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The best movies and documentaries about Princess Diana

"Spencer," which earned Kristen Stewart her first Oscar nomination, is one of many recent works about the People's Princess.

Years after her tragic death in 1997 at the age of 36, Princess Diana continues to be a source of inspiration and fascination. Movies, TV shows, documentaries, novels and biographies all explore the circumstances of her life. 

And it was an extraordinary one. Born Diana Spencer in 1961, she went on to marry the heir to the British throne, and move people around the world with her personality and her humanitarian efforts. 

To this day, people mourn the loss of the People’s Princess and hunger for more details about the scrutiny she faced, before and after her divorce from Prince Charles.

If you’re looking for a royal-themed night in, these are the best movies about Princess Diana to watch, ranging from horror-infused imaginative works starring Kristen Stewart, to documentaries using footage from Diana's real life. We're ordering them in chronological order, as the tone of the movies vary depending on when they were made.

‘The Princess’ (2022)

The year of the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, HBO is releasing an original documentary about her life. Composed exclusively of archival footage, the Ed Perkins documentary directed “immersive and intimate” look into how public adoration, coupled with the overwhelming scrutiny she faced, became a perfect storm.

'Spencer' (2021)

This critically-acclaimed film garnered much praise for its intense and imaginative retelling of Princess Diana's life, more designed to evoke a feeling of her circumstances than the actual facts.

"Spencer," starring Kristen Stewart (who landed her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal as Princess Diana), focuses at the point in Princess Diana's life where her relationship with Prince Charles was on the decline, and she was growing tired of the pressures of being a royal. The film also shows her real-life battle with bulimia.

Although Diana is widely known for her elegance and soft demeanor, this movie gives a sharper image of what her life was like away from the press — and if you've seen this film, which borrows from the horror genre, you know it's not pretty.

'Diana: The Musical' (2021)

Image: 'Diana The Musical'.
'Diana The Musical'. Netflix

The legend of "Diana: The Musical" is eclipsed only by the legend of Diana herself. Before the musical hit Broadway stages in Nov. 2021, it premiered on Netflix. Then, it only lasted a month on Broadway — 59 performances, to be precise. Despite negative reviews at the time, the musical is already being reconsidered.

Jeanna de Waal played the royal, telling TODAY she hoped audiences found it "wildly entertaining." She added, "I hope people take away just how much love and passion the creative team had for Diana in making this." If you, too, love Diana, you might enjoy seeing her life told in cheeky but heartfelt songs.

'The Crown' (2016-present)

"The Crown" is a historical Netflix series that documents the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the political (and personal) events that shaped her reign as Queen. Fans awaited Princess Diana's debut in Season Four of the show, knowing the drama she would bring. Emma Corrin gives a fantastic performance as Princess Diana in Season Four, with Elizabeth Debicki taking over in future seasons.

'Diana: In Her Own Words' (2017)

Before her death, Princess Diana was in contact with British journalist Andrew Morton, who published in 1992 her authorized biography, "Diana: Her True Story." Morton would later reveal that the interview was made possible because the late princess had secretly answered his questions via tape recordings.

'Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy' (2017)

Image: Princess Diana holding Prince Harry in 'Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy'.
Princess Diana holding Prince Harry in 'Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy'. HBO Docs / Youtube

This Princess Diana documentary focuses on a perspective that many people want to hear from.

Prince William and Prince Harry exclusively open up on camera about their mother, Princess Diana. They both give interviews and talk openly about their mom in this insightful documentary, paying tribute to her life and legacy.

'Diana, 7 Days' (2017)

In 2017, Prince William and Prince Harry commissioned two documentaries to mark the 20th anniversary of their mother's death. "Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy" was the first and "Diana, 7 Days" was the second and broadcast in the United Kingdom by BBC. The film tracks the late royal family member's death as well as her funeral.

‘Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason?’ (2017)

Diana died in a car accident in Paris in Aug. 1997. Akin to any tragic death of extremely public and beloved figures, there’s some speculation as to whether Princess Diana’s death was accidental or not. In this documentary, streaming on Amazon Prime, the details of her death are examined, decisively proving the conspiracy theories about her death untrue.

'Diana' (2013)

What did the last two years of Diana's life look like? She and Charles divorced, officially, in 1996, and she died in 1997. Naomi Watts plays Diana as she transitions from princess to humanitarian — a role she doesn't get to occupy for long.

'The Queen' (2006)

"The Queen" is less about Diana, and more about the reverberations her death had on the royal family, the United Kingdom and beyond. In the wake of her death, the mourning people looked to the Queen.

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II contemplating when, how and if to address the public.

‘Princess in Love’ (1996)

Image: Julie Cox as Princess Diana and Christopher Villiers as Capt. James Hewitt in 'Princess in Love'
Julie Cox as Princess Diana and Christopher Villiers as Capt. James Hewitt in 'Princess in Love'.Multicom Entertainment

This movie made for TV, based on the book with the same title by Anna Pasternak, tells the story of Diana’s dwindling marriage to Prince Charles — and her consequential affair with her former riding instructor, Captain James Hewitt. Hewitt collaborated with Pasternak to write the 1994 novel, an account of their five year-long affair.

"Diana: Her True Story" (1993)

Image: David Threlfall  as Prince Charles and Serena Scott Thomas as Diana and in 'Diana: Her True Story 1993'.
David Threlfall as Prince Charles and Serena Scott Thomas as Diana and in 'Diana: Her True Story'. United Archives / Alamy Stock Photo

This biopic, like "Princess in Love," came out while Diana was alive, amid the media frenzy that erupted after she and Charles separated. The biopic is based on Andrew Morton's 1992 explosive book "Diana: Her True Story." After Diana died, Morton revealed that Diana was the book's primary source, per Frontline. Serena Scott Thomas plays Diana.

'Charles & Diana: A Royal Love Story' (1982)

Another made-for-TV movie, this early film tells of the marriage and the initial period following the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Made in 1982, this movie is also a period piece in itself, as Diana and Charles's story had not played entirely by then – they separated 10 years later, in 1992.