Emma Corrin, who portrays young Princess Diana on The Crown season 4, no doubt learned a lot about the Princess of Wales during filming. She was “shocked” to find out, however, that the real Diana had in fact performed a rendition of “All I Ask Of You” from Phantom of the Opera for Prince Charles.
In the season 4 episode “Avalanche,” Diana tells Charles that she has a surprise for him for his birthday, which turns out to be a VHS tape of her performing the now-classic Broadway song on the production’s set.
Phantom‘s official Twitter account also confirmed the true-to-life moment, posting, “Princess Diana on one of her several visits to the Phantom. ‘All I Ask of You’ was always one of her favourite songs, with her once making a private video on the Phantom’s stage. Excited to see this moment in @TheCrownNetflix with the wonderful Emma Corrin. #TheCrown.”
The Crown head researcher Annie Sulzberger also verified the scene’s authenticity, telling The Telegraph, “We did not make this up. There were a number of [press] reports on this, enough to make us feel comfortable including it in the show. It’s a story that pre-existed the writing of the script.”
The only unclear detail around the real Diana’s performance is whether the Princess sang the song herself or simply danced to it.
“To minimize the number of witnesses, there is a chance they played a recording,” Sulzberger said.
As for Corrin, the actress filmed “All I Ask Of You” and her “Uptown Girl” ballet scene in the span of two days, which she called “overwhelming.”
“I was knackered,” she said. “Filming any kind of performance sequence means you have to do it a thousand times. And there were also a lot of people around.
Corrin also described the experience singing “All I Ask Of You” in the company of the Phantom cast and conductor.
“The real conductor is obviously very used to doing it his way,” she said. “He’d been conducting it for years. And I had learned it a different way. So I started singing, and it was awful, because we basically were doing two different things. I remember everyone thinking, Oh no, because either I was going to have to try and learn a whole different version of timing and of everything, or he was going to have to bend his way. And it was fine. It was just terrifying. I was so worried about doing it badly.”
Elizabeth Debicki is set to portray Diana in The Crown‘s final two seasons. Season 5 will begin production in June 2021.