“The word ‘ghost’ is unhelpful. I was never writing anything from a supernatural perspective, not at all,” he told Deadline. “When someone has just passed, they’re still vivid in the minds of all those close to them and love them. And sometimes it’s impossible to keep them out of the minds.”
He also told Variety he wanted to portray the uniqueness of Diana’s public persona.
“Diana was such a mythic character, with such a strong hold over all of our imaginations. That was evident in the aftermath of her death, and in the mass outpouring of grief. Diana was unique, and I suppose that’s what inspired me to find a unique way of representing her. She deserved special treatment narratively,” he said.
The Crown, though editorialising about the thoughts, motivations and private moments of these very real people, has always prided itself on meticulous fact checking and tight scripting.
The ghost scenes that we aren’t supposed to call ghost scenes feel at odds with both those things.
“You know I loved you so much, so deeply, but so painfully too,” the conjuring of Diana tells Charles in the scene. “It’s over now. It’ll be easier for everyone with me gone. Admit it. You’ve had that thought already.”
Easier for who? Is the series portraying these as thoughts that Diana, a very real person who died, would say about her own death? Or is it meant to be Charles’ thoughts and projections played back to him? Is it a meta-commentary on the years that followed 1997?
It is not explained further, but actress Elizabeth Debicki told the Hollywood Reporter the scene was about being able to portray the unsaid between her Diana and Dominic West’s Prince Charles.
“In this imaginary incarnation, they’re able to say what they never maybe were able to say, and I think that’s very real and accurate in grieving somebody,” she said. “Having the opportunity as the character to say the thing that I feel I probably wanted to say inside that character for two seasons just absolutely destroyed me, but in the best way.”