07/05/2012

Naomi Watts puts on her Princess Di mask

Princess Diana and Naomi Watts
Princess Diana, left, will be portrayed by Naomi Watts in an upcoming biopic.

Fifteen years after her death, Princess Diana continues to fascinate people, heightened by the legacy being created by her sons William and Harry.

She was the anti-royal princess, the woman who fought the Palace leash, exposed its weaknesses and scandals (of which she participated), and finally broke free to re-invent herself as The People's Princess.

Watts diana 1Capturing her essence on film has been a spotty exercise, but one of the most ambitious is underway now, with British-born Naomi Watts in the title role. The movie has already had a title change -- from  "Caught in Flight," to the much more marketable "Diana."

With filming underway this week, the producers, Ecosse Films, has begun its hype by releasing photos of Watts as Diana. At 43, she is seven years older than Diana was when she died in 1997.

Ecosse describes the film as a "compelling portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales during the final two years of her life. It charts how finding true personal happiness allowed her to achieve her defining successes, as she evolved into a major international campaigner and humanitarian."

In those last years, Diana's search for love was as dominant in the headlines as anything she did on the social welfare scale. In the movie, screen time will be devoted to her love relationships with Dodi Fayed (played by Regina-born Cas Anvar) and surgeon Hasnat Khan (played by Naveen Andrews).

Oliver Hirschbiegel, best known for the Oscar-nominated Hitler drama "Downfall"

Watts -- whose credits include "Mulholland Drive" and "King Kong" -- is easily the highest profile actress to play Diana in film incarnations. Others have included Lesley Harcourt, Amy Seccombe and Genevieve O'Reilly.

The director, Oliver Hirschbiegel, is best known for his 2004 Oscar-nominated "Downfall," a look at Hitler's last days.

Photo gallery: The life and times of Princess Diana

MONACO HAS NEW ROYAL COUPLE

Casiraghi
Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo, seen here at the wedding of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock in July 2011, are expected to marry next year. His mother, Princess Caroline, announced their engagement. (AFP/GettyImages)

After seven years of getting to know one another, Andrea Casiraghi -- the grandson of the late Princess Grace -- and his socialite girlfriend, Tatiana Santo Domingo, have finally committed to an official engagement.

Casiraghi's mother, Princess Caroline, made the announcement in a statement from the Palace in Monaco. Though no date has been announced, Vogue magazine in Italy said the wedding will be in 2013.

Santo Domingo and Casiraghi, both 28, met at school in Paris.

Santo Domingo comes from a multi-national background. Her father, the late Julio Mario Santo Domingo Jr., was once tagged as the second richest Colombian businessman before his death in 2008. Tatiana's mother is Vera Rechulski, hails from Brazil. And Tatiana herself was born in Switzerland.

While she keeps up her social life, she is also heavily involved with Muzungu Sisters, an ethical fashion company she founded in 2011 with Dana Alikhani. The online shop that offers "artisan-crafted" clothes from around the world while promoting fair labour practices.

Casiraghi is currently second in line to Monaco's throne, behind his mother, who is known as the Princess of Hanover. That will change if/when the reigning Prince Albert has a child with his wife Charlene Wittstock. That couple was married last July.

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