Season 4 of The Crown finally introduces viewers to Princess Diana (Emma Corrin), and doesn’t waste time before showing the cracks in her fraught relationship with Prince Charles. Episode 6, “Terra Nullius,” is a turning point for both Diana herself and the royal couple — throughout the episode, we watch a 21-year-old Diana transform from a shy newcomer into a beloved international icon over the course of just six weeks.
In 1983, Diana and Charles really did embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The stakes were high: public opinion of the British monarchy was at an all-time low in Australia, and Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke was ready to become a complete republic. (The Australia Act 1986, which ruled that legislation in the U.K. would have no impact on Australia, would pass just three years later.) As The Crown depicted, the tour was off to a rocky start because Diana insisted on bringing baby William along despite that choice being highly unconventional for royals at the time. But later, as Beneath the Crown’s Anita Rani noted, she struggled with exhaustion from the heat and asked for a glass of water — a move that endeared her to Australians who found her relatable and human.
“Diana...was accessible to the public, physically and emotionally,” Rani added. “She’s estimated to have shaken hands at least 6,000 times with members of the public on this tour, and offered down-to-earth comments to her admirers. Mothers in particular gravitated towards her, impressed by her refusal to leave William back in the U.K.”
The Crown perfectly mirrors the key stops from Diana’s tour: her romantic dance with Charles at a charity ball really happened, for one, as did her fumble while climbing Uluru. But The Crown contextualises these very real moments with fictionalised additions, hinting towards Charles’ and Diana’s marital problems. After their dance, they tepidly decide to sleep in the same hotel room; after the Uluru incident, Charles calls Camilla to vent about Diana’s weakness and lack of character.
A few moments were also tweaked to fit into The Crown’s timeline: Charles’ on-screen speech at a dinner party in Tasmania, for example, really took place in Brisbane.
Here are all the prominent moments (and looks) from Diana’s tour, and how The Crown brought them to life.
Charles & Diana Visit Ayers Rock
The couple’s first stop, not far from Alice Springs, is Ayers Rock, where they climb the sacred sandstone territory Uluru. On-screen, Diana falters, telling Charles she feels dizzy. In reality, according to Vogue, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Diana was just struggling to climb while wearing a dress. “When Charles coaxed her to climb part of the way up the rock, she hesitated, not through fear of slipping, but because she knew that coming down would expose her knees and coat to the world’s press,” wrote the Morning Herald.
Charles, Diana, & Baby William Arrive In Alice Springs
Diana, Charles, and William first arrive in Alice Springs and are greeted by local officials and a group of paparazzi. In real life, William was carried by a nanny and then passed off to Diana for photos, but on The Crown, Diana carries him from the plane herself before tearfully relinquishing her child to the nanny as rain begins to fall.
Charles & Diana Visit The Sydney Royal Opera House
On The Crown, Charles introduces Diana to a massive crowd at the Sydney Royal Opera House, and from this point onward, he begins to realise how beloved Diana is. One of the most famous pictures from the real event, however, shows Diana in tears. “I’m about four feet from the princess and I’m trying to get a bit of the opera house in the background and some of the crowd, and Diana burst into tears and wept for a couple of minutes,” photographer Ken Lennox recalled afterwards, according to Vanity Fair. “Charles I don’t think has noticed [her crying] at that stage. If he has, typical of Prince Charles to look the other way.”
Charles, Diana, & Baby William In Auckland, New Zealand
In real life, Diana and Charles posed on a picnic blanket with William outside the Government House in Auckland, New Zealand. The Crown’s version of this moment takes place right after Diana insists on William accompanying his parents on the tour — and it looks almost identical to footage from 1983, even down to the voiceovers from the press.
Charles & Diana Dance At A Ball In Sydney
On both the show and in real life, Charles and Diana danced at a charity ball held at Sydney’s Sheraton Wentworth Hotel. “Tonight is the first night the Prince and Princess have been filmed dancing together,” says a reporter in a clip from the actual 1983 event. “A remarkable feat, considering the enormous media interest in the couple.” In the real footage and in the fictionalised scene, this one of the moments in which the couple looks the happiest.
Diana's First Solo Appearance In Australia
This moment in Perth was pivotal: it marked Diana’s first solo appearance since the trip began, and showed just how much the people of Australia had fallen in love with her. “The way she handled the occasion was a clear measure of the confidence she’s gained on the trip so far, and a measure of the confidence the people around her had that she could do it,” a reporter says in a video from 1983.
In The Crown's version, Diana wears the same iconic dress and hat as she greets people in Brisbane. Here, Charles is also present, but the adoring onlookers are clearly more focused on Diana.
Diana Waves To The Public In A Pink Gown & Tiara
In 1983, Diana wore a bright pink dress and tiara to greet a crowd of about 80,000 — the tour’s biggest turnout yet — in Brisbane. On the show, she rocks a similar ensemble to a dinner in Tasmania, and afterwards, she and Charles clash over her newfound fame.
Diana & Charles Jet Set Around Australia
On the show, Diana and Charles step off the plane in Perth, ready to begin the second leg of their Australian tour. The real Diana, however, wore a colourful patterned dress and hat at the tour’s conclusion in Melbourne on April 17, 1983.