Why Elizabeth Debicki’s Performance on The Crown Left Princess Diana’s Biographer “Shaken”

In an exclusive conversation with E! News, Princess Diana's biographer Andrew Morton praised Elizabeth Debicki's portrayal of Diana on season five of The Crown. Find out what he said.

By Beth Sobol, Daniel Trainor Nov 16, 2022 10:51 PMTags
Watch: Elizabeth Debicki Portrays Princess Diana With Sons in The Crown

Elizabeth Debicki's portrayal of Princess Diana has drawn praise from someone who knew her story inside and out.

Debicki plays the late Princess on season five of Netflix's The Crown, which dropped on the streamer Nov. 9, and her performance has earned raves from author Andrew Morton, who wrote Diana: Her True Story, the sensational biography of Diana released in 1992.

"I'm not exaggerating, I was shaken by how close to the real Diana she is," Morton exclusively told E! News. "The mannerisms, the gestures, the intonation, everything. She got it spot-on. It was like being back in the room with her. When I first saw it, I was blown away."

Morton wrote the book with the cooperation and participation of Diana, using their mutual friend James Colthurst as a middle man. The author passed along questions to Colthurst, who then gave them to Diana. She recorded her answers on audio tape for Morton's use.

The entire orchestration plays out in season five, with Morton played by actor Andrew Steele. Morton said Steele's performance might not be as pitch perfect as Debicki's—but he's just fine with that.

"I think he comes across as compassionate, sympathetic and a bit more earnest than I am," Morton joked. "Not your typical journalist, someone who's more thoughtful. Obviously, I'm going to say I like it."

The Crown Cast Vs. the Royals They Play

Morton consulted on the fifth season of The Crown in a fact-checking role and was impressed with the attention to detail given to even the most minor details. "Down to the paper that I used to send [Diana] chapters for her to read," he said. "They even got the right typeface."

As for the recent controversy surrounding the show—including criticism from former U.K. Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair—Morton, whose book about the late Queen Elizabeth IIThe Queen: Her Life, was released Nov. 15, doesn't understand all of the outrage.

"I actually think it's a lot of rattling of people's pearls," he said. "I find it astonishing that two Prime Ministers have both made public comments about the show. They've not even seen it, which is the first rule of any commentary, that you actually see it before you make a comment on it."

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The fifth season of The Crown is available to stream on Netflix. 

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