‘Spencer’: we reveal the Princess Diana biographical film’s soundtrack, cast and release date

15 October 2021, 12:20

Kristen Stewart plays Diana Spencer
Kristen Stewart plays Diana Spencer. Picture: Alamy

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

Kristen Stewart dons Princess Diana’s iconic blonde bob for this biographical psychological drama, which tells the story of her decision to end her marriage to Prince Charles.

Spencer takes place across three days, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day 1991.

The film depicts Diana, Princess of Wales’ stay at Sandringham House along with the rest of the British royal family for the Christmas festivities.

However, underlying the visit are rumours of an affair and a possible divorce, and Diana struggles with her grip on reality as she decides whether or not it is time to run, and save herself.

Spencer is directed by Pablo Larraín, who also directed the 2016 biographical drama film, Jackie, based on Jackie Kennedy.

Read more: The time Princess Diana casually sat at a piano and played Rachmaninov

When will Spencer be released?

The film had its world premiere in competition at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on 3 September 2021 and is due to be released in cinemas in both the United Kingdom and the United States on 5 November 2021.

While the film is highly anticipated and film critics have already predicted an outpouring of acclaim for Stewart’s depiction of the Princess, some royal critics have disapproved of the film’s portrayal of the darker aspects of Princess Diana’s real life.

Spencer welcomes its audience with the onscreen words: “A fable from a true tragedy,”. This immediately sets the mood for the almost two-hour long film which depicts a haunting reimagining of a tense Christmas holiday in the life of Princess Diana.

While from the introduction, it’s clear that this film will be more fiction than fact, writer Steven Knight tackles issues including Diana’s mental health, with multiple scenes focusing on the Princess’ eating disorder.

Others however, have praised the film for its disarming frankness on Diana’s struggle.

Kristen Stewart plays Diana Spencer
Kristen Stewart plays Diana Spencer. Picture: Alamy

Watch the trailer for Spencer

The first full-length trailer for Spencer is out now, and depicts Princess Diana arriving late for Christmas 1991 at Sandringham House.

In the trailer (watch below), Princess Diana is seen preparing and attending Christmas traditions with obvious looks of grief and distress as she attempts to put on a brave face for Christmas, despite her husband’s affair rumours.

The final line has Diana ask, “Will they kill me, do you think?”.

The trailer is accompanied by a mesmerising arrangement of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ performed by Belgian women’s choir, Scala & Kolacny Brothers.

Read more: Yes, Princess Diana really danced to Uptown Girl as in The Crown. She also played piano.

Who composed the soundtrack for Spencer?

Spencer’s composer is lead guitarist and keyboardist of the alternative rock band Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood.

The talented musician is also an established film composer, with previous credits including American period neo-noir crime film, Inherent Vice, and the 2017 psychological thriller film, You Were Never Really Here.

Greenwood’s soundtrack is an unnerving, genre-bending collision of free jazz and classical baroque.

His use of cello continuo specifically to portray tradition within the royal scenes, contrasts highly with the muted jazz trumpet we hear accompanying Diana’s not-so-traditional antics throughout the film.

The soundtrack is yet to be released, and a release date has not been announced, but we do know that the score will be released by Mercury KX, the London-based modern classical, electronic, and avant-garde music record label.

Jonny Greenwood in Radiohead
Jonny Greenwood in Radiohead. Picture: Getty

Who’s in the cast of Spencer?

31-year-old American actor, Kristen Stewart portrays the 31-year-old Princess Diana during her three-day stay at Sandringham House over Christmas 1991.

She is joined by Jack Farthing as Prince Charles, and Timothy Spall who plays the ever-watchful equerry, Major Alistair Gregory.

Jack Nielen and Freddie Spry play Princess Diana’s young children, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Primary household attendants are played by Golden Globe-winning actor Sally Hawkins, as Diana’s dresser, and the Royal Head Chef is played by Sean Harris.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is played by the Scottish actor Stella Gonet, and the late Prince Philip by German actor Richard Sammel.

Kristen Stewart with her two onscreen sons
Kristen Stewart with her two onscreen sons. Picture: Alamy

Spencer will be released in UK and US cinemas on 5 November 2021.