Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak at the 2021 Global Citizen Live concert at Central Park in New York
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak at the 2021 Global Citizen Live concert at Central Park in New York, U.S., September 25, 2021. Picture taken September 25, 2021. Reuters / Caitlin Ochs


  • The reaction to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal exit reminded director Ed Perkins of the media treatment of Princess Diana
  • He noticed the similarities while he was working on his new documentary, "The Princess"
  • The documentary will tell the story of Princess Diana through archive footage and commentary

The filmmaker behind a new Princess Diana documentary drew parallels between the late Princess of Wales, and her youngest son and daughter-in-law Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

In an interview with People, Ed Perkins, the director of HBO's "The Princess," said the intense reaction to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's decision to step back from their roles as senior working royals in 2020 reminded him of the media treatment of Princess Diana.

The director told the outlet that he noticed those similarities as he was looking at the archives of Princess Diana's life for his documentary just as Prince Harry and Markle moved from the U.K. to California.

"For a space of about a month or two, it seemed like [Harry and Meghan] were the only thing people were talking about," Perkins said. "Very few people were apathetic and it reminded me of the response I was seeing in the archive from 25, 30 years previously, where, for the entirety of Diana's public life, we were dissecting everything."

He continued, "People had strong polarized opinions all the way throughout her life and after her death, and it did feel interesting that there was a sort of similar national conversation happening 25 years later."

Perkins' documentary will tell the story of Princess Diana as if it were the present day through archive footage and commentary.

The producers watched 1,000 hours of film to create the documentary's narrative. It will explore Princess Diana's complex relationship with the press, from the early days of her romance with Prince Charles to their split and her death in 1997 at age 36.

"Our intention was to create a film that first and foremost felt kind of emotionally-driven and immersive and that we would give audiences the space to kind of come to their own conclusions and bring their own hindsight to bear on this story," Perkins told People of the documentary.

Earlier this month, Page Six reported that the documentary will include footage from Princess Diana's infamous 1995 BBC interview with journalist Martin Bashir, who has since been revealed as having used deception to secure the sit-down.

An anonymous palace insider told the outlet that Princess Diana's sons Prince William and Prince Harry are split on the footage being used.

The source said that while the royal siblings are "united in their distaste for the BBC and Bashir's ethics regarding the interview," they have different opinions when it comes to the usage of the footage.

While Prince William has said that the interview should never be aired again, the source claimed that "Harry has more condemnation for the media in this case, rather than the actual interview, and is said to not want the footage erased from history. This is something that came together in the wrong way, but in the end, it is still part of Diana's story."

Unnamed palace sources told the outlet that they believe Princess Diana's sons were not consulted about the footage being used for the documentary.

Last year, a report by British judge Lord Dyson found that Bashir secured the 1995 interview with Princess Diana by using fake documents that purported to show staffers were taking money in exchange for planting stories about her in the media.

In July, BBC director-general Tim Davie released a statement via the network's website apologizing to the royal family "for the way in which Princess Diana was deceived and the subsequent impact on all their lives."

He also vowed that "BBC will never show the program again; nor will we license it in whole or part to other broadcasters."

"The Princess" premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on June 03, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. Karwai Tang/WireImage