Actress Emma Corrin has won rave reviews for her portrayal of troubled Princess Diana in The Crown.
But – as our exclusive pictures show – her first stage kiss reveals that she has a pedigree when it comes to playing the victim in a doomed romance.
When she was 20, Corrin was photographed as she starred in a Cambridge University production of Irish dramatist Brian Friel’s tragi-comedy Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Emma Corrin, pictured here aged 20 appearing in a Cambridge University production of Brian Friel’s tragi-comedy Philadelphia, Here I Come!
The 2016 production featured the actresses first screen kiss. Those who knew her at Cambridge knew Emma would make it big
Emma Corrin, pictured here with Josh O’Connor in Almeria, Spain, is playing Princess Diana in the latest series of The Crown
For the key scene Corrin, sporting a short-cropped hairstyle, had to share a passionate kiss with the play’s lead character, Gareth ‘Gar’ O’Donnell, who was played by James McMullan. The play was staged by the university’s Emmanuel Dramatic Society in February 2016, when Corrin was studying English, education and drama at St John’s College.
Set in the fictional Irish town of Ballybeg, the drama takes place on the night before and the morning of Gar’s departure for a new life in the United States.
As he contemplates his future, Gar also reflects on the relationships that shaped his life – including his romance with Kate Doogan, played by Corrin, a local woman he had hoped to marry.
But the couple’s dream of marital bliss is scuppered when Doogan’s father, a local politician who disapproved of the relationship, talks him out of proposing to her.
The play’s themes of thwarted love and family betrayal clearly set Corrin, now 24, in good stead for her starring role in The Crown.
Student newspaper The Tab was full of praise for the actress. Its reviewer wrote: ‘Though there isn’t the space to discuss every performance, Emma Corrin, particularly, brings a breathless, youthful excitement to the stage as the lover Gar should have married in his youth. Her later turn as a shyer member of Gar’s group is hilariously realised.’
Corrin, who was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells, displayed a passion for acting at a very young age. She was a drama scholar at Woldingham, an all-girls boarding school in Surrey, and ended her time at school as deputy head girl.
A spokesman for the school described her last night as an ‘excellent student’.
Prior to enrolling at Cambridge, Corrin studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Bristol University.
The current series of The Crown, which began this month, is its most controversial to date, with the collapse of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s marriage a central storyline in the ten-part series.
But while Corrin has won acclaim for her portrayal of the Princess, many commentators have criticised the drama for vilifying Prince Charles, played by Josh O’Connor, and peddling lies about their marriage.