Well-written dramas about the royal family are like buses; for years, you don’t get any – and then, all of a sudden, two come along at once.
Hot on the success of Netflix’s The Crown, Ryan Murphy has announced that he’s set to tackle the story of Prince Charles and Princess Diana for the second season of his anthology series, Feud.
Read more: Princess Diana’s life in pictures
The first season of the show, set to debut on FX on Sunday, is based on the legendary backstage battle between screen legends Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange), who became bitter rivals shortly after starring in classic 1962 film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
And, while it sounds a little like your typically trashy ‘woman versus woman’ show, The Hollywood Reporter reports Murphy envisions the series as being so much more than that.
“[It’s a] two hander that’s really about the human dilemma of pain and misunderstanding,” he said at a recent event. “And I think you need a long period of time, maybe 20 to 40 years, to have a big back story.”
The second series, however, will be tackling the same emotional issues – albeit in the context of Diana and Charles’ divorce.
The couple, as fans of the royals will remember, tied the knot in 1981 – when Diana was just 20. Thousands tuned in to watch the fairytale wedding, and it seemed as if the Prince and Princess had found their happy-ever-after when they went on to welcome two children, William and Harry.
However their story, of course, ended in tragedy. At some point in the early ‘80s, Charles reconnected with his old flame, Camilla, and he and Diana separated after she learned about his affair.
Famously, she went on to speak to BBC’s Panorama about her estranged husband’s indiscretions, and uttered the infamous words: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
Diana and Charles, at the behest of Queen Elizabeth II, filed for divorce, and their marriage ended on 28 August 1996. As part of the divorce settlement Diana was stripped of her royal title - Her Royal Highness - and instead became known as Diana, Princess of Wales.
It is understood she was awarded a £17m lump sum and £350,000 a year to run her private office. Diana and Charles agreed to share custody of their sons – but, just one year later, on 31 August 1997, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris.
“I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts, but I don't see myself being Queen of this country,” she said, speaking two years before her untimely death. “I don't think many people will want me to be Queen.”
As well as Murphy’s dramatization of Diana and Charles’ marriage and divorce, their story is also set to be told in season 3 of Netflix's The Crown, meaning both Feud: Charles and Diana and The Crown's versions of the tale will hit screens in 2018.
Images: Rex Pictures