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'The Crown' Season 6: Why Princess Diana is always 'in contact with Harry'

"We unpack those images so that the actor is playing something other than what they think they're seeing," movement coach Polly Bennett said

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown Season 6 (Daniel Escale/Netflix)
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown Season 6 (Daniel Escale/Netflix)

When it comes to The Crown, particularly in Season 6 with Elizabeth Debicki continuing in her role as Princess Diana, it's the actor's embodiment of the late princess that's critical to the show.

Much of that work can be credited to movement coach Polly Bennett collaborating with the actors to transform into members of the royal family, a fundamental component of both recreating events the public saw unfold, while also crafting private moments within the family that no one else saw.

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"Anyone can look at any picture and make a decision about what's going on," Bennett told Yahoo Canada. "I think I treat all photographs with a kind of historian approach."

"How much space is there? Where is the person looking? Where is the weight in their body? What are they not doing, as well as what they are doing?"

She added that's particularly true for iconic moments, like the widely shared paparazzi photograph of Diana in 1997, in a blue bathing suit on a diving board on a yacht, while on a Mediterranean vacation with Dodi Fayed.

"She's looking down. She's feeling reflective," Bennett said about recreating that image for The Crown.

"We unpack those images so that the actor is playing something other than what they think they're seeing. ... If we can place it into a physical world, into a physical landscape, it becomes way more interesting for the actor and therefore way more interesting for the viewer."

Elizabeth Debicki's Princess Diana linked to Emma Corrin in 'The Crown'

It's that approach that leads Bennett to establishing key scenes in The Crown, including a moment in Episode 2 of Season 6, following Diana's press conference in Bosnia where she's bombarded with questions from journalists about her relationship with Dodi (played by Khalid Abdalla in the show). Diana is then seen alone in a room, sitting on a bed biting down on her finger.

As Bennett explained, the physical manifestation of Diana's uneasiness about what happened at the press conference links back to a version of the Princess we saw in earlier seasons of The Crown, which dealt with her eating disorder.

"It was less about me deciding, that's what she should do at that moment, it all comes from the work that we did, sort of taking on from Season 4, from Emma Corrin's work with the bulimia storyline and the eating disorder," Bennett said. "The idea of eating when you're in pain, eating when you feel ignored, eating when you're not included, so it was actually a kind of callback to that work."

"I didn't assign that movement, that was Elizabeth's choice, but it was definitely sort of embroiled in the work that we did around who she was when she was alone, and the feeling of not being able to let your emotions out."

'The Crown': Why Princess Diana is always 'connected' to Harry, callback to eating disorder episodes (Daniel Escale/Netflix)
'The Crown': Why Princess Diana is always 'connected' to Harry, callback to eating disorder episodes (Daniel Escale/Netflix)

'She could always feel the loss ... when she wasn't around the boys'

Other core moments in The Crown Season 6 also include Diana with her sons, both public and private moments of the three of them together.

Bennett worked closely with the actors to visually depict the bond Diana had with her children.

"For those young actors playing alongside somebody of Elizabeth's caliber and notoriety, it's allowing them to feel like they can touch them," Bennett said. "So we see a lot of pictures and footage of Diana sort of guiding William into school, or touching them on the shoulders, I believe that she ... stands quite often with a hand on Harry's shoulder, not William's."

"That, for me, gave me a lot of information ... The idea simply for Elizabeth of always being a connection with Harry, because he's the one that won't be King, that she wants to keep him safe. ... Harry needs some more guidance, or support, so we play games where she was always in contact with Harry."

Bennett added that it was "key" to really establish their behaviour together in private spaces, because the public moments between them were times when they couldn't be as "free" with their body language.

"That was really helpful to all the actors playing the Princess, and to Elizabeth, so that she could always feel the loss ... when she wasn't around the boys," Bennett said.

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When to watch 'The Crown' Season 6

The Crown Season 6 will be released in two parts. The first part of the season (four episodes) premiered on Netflix Nov. 16. The second part will be released on Dec. 14, with six episodes.

The cast for the season includes Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles, Salim Daw as Mohamed Al Fayed, and Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed.

In the first part of Season 6, Prince William and Prince Harry are played by Rufus Kampa and Fflyn Edwards, respectively. In Part 2 of the season, Ed McVey plays Prince William, Luther Ford plays Prince Harry, and Meg Bellamy is introduced as Kate Middleton.