In August 2022, it will be the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana‘s death. At 37, she was finally looking like a secure, independent woman, still looking for love and peace.
The year she died, she had been separated from Prince Charles for 5 years and even though Diana was still hurt by her ex-husband and his girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles, she was discovering her lead in activism, embracing and defending causes chosen by herself, becoming her own. Her sons, William and Harry, always close in feeling, were in boarding schools (as is the English tradition), so the princess has often been photographed alone, still always beautiful.
This stage of her adult life will be the dramatic heart of The Crown season 5, which premieres in November. And, from the images of Elizabeth Debicki taken in the external recordings, it is speculated that we will see Diana in what was her last engagement as patron of the English National Ballet when she wore one of her most famous jewels. The necklace of pearls and diamonds is now known as “the Swan Lake necklace”. Value? Something around 12 million dollars. In 2017.
The piece was worn at the Princess’s last official event, includes 187 diamonds and 5 South Sea pearls, and was created based on hunches from Diana by Garrard, who was then the Crown Jeweler. As the earrings that were supposed to match the necklace weren’t ready in time for the day of the Gala, the jeweler lent the necklace to the event but asked for the piece back to ensure the earrings would match. Diana agreed and agreed that she’d pick it up once she’d return from her trip…
Upon the princess’s death, the jewels were sold to a British businessman, who put them up for auction in 1999, with part of the proceeds going to the Diana Memorial Fund. Since then, it has gone through different auctions and changed owners more than once. It became famous precisely for being one of the last necklaces used by Diana before her death.
On June 3, 1997, a sunburned Diana went to check out the commented version of the ballet Swan Lake, revised by choreographer Derek Deane for the English National Ballet. In the cast, that night, the biggest Russian star of the day, the brilliant Altynai Asylmuratova of the Kirov Ballet, was playing the double role of Odette-Odile.
Critics called the version a work of “large scale, with a body of 60 swans and a horde of falling and juggling extras, this is Swan Lake as a spectacle,” according to The Guardian. That’s because it was rethought for the stage of the Royal Albert Hall, a larger space that demanded grandeur.
On stage, having Altynai as Odette was a great privilege for ballet lovers. (I saw her in Paris with Roland Petit and it was exciting). Beautiful, exotic, and with impeccable technique, she was considered the best dancer in the world, so it was a special night for Diana, who one day dreamed of being a classical dancer and always honored dancers while she was alive, with genuine admiration for them. In what would be her last time in a performance, she was stunning in a straight dress, signed by Jacques Azagury.
As always, Diana made a point of going backstage after the performance.
Fans of The Crown series have noticed that although the scene of the series will show Diana in the theater, the model chosen for the scene is different, it is the one she used days later at an event in Hyde Park.
On the set of The Crown, Elizabeth Debicki held a bouquet of flowers and a program as she left the venue with swarms of paparazzi around her. The Lyceum Theater replaced Albert Hall.
Even “without the right dress”, with the ballet’s dramatic music, this promises to be an emotional moment in Season 5.
Unbelievable that a quarter of a century has passed!
To see what Diana saw, Altynai as Odile.