“I see Charles as a tragic hero with a tragic flaw, and this flaw is this marriage that he entered into, knowing that he loved somebody else,” declares Dominic West about playing the former Prince of Wales and now King Charles III in Season 5 of the Emmy-winning “The Crown.” For our recent webchat he adds, “I think most people’s understanding of Charles is that whatever misfortune he was going through, he sort of brought it upon himself because he agreed to marry someone knowing that he loves someone else. And that’s the sort of fatal floor he has, and what was interesting in playing that was realizing how tragic that was, because I do think he was obliged to do that against his will, and felt deeply, deeply guilty about the suffering he caused Diana and everybody else as a result.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“The Crown,” was created by Oscar and Tony-nominated and Emmy-winning writer Peter Morgan, who is currently in production on the show’s anticipated sixth and final season. The Netflix drama uniquely reinvents itself every two seasons by replacing its main cast, as the royal family continue to evolve and age over time. Taking the reins for the show’s final two seasons are Oscar and Emmy nominee Imelda Staunton as the Queen, West as Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Oscar nominee Lesley Manville as Margaret, Jonny Lee Miller as Prime Minister John Major and Oscar and Emmy nominee Jonathan Pryce as Philip. The show has dominated at previous Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG Awards and Emmys, shattering records at the 2021 Emmys by being the first drama series to ever claim a clean sweep of awards handed out on the big night — winning Best Drama Series, all four acting wins (Colman, O’Connor, Menzies and Anderson) as well as for writing and directing.
Season 5 focuses on the Royal Family’s place in a fast-evolving modern British society, as well as the dissolution of Charles’ marriage to Diana and his relationship with his eventual second wife Camilla. West was keen to explore Charles as the monarch-in-waiting, and how his decades of service and duty might have affected him emotionally. “The idea of a man who is in his prime,” he explains, “where all his contemporaries are realizing their dreams and their destinies in whatever walks of life they’re in, and he is still in the waiting room and being in the extraordinary situation of having to wait for his mother to die before he can live his destiny.”
West is now in production on the show’s final season, revealing that fans of the show will appreciate the lengths that Morgan and the team have gone to treat the tragic circumstances around Diana’s death with sensitivity and honesty. “There’s still quite a lot of misunderstanding about Diana’s death. You know, ‘The Crown’ gets a lot of flak for playing fast and loose with the facts and putting out half-truths as truths. But actually, to be honest, I think there’s an awful lot of confusion about Diana that ‘The Crown’ hopefully will clear up,” he explains. “I think it’s high time we had a proper post-mortem in a way, and see what happened for what it was, which was a tragedy of, unfortunately, our own making.”
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