Photographer Mario Brenna who took photo of Princess Diana & Dodi Fayed - who plays him in The Crown?
Mario Brenna took one of the world's most famous photographs of Princess Diana with Dodi Fayed, and the photographer features in the latest season of Netflix drama The Crown
One of the most talked about shows of recent times has been The Crown. The Netflix show has dramatised various aspects of the Royal family through history, focusing on the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II. As part of that, there have also been storylines which depict what happened to her family members - including her eldest son's Charles' relationship with Princess Diana.
Season six, which has just aired on Netflix, will tell the story of how Diana, Princess of Wales, spent her final days before she was killed in a car crash in Paris, France, in August 1997. It will also shine the spotlight further on the press intrusion that Diana suffered throughout her life, and also how she was constantly photographed wherever she went. One of the photographers mentioned in the show is Mario Brenna, who really was one of the people who took professional shots of the princess.
As with a lot of dramas inspired by real life, there are some parts of the show which are not quite accurate, however, Brenna really did take some of the most famous photos of Princess Diana in the world. Keep reading to find out more about him, including which images of the princess he took, and who plays him in The Crown.
Who was Mario Brenna?
The real-life Mario Brenna was a famous photographer who worked both for prestigious fashion houses but also took photos of A-list celebrities. Princess Diana and her partner Dodi Fayed, who was travelling in the car with her on the night she died and was also killed, were indeed photographed by Brenna.
He also took images of the couple as they were enjoying some downtime on board the Jonkial yacht off the coast of Sardinia in 1997. Diana, along with her sons William and Harry, had been invited to holiday there by Dodi's father, billionaire businessman Al Fayed. The yacht had been bought especially for the holiday.
Dodi and Diana later began a private cruise on the Jonikal and Brenna's photos of the couple in an embrace led to Diana’s friend, the journalist Richard Kay, confirming that Diana was involved in "her first serious romance" since her divorce from the then Prince Charles the year before.
Brenna, who was then aged 40 and lived in Monaco, was said to have spotted the yacht while he was working on other assignments when he managed to get the now famous images, The Independent reported. Those photos made Brenna millions after they were published in the Sunday Mirror.
Meanwhile, London photographer Jason Fraser who helped broker the initial deal would then help Brenna with the rights to the images in both the USA and Australia. The photos taken by Brenna went around the world. Brenna is said to have flown to Fraser's home in London and showed him the prints. The Sunday Mirror reportedly paid approximately £250,000 for the British rights, Paris-Match paid 1million francs and also gained $200,000 from American tabloid The Globe. It's reported he earned $5 to $7 million in total.
Fraser later recalled to the Mail Online: "When he showed me the prints, we spread them out over the kitchen floor and we sat in silence. I didn't know what to do. I knew nothing would ever [be] the same again."
During an appearance on an Italian talk show, Brenna revealed that he spent three days observing the couple, during which time he was anxious about being confronted by the security guards. He also said that initially, he "didn't realise the importance of that shot".
There’s still not been confirmation of who exactly alerted Brenna to Diana and Dodi's whereabouts, but he was praised by the media industry for his ability to move from high end fashion photoshoots to working as a member of the paparazzi and obtaining candid celebrity shots.
Who plays photographer Mario Brenna in The Crown?
British actor Enzo Cilenti portrays the renowned paparazzi photographer Mario Brenna in The Crown. Viewers may recognise him for his roles in Game of Thrones, The Girlfriend Experience, Luther and the BBC adaptation of Les Misérables, which also featured fellow star of The Crown, Dominic West.
Some of his other roles have included the Hollywood movies In the Loop, Next, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Starz series The Serpent Queen. According to IMDb, he will next be starring in The Beekeeper, which is slated to come out in 2024 and is in post-production.
The Crown season 6, part 1 is streaming on Netflix now The Crown season 6, part 2 will be released on Netflix on Thursday, December 14.