Director claims Diana was 'sacrificed' at wedding
The Princess of Wales was "primitively sacrificed" at her "ghastly and barbaric" wedding to Prince Charles, according to the director of a controversial new film about her death.
Stephen Frears, the director of The Queen, which stars Dame Helen Mirren in the title role, has described the royal wedding of July 1981 as a "black, black day" which was destined to end in tragedy.
The director's comments to The Sunday Telegraph, just days before the film debuts at the Venice Film Festival, come amid claims that the film will re-open the bitter wounds caused by the princess's death. Frears, the director of Mrs Henderson Presents and Dangerous Liaisons, said: "I was in Sante Fé on the day of Diana's funeral in 1997 and I remember the American commentator said who would have thought this would happen back on that wonderful day in 1981.
"But I remember watching the royal wedding and thinking this is a very barbaric occasion we are witnessing. I thought it was a ghastly black, black day.
"It seemed clear to me what was going on. The girl was being sacrificed in a very, very primitive way. We couldn't have known what would happen to her, but I wasn't surprised when the fairytale didn't work out."
The film, which stars Michael Sheen as Tony Blair and James Cromwell as Prince Philip, depicts the Queen as being strongly opposed to the idea of a public funeral for Diana.
The monarch agrees to join the public display of grief only at the behest of Mr Blair who realises that the future of the monarchy is in jeopardy.
In one scene, the Prime Minister states: "Don't tell me there isn't a flag flying over Buckingham Palace. Will no one save these people from themselves?" In another scene, the Queen is asked if she will take the former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell's advice and describe herself as a grandmother in her speech to the nation. She asks: "Do I have any choice?"
The film depicts relations between the Queen and the Prince of Wales as being particularly fraught. In one scene the prince asks his mother: "Why do the public hate us so much?"
She replies: "Not us, dear."
Prince Charles subsequently orders the flag to be flown at half mast at his home at Highgrove at a time when the Queen is still resisting such a gesture at Buckingham Palace.
Last night, Frears insisted that the film was sympathetic to the Queen as a woman and he dismissed claims that it was overly pro-Blair.
He said that, like a lot of people, he had become increasingly disillusioned with the Prime Minister, but that it was important to remember how popular he was in May 1997 when Labour came to power.
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