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What Kristen Stewart’s ‘Spencer’ Movie Got Totally Wrong About Princess Diana and the Royal Family’s Christmas Together

The film Spencer hit theaters in the U.S. and U.K. on Nov. 5, 2021. With its premiere came not only Oscar buzz for Kristen Stewart, who portrayed Princess Diana in what was the best performance of her career, but also renewed interest in the late royal. While Stewart’s transformation into the Princess of Wales was spot on, many have wondered what parts of the movie are accurate and which are totally made up.

Here’s a rundown of what’s fact and fiction in the film including what Princess Diana’s former chef Darren McGrady, who was portrayed in Spencer by actor Sean Harris, said wasn’t true about his relationship with Diana.

Spencer never claimed to be an accurate portrayal of Princess Diana’s life or even the three days in which its set over Christmas at Sandringham. In fact, the movie opens with the words: “A fable based on a true tragedy.” However, since its release audiences have been questioning what’s real and what’s not.

An early scene in Spencer shows members of the royal family being weighed when they arrive at the Sandringham House in Norfolk, something Diana is reluctant to do in the film. The truth is that yes the royals are weighed during the holiday but it isn’t exactly how it’s shown in the movie. Each family member gets on the scale before and after Christmas dinner. The tradition dates back to King Edward VII’s reign. The former monarch was reportedly concerned that not everyone was eating enough on the holiday so hopping on the scale became something that was done to ensure they all were.

The Boxing Day hunt, which Prince William and Prince Harry took part in, is also a real royal tradition. Diana wasn’t a fan of hunting but there’s no evidence that she dramatically stepped in as seen in the film to try and stop it. It’s also true that family members arrive to the Sandringham estate at different times yet it’s never been reported that Diana was late in 1991 or any other year she spent there.

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Something Spencer got wrong about Princess Diana was her look in 1991. While Stewart resembles some images we all have of the princess in our minds, Diana’s hair was much shorter than Stewart’s was in the movie as she had it cut above her ears at that time.

Diana did live at Park House on the Sandringham estate before her family moved to Althorp in 1975. But the scene of the princess escaping the royals’ Sandringham House and going into the dark shuttered property is false because in the ’80s the home became a hotel for people with disabilities run by the Leonard Cheshire Foundation.

Her hairstyle made be a tiny detail and abandoned home weren’t the only false details, two characters we often see and hear from in the movie are totally made up. Major Alistair Gregory (Timothy Spall), who watches over Diana like a hawk in the film, is a fictional character as was Diana’s dresser and confidant Maggie (Sally Hawkins). Both characters are key figures in the plot and could be representative of some people present at Sandringham back then but Spencer screenwriter Steven Knight has stated that neither are based on any specific people.

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A character who was not made up was former royal chef Darren McGrady (Sean Harris). McGrady spoke about being portrayed in Spencer and said he had “goosebumps” watching it but noted that there were two major inaccuracies.

According to him the Sandringham Estate only had five chefs, not the much larger crew shown cooking away in the film.

He also revealed that Diana would come down to the kitchen and they would talk about a number of subjects. However, he never referred to her the way his character did in the film saying: “Though Sean Harris called her ‘Diana,’ I respected her title far too much for that — I always called her Your Royal Highness.”

Source: https://www.cheatsheet.com/