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Princess Diana’s Bodyguard Has Seen Spencer, Shares What’s Accurate And What’s Not

Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer
(Image credit: Neon )

Pablo Larrain’s Spencer opens with a title card that reads ‘A fable from a true tragedy,’ giving the audience their first clue that the film they are about to see may slightly differ from reality. Every historical film takes a bit of dramatic license, but just how much of Spencer was fact and how much was fable? Princess Diana’s real life bodyguard has seen the movie, and he’s officially weighed in on the Kristen Stewart biopic

Ken Wharfe served as bodyguard to Prince Harry and Prince William before becoming the personal security detail for Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1988. In an exclusive chat with People, Ken Wharfe revealed what aspects of Spencer were true to life and which were fantasy. While the actual Christmas celebration in Spencer may not have happened, Ken Wharfe was present for the holiday festivities at the Sandringham estate that inspired the events of the film. 

What Happened in Spencer

Although Spencer features hallucinations of Anne Boleyn and several dream sequences, many of the film’s aspects were right on the money. Kristen Stewart often sneaks away from family gatherings to hang out with staff members like Darren, the Royal Head Chef (Sean Harris). Ken Wharfe confirmed that Princess Diana tended to avoid other aristocrats:   

[Diana] confined herself to spending time in the kitchen with the chef or with people like me, in the hope that time would while away, and she could get back to London.

Something else the film got right? In Spencer, Much of Diana’s inner turmoil is laid out for the audience to see; however, Pablo Larrain makes it clear that her scene partners are never privy to the visions in her head. Royal biographer Ingrid Seward, who often conversed with the late Princess of Wales, agreed that Diana would not have made a fuss in front of her royal in-laws. She said: 

She would have put on a good front for the Queen and the family. She was a properly brought-up girl and would have considered it rude to make a scene or a spectacle of herself.

What Happened to Princess Diana in Real Life 

Not every movie can be one-hundred percent accurate, and Spencer is no exception. The most notable example comes in the form of Maggie, the Royal Dresser (an excellent Sally Hawkins), a character that was fabricated for the film. Kristen Stewart’s Diana shares an emotionally intimate relationship with Maggie, but their closeness seems to be a bit of Hollywood magic. Ken Wharfe said: 

From my experience, Diana never once confided in her dressers.

While Spencer may have fudged some of the details, Ken Wharfe seemed pleased with the film overall. He even complimented Kristen Stewart’s performance: 

Out of all the people who have played Diana over the past 10 years, she's the closest to her. She managed to perfect her mannerisms.

High praise, coming from someone who actually knew Princess Diana. Take note, Oscar voters. 

Spencer is now playing in theaters everywhere. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.