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Princess Diana Would Be ‘Pleased That Her Memory Is Still Alive’ in ‘Spencer’ Film, Royal Expert Says (Exclusive)

Mixed emotions. Kristen Stewart is the latest actress to portray Princess Diana on the big screen, and royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti believes the late royal would be mostly OK with it.

Related: Everything to Know About Kristen Stewart's Princess Diana Movie

“I think that Diana would probably be grateful that she’s still in everyone’s minds,” the journalist told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, August 31. “She said famously that she wanted to be queen of people’s hearts when she made that decision to leave Prince Charles.”

How Princess Diana Would Feel About Kristen Stewart's 'Spencer' Movie
Princess Diana and Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. News UK Ltd/Shutterstock; SHOEBOX FILMS

The Twilight actress, 31, will star as Diana in Spencer, a historical drama directed by Pablo Larraín and due out on November 5. The first trailer, released on Thursday, August 26, gave fans their first glimpse of Stewart in action as the Princess of Wales, who died in a 1997 car crash.

The film will take place over the Christmas holidays in 1991, when the royal family gathered at Queen Elizabeth II‘s Sandringham Estate for their traditional celebration. Around the same time, rumors about trouble between Diana and her husband, 72, were starting to circulate.

“I think that she would probably be pleased that her memory is still alive for so many people and that it’s done in a sensitive and sympathetic way,” Sacerdoti said of the movie.

Related: Every Actress Who's Played Princess Diana

Still, he does think the princess might have preferred if the film focused on a happier time in her life.

“I can’t say how she would feel about it, but I think it’s a shame that we’re remembering her so much for tragedy and sadness,” he told Us. “Not only because it’s a bit self-indulgent, really, that we’re just wallowing in this sadness … but I think that because really Diana’s own attempts were to be quite a force for good and positivity. I think it would be a shame just to remember tragedy.”

As Sacerdoti pointed out, the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry was known for her charity work and philanthropy both before and after her 1996 divorce from Charles. She was particularly associated with the International Red Cross’ campaign to remove landmines and worked closely with organizations dedicated to helping AIDS and HIV patients.

Related: Princes William, Harry’s Heart-Wrenching Quotes About Princess Diana

“[She] is in many people’s minds a symbol of triumph over disaster and a symbol of doing these special things she did to break down social barriers and to promote charities,” Sacerdoti explained. “And even in her very last year or two, to promote herself as finally being able to have fun on a yacht with the son of a billionaire, and finally being able to break free from those shackles that this film seems really keen to remind us tied her down in the first place.”

Spencer also isn’t the only Diana-inspired tale arriving in the fall. Earlier this month, news broke that Diana: The Musical will return to the Broadway stage on November 2 after a break caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A filmed version of the show is also set to premiere via Netflix on October 1.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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