Royal Fans Overwhelmingly Say This Actor Best Portrayed Princess Diana - Exclusive Survey

One of the biggest challenges an actor can take on is assuming the part of an actual historic figure. Not only do they have to look and sound convincingly like the person, they also have to put themselves into their character's frame of mind. And when that person is the late Princess Diana, the challenge becomes more difficult still. The royal made herself beloved to the public through her compassion, fashion sense, and public service, but she was also a complex woman who secretly waged a dangerous battle with an eating disorder and responded to then-Prince Charles' affair with then-Camilla Parker Bowles by having assignations of her own. 

Over the years, a number of films and TV series have focused on "The People's Princess," with acclaimed performances by talented actors. Some have taken viewers through Diana's early courtship years through her final moments; others, such as 1996's "Princess in Love" and 2013's "Diana," have offered glimpses into the princess' relationships with Dr. Hasnat Khan and Captain James Hewitt. Among those who have tackled the role are Kristen Stewart, Naomi Watts, and Julie Cox. For Netflix's "The Crown," two performers rose to the occasion: Emma Corrin and Elizabeth Debicki. Who played her best? The List recently conducted an online poll to find out. Surprisingly, the race wasn't even close: Royals fans say one actor stands head and (well dressed) shoulders above the others.

Fans say Emma Corrin best portrayed the People's Princess

It wasn't even remotely close: Respondents to The List's YouTube poll overwhelmingly chose Emma Corrin as the best portrayer of Princess Diana. They appeared in Season 4 of "The Crown" as the young Lady Diana Spencer. The season followed the young princess as she wed Prince Charles, became a devoted parent to Princes William and Harry, and became a staunch advocate for AIDS patients. Corrin also broke hearts with their realistic enactments of Diana's eating disorder and her realization that her husband was still seeing Camilla Parker Bowles on the side. The outstanding performance won Corrin a Golden Globe Award, a Critics Choice Award, an Emmy nomination, and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. It's also notable that Corrin is the only non-binary actor on the list. 

Coming in tied at a distant second were Elizabeth Debicki and Kristen Stewart, who each received 17% of the votes. Debicki played the older Diana in Season 5 of "The Crown," while Stewart stunned in "Spencer," a film about the princess' decision to end her crumbling marriage during the royals' 1991 Christmas holidays at Sandringham. Naomi Watts and Julie Cox brought up the rear at 13% and 4% for their turns as Diana in "Diana" and "Princess in Love." However, this doesn't mean their performances weren't outstanding; since "The Crown" is a newer show, it may well be that viewers remember it more distinctly.