How Harvard Played a Part in the Making of Season 5 of The Crown

diana, princess of wales sprints to her car today thursday after leaving a gym in earls court, west london the princess returned to england yesterday following a weekend break in greece, she said nothing to waiting reporters about her friendship with dodi fayed photo by tony harrispa see pa story royal diana   photo by tony harris   pa imagespa images via getty images
How Harvard Played a Part in Season 5 of The CrownTony Harris - PA Images

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Princess Diana is remembered for her many fashionable outfits, but three really stick out when we think "classic Princess of Wales style": There was the infamous little black revenge dress she slipped into after her separation from then-Prince Charles. Then there were her endless statement sweaters—who could forget that Gyles & George black sheep knit? Diana also had a penchant for pairing a sweatshirt with biker shorts. Most famously, a cowl-neck Harvard crewneck that she often wore while dodging paparazzi was her go-to.

And so pivotal was that piece that the Ivy League university actually recreated it for season 5 of The Crown after the costume department reached out. "Harvard made it for us," Sidonie Roberts, associate costume designer and head buyer of the hit Netflix series, revealed during a recent roundtable with Amy Roberts, head costume designer, and Cate Hall, hair and makeup designer. "You could still get Harvard jumpers, but [not] that cowl neck that she wears, like that puffy neck."

princess diana harvard sweatshirt the crown
Debicki’s Diana wearing the recreated Harvard crewneck in season 5 of The Crown. Netflix

Fans first get a glimpse of the Harvard crewneck during the second episode when Elizabeth Debicki as Diana is on the phone with her friend Dr. James Colthurst, who served as the in-between for her and Andrew Morton, the author of Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words.

windsor, united kingdom   may 02  diana, princess of wales at guards polo club  the princess is casually dressed in a sweatshirt with the british lung foundation logo on the front, jeans, boots and a baseball cap  photo by tim graham photo library via getty images
Diana famously wore the British Lung Foundation sweater to a polo match in 1988. Tim Graham

Typically, when it comes to designing the costumes, the process of making them look accurate is a long and complicated task. "You're painting a picture, and like any picture portrait, it takes time and trust and development," Amy explained. But when Debicki slipped on the replica top during the first fitting, it caused a double-take effect among the costume department. "It was the first time in this process and this job where even on the first fitting you go, 'Oh, I can already see her a little bit.' Because she's in a Harvard jumper and that's such an iconic [look]," Sidonie added.

Harvard wasn't the only one to come to the rescue, either. The British Lung Foundation also came through with an iconic white sweatshirt with a balloon that Diana famously once wore for the show, as did Virgin Atlantic with their navy blue sweater. Looking back to the design process, the costume department is extremely grateful for their support in bringing these famous looks to life. "They were incredibly generous," added Amy. "They helped a lot."

Season 5 of The Crown is available to stream on Netflix now.


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