Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki from 'The Crown'
Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki from 'The Crown' Image Credit: Reuters and Netflix

Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki had a strong feeling that stepping into the role of the beloved Princess Diana during the last two years of her life in seasons 5 and 6 of mammoth Netflix hit, ‘The Crown’, could be that make or break point in her career.

The 32-year-old, 6ft 3inches talent, was picking up the momentous mantle from actress Emma Corrin, who played the late Princess Diana in season 4. But the most dramatic and tragic portions to be played were placed on Debicki in the final episodes and she played that complex role with aching vulnerability and grace. Her portions explored the events surrounding Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997 and its aftermath.

But she needn’t have worried about doing justice to such a signficant and fascinating character. The reviews for the royal drama were mixed, but they were unanimous in praising Debicki’s performance as Diana.

Elizabeth Debicki PRINCESS DIANA-1711368712108
Elizabeth Debicki in 'The Crown', out on Netflix now

“The empathy with which she portrays the last eight weeks of Diana’s life and the likeness to Diana is extraordinary, that flirty cocking of the head, a slightly lost, lonely soul who ends up in various swimsuits in the gaudy Hello! mag environs of Mohammad Al Fayed’s yacht,” wrote the reviewer from ‘The Times’. The awards circuit were equally magnanimus towards her. 

Debicki’s burgeoning trophy cabinet including an Emmy Award, a Critics Choice Award, and a Golden Globe Award is proof of her stellar turn as the late royalty. Earlier this month, Debicki was also nominated in the Best Actress category at the upcoming BAFTAs.

But it wasn’t an easy role to play, said the actress in several interviews before her season’s premiere.

“All of the scenes in the lead-up to the end of the final season were in a cumulative way, very difficult. We shot them over a number of weeks. I think shooting the sequences where the two characters are being really pursued by the paparazzi was just a really horrible experience. It’s very physical,” said Debicki, in an earlier interview with People Magazine.

But playing Princess Diana and embodying her spirit felt like an incredible honour, she said when she landed the role in August 2020.

“Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many … It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one.”

Elizabeth Debicki
Elizabeth Debicki puts her best foot forward while playing the late Princess Diana in 'The Crown'

But who’s Debicki, who has swept us off our feet with her tremendously real and searing performance as a real-life royalty. We give you the answers …

Who’s Elizabeth Debicki?

Born in France, but raised in Australia, Debicki is a trained ballet dancer. Her parents were ballet dancers and she moved to Melbourne when she turned five years old. She made her film debut in the 2011 comedy, ‘A Few Best Men’, in a supporting role as a secretary in this romantic comedy. She was 21 years old at the time of the film’s release in October 2011. But it was the iconic filmmaker Baz Luhrmann who discovered her in Hollywood when he cast her as Jordan Baker in the 2013 spectacle, ‘The Great Gatsby’, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Before her career-defining turn as the late Princess Diana in ‘The Crown’, Debicki chose to be a part of a string of small roles in big, star-studded projects including ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’, ‘Tenet’ and Tom Hiddleston’s miniseries, ‘The Night Manager’, the hit John Le Carré television adaptation. In the latter, she played the girlfriend to Hugh Laurie’s arms dealer in the hit mini series. The year 2018 was a significant one for Debicki who was seen in films including the sci-fi thriller, “The Cloverfield Paradox”, animated film “Peter Rabbit” and award-courting heist drama, “Widows”.

She followed it up with the HBO horror series "Lovecraft Country" in 2019. Before her turn in ‘The Crown’, she had at least 14 releases under her belt.

great gatsby
Elizabeth Debicki in 'The Great Gatsby'

Did she always want to act?

Debicki claims that being on stage and performing for a crowd has always been her “happiest place”.

“I always loved being on stage when I was young and doing my ballet concerts ... It just became clear to me that was my happiest place. The kick you get out of that connection with a faceless crowd, nothing beats that kick, and I felt that when I was really young.” Debicki said in an interview with The Sunday Morning Herald in 2018. She is armed with a Bachelor Of Arts degree in Drama from the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne.

What will she be seen in next?

Debicki is a part of the upcoming American slasher film, ‘MaXXXine’, written and directed by Ti West. It’s the final instalment of the X trilogy, following X and Pearl. The film stars Mia Goth, who returns in the role of Maxine (and also serves as producer), alongside Debicki, Moses Sumney, Michelle Monaghan, Bobby Cannavale, Lily Collins, Halsey, Giancarlo Esposito, and Kevin Bacon. In the film, as the only survivor of a massacre, Maxine sets out for fame and success in 1980s Los Angeles.

Don't Miss It!

'The Crown' is streaming on Netflix now