifestyle doesn’t exactly sound like that of a major Hollywood star. “I live in a flat with my three best mates from university, none of whom are actors,” she confessed in an interview with Elle. That sounds like a seriously modest living situation for someone who recently graced the front cover of Vogue!
Nevertheless, Corrin is happy with the way she lives. “It keeps you grounded,” she continued. “I never want to get lost in [fame].”
Luckily, Corrin’s co-stars gave her some great advice on how to maintain some sense of normalcy after becoming famous. Apparently, Helena Bonham-Carter and Olivia Coleman told her, “Just keep your head down, work hard, keep really good people around you.” Sounds like excellent advice to us!
Emma Corrin does a form of dance meditation
As Emma Corrin explained to Elle, her role in The Crown involved a lot of dancing — something Corrin isn’t particularly known for! “It’s so funny because I’m notoriously not a dancer,” she confessed. “I’ve got very long limbs and for the best part of my life, they’ve been very uncoordinated.” Apparently, her lack of dancing ability is something of a running joke among her friends.
Nevertheless, Corrin does love to take part in a type of dance meditation called 5Rhythms, despite her lack of skill. “You go into a room and there’s a DJ and it’s in the evening, completely sober, and it’s spiritual. You can just move and dance however you want,” Corrin explained.
Corrin went on to say that she wasn’t too worried about dancing on camera, because Princess Diana — who underwent a stunning transformation in her lifetime — was also interested in dance as a form of spiritual expression. And even though Corrin’s experience of 5Rhythms made dancing as Princess Diana less intimidating, it wasn’t always easy. “Learning ballet at 24 is the worst. It’s almost impossible,” she added.
Emma Corrin wrote and directed a short film for Gucci
Even though Emma Corrin is fairly new to the film industry, it seems that her talents don’t stop at acting; she also has a gift for writing and directing. “I’ve written and directed a short film that will be coming out with Gucci,” she told Elle. “It was my first foray in that kind of thing.” Wow, talk about getting off to a great start!
The film is a homage to Western films and is called Red Rendezvous. It was part of Gucci’s “Absolute Beginners” series, which challenged artists to try directing.
When asked if she’d like to do more directing in the future, Corrin wasn’t too sure. “I found the process absolutely terrifying,” she confessed. Apparently, she got nicknamed “the director of happiness” on set because she couldn’t stop checking in on people. But even if directing isn’t something Corrin is cut out for, she’s definitely interested in other creative parts of filmmaking. “Writing, producing, and developing stuff, yeah,” she added.
Emma Corrin's mother helped her land the role of Princess Diana
Anyone who has seen footage of season 4 of The Crown will attest that Emma Corrin looks strikingly similar to Princess Diana — especially once she’s wearing the wig and the costumes. According to Vogue, her mother bears an even stronger resemblance to the late royal. Corrin explained that because of this, she’d always been interested in the princess.
Corrin’s mother’s looks weren’t the only thing that helped the actress get into character, as her knowledge of speech patterns gave her a leg up as well. As Corrin shared with Town and Country, her uncanny inflections helped her mimic Princess Diana to a tee. Plus, Corrin’s mother is a speech therapist, which was also incredibly helpful; together, Corrin and her mother analyzed Princess Diana’s vocal habits. “No matter what Diana is saying, it kind of goes down at the end,” Corrin explained. “It’s like a sadness.”
Emma Corrin grew up in Kent and was always interested in the arts
Emma Corrin described her childhood to Wonderland and Variety, and by the sound of things, she’s always been pretty set on a career in film and theater. Her early influences were the rom-coms of Nora Ephron, like You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. But Corrin was also influenced by the plays she saw. She recalled “sitting in the audience and loving it, but also hating it because I used to get so actively jealous of everyone on stage.”
Additionally, as a child, Corrin went to an all-girls boarding school. It was here that she had her first experience of acting at the age of 10 when she played Toad in Toad of Toad Hall. Apparently, a friend’s mother complimented her, saying, “you were great honey. Have you thought about being an actor?”
From then on, Corrin was determined to make a career out of acting. “I think that planted a seed,” Corrin mused. Later, Corrin took on the role of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, which she credits as helping her learn more about acting and singing.
Emma Corrin spent two years trying to get into drama school
After Emma Corrin caught the acting bug at her private school, she pursued an acting career the “usual” way: by auditioning for drama schools. Surprisingly, Corrin failed to get into any drama schools for two years in a row. Eventually, she accepted a place studying drama at the University of Bristol. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great fit and she wasn’t happy there at all. “I really didn’t like it because it wasn’t drama school,” she revealed in an interview with Variety. “It wasn’t training in craft.” Instead, Corrin found that she was studying dramatic theory, which didn’t really interest her. While she had no problems with the course of study itself, she admitted that it simply didn’t suit her.
To that end, Corrin left the university, and an old teacher gave her what would be a life-changing suggestion: why not apply to Cambridge? “The idea of going there was crazy,” Corrin explained. “I’d never been the academic one in my friendship group.” But Corrin got in, and found the perfect place to continue nurturing her passion for acting.
Emma Corrin spent a busy few years at Cambridge University
At Cambridge University, Emma Corrin really honed her craft. Even though she was studying full time, Corrin still committed to a rigorous extracurricular schedule of student theater. “It’s such a high-pressure environment that people naturally gravitate towards having somewhere else to vent that energy,” Corrin explained to Wonderland. “Having been in a tech rehearsal all day and then having to go home at 10pm and write an essay, you’re so stressed but also loving it because you’re so busy.” Yikes, sounds like Corrin’s time at Cambridge was seriously hectic!
Despite the pressures of school, Corrin found time to act in around 20 plays in three years, including Love’s Labour’s Lost, Coriolanus, The House of Bernada Alba, and more. She even played Juliet in a university production of Romeo and Juliet that toured Japan! As Corrin explained to Variety, Cambridge offered her an experience similar to that of acting in a repertory company. “You’re making all your own work, and the amount of effort people put in is incredible,” she gushed. And that gave her invaluable experience for her career that was to come.
Emma Corrin is super into poetry
When Emma Corrin wasn’t onstage at Cambridge, she was studying English and drama (via Variety). So, it comes as no surprise that the young actress absolutely loves poetry. In December of 2019, Corrin posted an excerpt of a poem by Patti Smith from her book Woolgathering on her Instagram page. Corrin humorously pointed out Smith’s line, “Wistful sprouts,” writing in the caption, “Hope all your Christmases are filled with wistful sprouts.”
In March of 2020, Corrin participated in a poetry exchange. She again took to Instagram to share a list of “poems I was sent by lovely friends and lovely strangers.” Then in May of 2020, Corrin posted a series of photos from her day, including a few images of what she’d been reading: a book of poetry by Mary Oliver. Corrin even circled one line about “isolation,” presumably in reference to the 2020 lockdown. It’s clear that poetry is a big part of Corin’s life.
Emma Corrin clearly has a strong social conscience
In addition to her posts about poetry and her dog, Emma Corrin has made serious posts on her Instagram page. Based on them, we think it’s quite clear that the actress cares deeply about issues like social justice, equality, and mental health.
In October of 2019, Corrin posted a brief message for World Mental Health Day. “So just a note to say that it’s okay not to feel okay, and let’s be kind to ourselves and each other when the world feels blurry and even when it doesn’t,” she wrote.
In December of 2019, Corrin posted a touching, heartfelt note about the importance of treating people with kindness at Christmastime. “The traditions that surround the season and also the way it is marketed in the media mean that it is crucial to remember those amongst us who are struggling either from homelessness, the loss of a loved one, [or] difficult family situations,” she wrote in the caption. “This festive period, whilst so full of joy for some can be incredibly difficult for others.” What an incredibly powerful and thoughtful message. We’re so impressed with this young woman’s conscientiousness.
Emma Corrin learned some great style tricks while playing Princess Diana
Princess Diana was known for her impeccable fashion sense. And while Corrin seems to have a more relaxed sense of style, she learned a few fashion tricks from her time on The Crown, as she explained to Vogue.
Firstly, Corrin learned about how to use clothing as a form of armor. During a highly emotional scene, Corrin was dressed in a “high collared velvet jacket and skirt and a wide brimmed hat.” She said, “Diana was feeling so vulnerable, and hiding between a collar and a hat can really support you.”
Another thing that Corrin learned on set was to appreciate jeans. Apparently, Princess Diana did actually wear jeans from time to time, and when Corrin got to slip into a pair on the show, it was a huge relief. “Between the Versace dresses and Armani suits, putting on a pair of jeans can be the best thing ever,” she continued.
Finally, Corrin explained that bold colors are an excellent mode of self-expression. She was even inspired by the late princess to buy a pair of “pink check trousers and a blue check blazer.”
Playing Princess Diana was incredibly daunting — but Emma Corrin did her research
There’s no doubt about it: any actor would find taking on the role of Princess Diana to be incredibly scary. So naturally, Emma Corrin was understandably pretty nervous. As she explained to Sky News, it was initially “incredibly daunting.” Having just graduated from Cambridge, Corrin approached the role the best way she knew how: with extensive research.
Corrin explained to Vogue that she watched the documentary Diana: In Her Own Words “about a hundred times.” She also met with Princess Diana’s private secretary, Patrick Jephson, who told her that Princess Diana was much funnier and happier than people realize. That’s just one of the things we learned about Princess Diana after her death.
After all of her research, Corrin couldn’t help but feel connected to the late princess. “I feel I’ve got to know Diana like you would a friend,” she revealed. “I know that sounds really weird, but I get a great sense of companionship from her.” It sounds like Corrin certainly went above and beyond when it came to research. We can’t wait to see what roles she tackles next.
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