Season five of The Crown is set to be released on Wednesday amid mounting backlash over the ‘insensitive’ portrayal of the Royal Family during the Nineties.
As the Netflix drama has spanned over several decades and reached recent events that will be fresh in some viewers’ minds, the show has been criticised for sensationalising events and including fictionalised scenes.
With the previous two seasons of The Crown covering the three decades before the Nineties the entire team have been recast for this series’ 13-year time frame of 1990 to 2003.
Focusing heavily on the fallout between Princess Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki and King Charles (then Prince of Wales) as portrayed by Dominic West, the new series will showcase a number of low points for the royals.
Among them are Charles and Diana’s marriage breakdown, the late royal’s controversial Panorama interview and the notorious ‘tampongate’ phone call between the King and Queen Consort.
One of the most controversial aspects of the series is how it will tackle the death of Diana, with Netflix facing scrutiny over the decision to recreate the final days of Princess Diana, shooting some scenes in Paris, where she died.
The Crown, created and written by Peter Morgan, has been a hit for Netflix since it was first released in 2016 with the main characters being regularly recast to follow the age of the royals in their respective timelines.
Now as the controversial series releases its fifth season, MailOnline takes a look at the brand new faces of the Netflix drama as it prepares to depict one of the most turbulent periods in the monarchy’s history…
Princess Diana – Elizabeth Debicki
(Previously played by Emma Corrin)
Princess Diana: Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki (left) had her big break in 2013’s The Great Gatsby and became a household name thanks to 2016 TV series The Night Manager (right: Princess Diana in 1994)
It was announced that Elizabeth, 32, had been cast to play Princess Diana for the next two seasons and fans of the Netflix show were delighted to hear that the Australian actress would be taking on the role – replacing Emma Corrin.
From her big break in 2013’s The Great Gatsby to becoming a household name thanks to 2016 TV series The Night Manager, the star steadily climbed up the ranks of showbusiness to secure the career-making role.
Past: Emma Corrin played the People’s Princess in the show’s fourth series
A former ballerina in training, Elizabeth switched to theatre during high school. She studied at University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts, where she was also awarded the Richard Pratt Bursary for outstanding acting students.
She shot to stardom after making her debut in The Great Gatsby in 2013, after impressing the film’s director, Baz Luhrmann, with her brief appearance in the 2011 Australian movie A Few Best Men.
Since then, she has appeared in several movies including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Tenet and The Cloverfield Paradox.
The actress said of her casting: ‘Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many. It is my privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one.’
Elizabeth also hit out at critics of the series, stating: ‘It was always very clear to me that one can never know what happens behind closed doors and that a writer is interpreting what may have happened.
‘Now the disclaimer is up there, we can maybe stop talking about it and move on. If that’s helpful for certain people, so be it, and now the conversation can be returned to the creative endeavour of what the show is.’
Prince Charles – Dominic West
Previously played by Josh O’Connor
Prince Charles: Photographs captured the amazing transformation of Dominic West (left) into The Prince Of Wales (pictured right in 1992) – with the actor mirroring the heir to the throne’s signature mannerisms.
Golden Globe nominee Dominic, 53, is set to play Prince Charles in the final two series of The Crown, taking over from Josh O’Connor who played the young prince in season three and four.
The Prince Of Wales was played in his teenage years by Julian Baring and as a child by Billy Jenkins.
Dominic is best known for playing Jimmy McNulty in The Wire and Noah Solloway in The Affair and has won two BAFTAs for his work.
The actor previously revealed that he had contacted King Charles to resign as an ambassador from the Prince’s Trust after being cast in series five over the Netflix drama, over fears his new role would be a conflict of interest.
However, the King did not express any objections when informed that Dominic would be portraying him, refusing his offer.
He told the Radio Times that he received a written response from the King’s private secretary. The actor said it read along the lines of: ‘You do what you like, you’re an actor. It’s nothing to do with us.’
Luckily, it seems the King and Queen Consort have made peace with West’s role – as the actor revealed Camilla jokingly called him ‘Your Majesty’ at a party last year.
The actor added he believes ‘that’s probably how (the King) regards it’. No guidance or opinion, however, was expressed in the letter.
Camilla Parker Bowles – Olivia Williams
Previously played by Emerald Fennell
Camilla Parker Bowles: Olivia Williams (left) will be taking on the role of King Charles’ future Queen Consort (pictured right in 1995)
Olivia, 54, will be taking on the role of King Charles’ future Queen Consort, Camilla Parker Bowles, a role previously played by Emerald Fennell in seasons three and four.
Past: Camilla was a role previously played by Emerald Fennell in seasons three and four
The actress, from London, came from ordinary beginnings and was on the verge of giving up on the career when she was named ‘the most beautiful women to come on screen in the last ten years’ by Kevin Costner in 1997.
He picked her to star in his $90-million uber-flop The Postman, in which the two had a raunchy sex scene.
Since then, her rising star has been on the up-and-up, with roles opposite Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense, Carey Mulligan in An Education and even a guest appearance as Matt Le Blanc’s love interest in Friends.
Olivia, who is the younger of two sisters, was educated at South Hampstead High School for Girls, where fellow The Crown actress Helena Bonham Carter was in the year above.
Despite her resume of highly successful films, she previously said one of the reasons she isn’t a household name is because she refused to play the Hollywood game.
Olivia shot what’s known as a ‘chemistry test’ with Dominic West, to see if they were compatible on screen together, before she was offered the role in The Crown – one that’s right at the heart of the drama.
Olivia will have personal insight into the character, having met Camilla after her marriage to Charles, by which time she had become the Duchess of Cornwall.
Queen Elizabeth II – Imelda Staunton
Previously played by Olivia Colman and Claire Foy
Queen Elizabeth II: BAFTA-winning actress Imelda Staunton (left) is taking on Queen Elizabeth for seasons five and six (the late monarch is pictured right at the 1971 ball)
BAFTA-winning actress Imelda, 66, is taking on the matriarchal monarch for seasons five and six, replacing Olivia Colman who took on the role for season three and four and Claire Foy who played the Queen for the first two series.
A star of both stage and screen, Imelda has won four Laurence Olivier Awards for her work in the theatre and was Oscar-nominated for her starring role in Vera Drake.
In recent years she gained a larger audience with her portrayal as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films and has also provided voice works for animated films such as Chicken Run.
Speaking about joining The Crown, Imelda previously admitted she is ‘frightened’ to take on the Queen Elizabeth role as she has an ‘extra challenge’ playing a recent version as it will be fresh in the audiences mind.
Previously: Imelda, 66, is taking on the matriarchal monarch for seasons five and six, replacing Olivia Colman (left) who took on the role for season three and four and Claire Foy (right) who played the Queen for the first two series
Imelda said: ‘When Claire was in the first series, to all of us that felt like history. Then following on from that with Olivia, again it seems like history.
‘Now we start in 1991 playing someone much more recent. That’s the extra challenge I have, people saying, “Oh, I don’t think she’s like that at all”‘.
When the Queen died in September, Imelda was playing the late monarch on set when news of her death broke, revealing that she had burst into tears and was left ‘inconsolable’.
She added that she and was grateful she hadn’t been due to film for the next few days because her sadness was so evident on her face.
Prince Philip – Jonathan Pryce
Previously played by Tobias Menzies and Matt Smith
Prince Philip: Jonathan Pryce (left) will take on the role of Prince Philip for the final seasons (pictured right in 2007)
Jonathan, 75, will take on the role of Prince Philip for the final seasons, taking over from Tobias Menzies who played the role in season three and four and Matt Smith who kicked off the portrayal for the first two seasons.
The actor – who was previously knighted for his services to drama – has two Tony and two Olivier Awards and received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Pope Francis in The Two Popes.
He previously revealed he’s ‘confident’ about ‘tackling the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip’ and it will be ‘a joy’ to act alongside Imelda Staunton as the Queen and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret.
Former princes: Tobias Menzies (left) played the role in season three and four and Matt Smith kicked off the portrayal for the first two seasons
In a statement shared on social media by Netflix, Jonathan said: ‘I am delighted to be working with Netflix again.
‘The positive experience I had making The Two Popes has given me the confidence to tackle the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip.
‘To be doing so with Peter Morgan in the company of Imelda [Staunton] and Lesley [Manville] will be a joy.’
As well as praising the other on-screen talent lined up for the show, Jonathan added that he was excited to be working with screenwriter Peter Morgan.
Jonathan recently hit out at criticism over the series, saying: ‘I’m hugely disappointed by my fellow artistes. The vast majority of people know it’s a drama. They’ve been watching it for four seasons.’
Princess Anne – Claudia Harrison
(Previously played by Erin Doherty and Lyla Barrett-Rye)
Princess Anne: RADA-trained performer Claudia Harrison (left) takes on the role of the Queen’s only daughter (pictured right, in 1999)
RADA-trained performer Claudia, 46, takes on the role of Princess Anne, replacing Erin Doherty in the third and fourth series of The Crown, who followed on from Lyla Barrett-Rye who portrayed the princess as a child.
She boasts a number of TV gigs on her CV as well as a high-profile co-star following her turn in 2005 thriller Archangel, where she starred opposite Daniel Craig in the show about a mystery concerning dictator Josef Stalin.
The farmer’s wife and mother-of-three is said to have been ‘shocked and delighted’ when she was chosen to play Anne when the Royal was aged in her 40s.
Claudia is an associate teacher at RADA (the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts) and is listed on the academy’s website as: ‘After a degree in drama from Birmingham University, Claudia graduated from RADA in 2000… As a professional actor she has had a varied and exciting career, including lead roles in TV, film, theatre and radio…
Throwback: The role of Princess Anne was previously played by Erin Doherty (left) in The Crown’s third and fourth series Lyla Barrett-Rye who portrayed the princess as a child
‘Her most recent work includes Humans for Channel 4, The Painkiller with Rob Brydon and Kenneth Branagh (Lyric, Belfast), Lucan with Rory Kinnear (ITV) and The D-Day Reports series with Benedict Cumberbatch (Radio 4)…
‘She has been involved in the New Voices seasons at the Old Vic, numerous workshops for the National Theatre Studio, Royal Court and comedy improvisation for Talkback Thames.’
In 2006, she starred in one episode of The IT Crowd as Delina and in 2015 she was in four episodes of Humans as Dr. Aveling.
Timothy Laurence – Theo Fraser Steele
Not previously featured on the show
Timothy Laurence: The Crown’s fifth season will feature The Thick Of It star and London deli owner Theo Fraser Steele (left) playing Princess Anne’s husband (pictured right in 2010)
The Thick Of It star and London deli owner Theo plays Princess Anne’s husband Timothy Laurence.
The role of Timothy was not played in previous seasons as the pair did not tie the knot until 1992 after she had split from first husband Mark Phillips.
Theo’s acting career spans back to 1996, when he starred in Casualty while he also played Christian Holhurst in political satire The Thick Of It in 2005. As well as acting, he is a successful deli owner and runs a shop with his wife in Hackney.
He comes from Essex and trained to be an actor in London before working with Bill Nighy and Stella Gonet in Richard Eyre’s production of David Hare’s Skylight at the National Theatre aged just 23.
The actor went on to have many stage roles both in the capital and across the country. In The Thick Of It he played an MP’s son who was shoved up against a wall and subjected to a torrent of abuse by the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker.
Speaking in 2018 about moving from acting to food, when he told The West Morland Gazette: ‘We didn’t choose to do it – we sort of fell into it. It started with just me. We now own the business and have a staff of 12’.
Prince Andrew – James Murray
Previously played by Tom Byrne and Marlo Woolley
Prince Andrew: Cutting It star James Murray, 47, (left) will play the Queen’s second son in the new series (right in 2001)
James, 47, will play Prince Andrew in the new seasons, replacing Tom Byrne, who played the Queen’s second son in series four and Marlo Woolley who portrayed the prince as a young boy.
James’ previous endeavours include his portrayal of Stephen Hart in ITV’s Primeval and playing Liam Carney in BBC One’s season four of Cutting It and he acted as the lead DCI in completely improvised show Suspects.
The Mancunian actor, who is married to actress Sarah Parish, recently filmed Masters of Air – the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks-produced Apple TV series.
Younger roles: Tom Byrne (left) took on the role in series four and Marlo Woolley portrayed the prince as a young boy
Speaking about his new role, James revealed that he tries not to judge his scandal-plagued character and he tries not to be influenced by what we know now’ about Prince Andrew.
He said: ‘This is the 90s, so the divorce, Toegate’, referring to the incident where Sarah Ferguson, 61, was photographed as her Texan financial advisor John Bryant sucked on her toes after her separation from Andrew in 1992.
James continued: ‘If I’m being professional, it’s not really my job to feel too much, to judge the character,’ he said. ‘And remember, we’re in the 1990s, before all the things that we know now.
‘I just have to read what’s on the page, do my research and play that quasi-fictional character. Because otherwise, it’s just going to get in the way.’
Sarah, Duchess of York – Emma Laird Craig
Previously portrayed by Jessica Aquilina
Sarah, Duchess Of York: Theatre actress Emma Laird Craig (left) will take on her first big role playing Sarah Ferguson (right in 1987) after just a handful of small roles in the likes of EastEnders and Casting Nina
Theatre actress Emma, 41, will take on her first big role playing Sarah Ferguson after just a handful of small roles in the likes of EastEnders and Casting Nina.
Cameo: Fergie was previously portrayed by Jessica Aquilina
The Duchess of York offered words of wisdom to Emma upon hearing she’d landed the role, saying: ‘Just do the best job she can.
‘To be cast in The Crown… a very successful TV show, how fabulous!’
Fergie was also forced to deny claims that she ‘made repeated contact’ with The Crown producers after sources say Prince Andrew’s ex-wife sought to partner with them on a TV adaptation of her romance novel, Her Heart For A Compass.
Fergie offered to help out with information on her character in the show and the inner workings of the Royal Family.
A source said: ‘She made repeated contact via emails and on the phone. She offered advice and background information and said that she had an inside view which would make her invaluable to the show as a consultant.’
She said: ‘I have watched The Crown and I thought it was filmed beautifully. The cinematography was excellently done. I loved the way they included my wedding.
‘I did write to Andy Harries, who produced The Crown, but it was more about the idea of getting Her Heart For A Compass turned into a film or a TV series than it was about my portrayal.’
Prince Edward – Sam Woolf
Previously played by Angus Imrie and Sidney Jackson
Prince Edward: Sam Woolf (left) will be taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child (pictured right in 1995)
Sam, 30, will be taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child, Prince Edward, previously played by Angus Imrie in his teenage years and Sidney Jackson as a child.
The British star is relatively new to the acting but has had a minor role in Channel 4’s Humans, where he starred alongside The Crown castmate, Claudia Harrison.
Sam also appeared in one episode of Call The Midwife and on CB Strike.
Younger: The role was previously played by Angus Imrie (left) in his teenage years and Sidney Jackson as a child
Although he may not have much TV experience, he trained at the one of Britain’s most prestigious drama institutions, The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
He also hit the headlines in 2020 when he partnered with his brother Nicky to provide isolated patients audiobooks during their Covid recovery.
While Edward has not featured heavily in the series so far, the fifth and sixth season should offer a meatier part as the final two seasons are set to cover events including his 1999 marriage to the Countess of Wessex.
Princess Margaret – Lesley Manville
Previously played by Helena Bonham Carter, Vanessa Kirby and Beau Gadsdon
Princess Margaret: Oscar-nominee Lesley Maville, 66, (left) takes on the role of Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister (pictured right in 1981)
Oscar-nominee Lesley, 66, takes on the role of Princess Margaret, following on from Helena Bonham Carter for the fifth and final series of the Netflix hit.
The lively monarch was embodied by Vanessa Kirby for the first two seasons and by child actress Beau Gadsdon for the early scenes.
Lesley, who recently played the lead in BBC sitcom Mum, has previously starred in Vera Drake and Maleficent alongside Imelda Statunton.
Lesley is believed to have been producers first choice for the role and is set to play the Queen’s younger sister during one of the ‘darkest periods of her life’.
Confirming the news in a statement, she said: ‘I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret. The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don’t want to let the side down.
‘Furthermore, to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy.’
She previously revealed that she had struggled to embody the royal as she ‘has no knowledge’ of that lifestyle, and instead found it easier to play a cleaning lady in her latest film, Mrs Harris Goes To Paris.
She told The Daily Mail’s Alison Boshoff: ‘It is in my bones. That was the life I knew, because I had working-class parents. It’s been more of a stretch when I’m playing someone like Princess Margaret, because I had no knowledge of that life.’
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother – Marcia Warren
Previously played by Marion Bailey and Victoria Hamilton
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother: Marcia Warren (left) takes on the role of The Queen Mother in her final years (pictured right in 1985)
Taking on the role of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in her final years before her 2002 death is veteran actress Marcia, 78.
The Queen Mother was played by Victoria Hamilton in the first two series of The Crown, before the role went to Marion Bailey for series 3 and 4, where the character took a backseat from the main drama and only made a few appearances.
Marcia trained as an actress at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and has won two Laurence Olivier Theatre Awards. On screen she appeared in No Place Like Home and Edge of Heaven among others.
It’s been claimed that people who knew the Queen Mother have been ‘horrified’ by her ‘dour’ portrayal so far on the Crown.
Past roles: The Queen Mother was played by Victoria Hamilton (left) in the first two series of The Crown, which focuses on Queen Elizabeth’s first years as a monarch and then Marion Bailey for seasons three and four
Historian and royal expert Gareth Russell revealed that the Queen Mother, who was 101 when she died, learned to do an impression of Sacha Baron Cohen’s satiric character Ali G after finding Prince William and Prince laughing at the comedian’s skit.
He said: ‘Season one they didn’t think was too far off the mark, season two they were starting to worry, season three they were worried, season four they were horrified.
‘One of them said, “By season four, anything The Queen Mother does on screen you can assume the real one did the opposite.”‘
He went on to reveal that Queen Elizabeth’s mother had managed to keep up with the times and pop culture references in her last years thanks to her great-grand-sons.
Prince William – Timothee Sambo
Previously played by Elliott and Jasper Hughes and Lucas Barber-Grant
Prince William: Timothee Samborand (left) will be playing Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ eldest child (right in 1992)
As seen on screen: Timothee follows on from Lucas Barber-Grant (pictured with season four Princess Diana, Emma Corrin) and twins Elliott and Jasper Hughes who portrayed the royal in season four
Timothee, 11, is taking on the role of young Prince William in season five of The Crown, following on from Lucas Barber-Grant and twins Elliott and Jasper Hughes who portrayed the royal in season four.
Like the prince he’s playing, it’s believed Timothee is a keen footballer, playing for Rockslane Chiswick U11s.
He’s also a talented writer, receiving a commendation in the Year 5 category for a poem he penned during lockdown in the Chiswick Book Festival’s 10th Young People’s Poetry Competition last year.
Prince Harry – Teddy Hawley
Previously played by Arran Tinker
Prince Harry: Teddy Hawley, seven, is portraying the younger royal in his childhood years (pictured right in 1992)
Cameo: Harry was previously played by Arran Tinker in the fourth series (pictured)
Teddy, seven, is taking on the role of a young Prince Harry, following on from Arran Tinker’s brief appearance in season four.
It was previously said there was a dearth of ginger-haired actors who could play Prince Harry when casting agents went on the hunt earlier this year.
The desperation was such that show bosses were considering dyeing a child actor’s hair red so he could bear an adequate resemblance to the Duke of Sussex.
Prime Minister John Major – Jonny Lee Miller
Not previously featured on the show
John Major: Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller, 49, (left) will play the Conservative Prime Minister (pictured right in 1991)
In a ‘surprise’ casting, it was revealed Trainspotting star Jonny, 49, will play John Major, who was in charge of the country from November 1990 until May 1997.
The Tory Prime Minister followed on from Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, with The Iron Lady played by Gillian Anderson in the wildly-popular Netflix period drama.
Sir John was Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997, and served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary under Thatcher from 1987 to 1990.
Norma Major: Flora Montgomery (left) is taking on the role of Major’s wife Norma (pictured right in 1995)
Sir John was known for having a mild-mannered style which may appear to be in stark contrast to Jonny, who is known for playing bad boy characters like Sick Boy in Trainspotting.
A source said: ‘It may seem like an unlikely casting as the two men couldn’t be more different, but the creators of the Crown aren’t interested in an actor playing a version of themselves.
‘It was a similar idea to when Sex Education star Gillian Anderson was cast as Margaret Thatcher in the last series of The Crown, a decision which surprised fans of the show at the time.’
Northern Irish actress Flora Montgomery takes on the role of Norma Major, the Prime Minister’s wife.
Tony Blair – Bertie Carvel
Not previously featured on the show
Tony Blair: Bertie Carvel, 45, is to portray the Labour prime minister who took over from John Major (pictured right in 1997)
Bertie, 45, whose roles have ranged from Nick Clegg to Rupert Murdoch is to portray Tony Blair in The Crown, the Labour prime minister who took over from John Major.
The actor is famed for his work in the theatre and has twice won a Laurence Olivier Award as well as a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play.
He is also known for playing Jonathan Strange in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Simon Foster in Doctor Foster.
Cherie Blair: Gentleman Jack star Lydia Leonard, 40, (left) will take on the role of his wife Cherie (pictured right in 1997)
Blair’s victory in the 1997 election saw Labour win by a landslide majority, making a net gain of 146 seats and winning 43.2% of the vote.
The overall result of the election ended 18 years of Conservative government, in their worst defeat since 1906.
Blair famously hailed Diana as ‘The People’s Princess’, following her death, while the Queen deemed her death a private matter and was not prepared for the national outpouring of emotion from the public.
The Crown wants to examine more of the constitutional crisis behind the scenes; and how the Queen was said to have felt bullied by her Prime Minister into making a public declaration about Diana.
Gentleman Jack star Lydia Leonard, 40, will take on the role of his wife Cherie.
Martin Bashir – Prasanna Puwanarajah
Not previously featured on the show
Martin Bashir: Prasanna Puwanarajah (left) takes on the role of the disgraced BBC journalist (pictured right in 1995)
Doctor Foster star Prasanna, 41, is taking on one of the most controversial roles of the season as journalist Martin Bashir.
An entire episode in the upcoming fifth series will be dedicated to the shocking Panorama sit down which was viewed by more than 22 million people in the UK at the time and described by commentators in 1995 as a ‘bombshell’ that destroyed the image of a ‘contented, caring and united’ Royal Family.
An independent inquiry later found that Martin deceived Diana to get the interview and then lied to BBC managers.
He got a BBC graphic artist to produce fake bank statements that appeared to show payments by a newspaper group to an ex-member of staff of Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother.
The inquiry said this was to gain the Earl’s confidence so he would introduce Martin to Diana.
It is thought the interview contributed to her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996 – a year prior to her fatal car crash in the Tunnel de l’Alma in Paris.
It is understood that Netflix will show how the discredited reporter persuaded Diana to give the interview by playing on her paranoia.
But to tell the story, it will recreate what an insider called ‘snippets’ from Diana’s Panorama appearance.
Dr Hasnat Khan – Humayun Saeed
Not previously featured on the show
Dr Hasnat Khan: Pakistani actor Humayun Saeed (left) will play Princess Diana’s former lover (pictured right in 2004)
Humayun, 50, will reportedly play Princess Diana’s love interest Hasnat Khan – who she branded ‘Mr Wonderful’ – in the highly-anticipated fifth series of The Crown.
As well as being an accoladed actor, the Pakistani film star is also a producer and co-founded the media production house Six Sigma Plus.
Humayun was often ranked among the highest paid TV actors of his time and boasts over 5million followers on Instagram.
Hasnat – a British-Pakistani heart and lung surgeon – was romantically involved with Princess Diana from 1995-1997, who nicknamed him ‘Natty’ and branded him ‘Mr Wonderful.’
During their fling, which ended in the summer of 1997, Diana – who is said to have considered him the love of her life – met the surgeon’s family and even considered converting to Islam.
Speaking in 2008, the surgeon broke an 11-year silence about the Princess to say, ‘I found her a very normal person with great qualities.’
The couple met at the Royal Brompton Hospital when Diana was visiting a friend who was recovering from a heart operation.
They then pursued a discreet, two-year affair which ended in the early summer of 1997. Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31 of that year.
Key historical moments involving the Royal Family between 1999 and 2003
1999: The marriage of the Queen’s son Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex: The wedding took place at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
2000: The Queen celebrates the Millennium: Millennium celebrations take place throughout the UK. The Millennium Dome in London is officially opened by HM The Queen on January 1.
2001: Queen Elizabeth reacts to 9/11 terrorist attacks: A week after the tragedy she sent a message to the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer to offer her condolences.
She wrote: ‘Each and every one of us has been shocked and numbed by what we have witnessed in these recent days.
‘At your service today, we think especially of the British victims. These are dark and harrowing times for families and friends of those who are missing or who suffered in the attack – many of you here today.
‘My thoughts and my prayers are with you all now and in the difficult days ahead’.
On September 13 The Queen ordered the Changing of the Guard ceremony to be paused for a two minute silence, followed by the playing of the American national anthem.
2002: The Queen’s Golden Jubilee: The Queen celebrated the milestone on February 6 and it was an international event to mark the 50th anniversary of her ascension to the throne.
On June 4, an estimated one million people headed to central London to line The Mall on the last day of the official celebrations.
Queen guitarist Brian May played ‘God Save The Queen’ from the roof of Buckingham Palace in her honour.
2002: The Queen dines at 10 Downing Street with the five living former Prime Ministers who served under her. She met with Tony Blair, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, James Callaghan and Edward Heath.
2002: The death of Princess Margaret: The Queen’s younger sister dies after suffering a stroke aged 71. The pair had had a troubled relationship after The Queen said she couldn’t marry her love Peter Townsend.
2002: The Queen Mother dies: She passed away aged 101 at Royal Lodge Windsor.