Princess Diana's life will be fictionalised on-screen once again in Pablo Larraín's "Spencer." The film comes just months after her portrayal in the hit Netflix series "The Crown" received criticism by some for painting her and the British monarchy in a bad light.
However, a relative of Queen Elizabeth II herself has become involved with "Spencer," which stars Kristen Stewart as the late Princess of Wales. Prince Donatus of Hesse(Germany), a third cousin of the British monarch, has loaned his property for the producers to use as a filming location.
Donatus's property, Schloss Kronberg, located in Tannus, Hesse, is being used in the film as a stand-in for Sandringham Estate, the Queen's residence in Norfolk. Schloss Kronberg was once the widow's residence of German Empress Victoria, daughter of English Queen Victoria. It was built for the dowager between 1889 and 1893, and originally named Schloss Friedrichshof in honour of her late husband, Emperor Frederick III (Friedrich III).
Victoria spent most of her time there until she died in 1901, after which it was inherited by her youngest daughter, Princess Margaret of Prussia, Landgravine of Hesse. Today, the castle has been transformed into a five-star hotel, profits of which go to the House of Hesse, headed by Donatus.
Donatus is also related to the queen's husband Prince Philip. He is a great-nephew of Prince Christoph of Hesse, who was married to Princess Sophie, sister to the Duke of Edinburgh. He was also among a handful of German relations who welcomed her and Prince Philip to Frankfurt during a royal visit in 2015.
He said at the time: "We had a good table and I know her of course as a relative. I see her once in a while. Normally I meet them in England at Windsor. It's lovely to see them here."
A royal insider told Sebastian Shakespeare for The Daily Mail that the queen would not be happy that a relative of the royal family is facilitating the movie, which covers a weekend in Princess Diana's life in 1991 where she decides to end her marriage to Prince Charles after spending the Christmas holiday with the family at Sandringham.
However, Donatus's compatriots insist that he couldn't have declined the filming location offer as his business is also hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic. A source revealed that he recently had to shut down his other five-star Grand Hotel in Frankfurt after suffering huge losses.
Another said: "My sympathy is with him. He's charming — a very nice man. The family has a lot of property, including a vast place, Panker, but perhaps not so much cash. They will be paid well for permitting filming."