Upcoming episodes will show Prince Charles in the aftermath of the news of Princess Diana‘s death in August 1997. Charles and Diana had divorced the year prior, with Charles then cementing his relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles and Diana beginning a relationship with Dodi Fayed, who also died in the crash that ended her life in Paris.
“There were some really heavy scenes this season and a lot of tears for Charles,” said West. “There are a lot of the scenes of Charles trying to come to terms with [Diana’s death] and breaking the news to his sons, trying to help his sons mourn and having varying degrees of success at that,” said West during a Netflix cast interview conducted by the streamer ahead of season 6’s launch on November 16. The interview took place in April, before the SAG-AFTRA strike began.
West, who also starred in The Wire and The Affair and has played the now-King Charles III since Season 5 of The Crown, added that as the father of two boys similar in age to Princes William and Harry when Diana passed, he naturally wanted to “fight Charles’ corner.”
“I’m always trying to present him in a good light, and I don’t always succeed in doing that, but I think in the latter half of the season where William is giving him a really hard time and he’s very angry with him and won’t talk to him and [Charles] can’t get through to him, to his son, I can understand how that feels,” he said.
The series will inevitably draw headlines about Charles’ relationship with Harry, who stepped down as a working royal after marrying Meghan Markle and since been very critical of his family through Netflix doc Harry & Meghan and his memoir, Spare.
In Spare, Harry wrote that his father had not hugged him when he revealed Diana’s death to his son, though he did put his hand on his knee and tell him things would be “OK.”
West said he believes Charles is a “very emotional” person and that he had played him as such in intimate, private scenes, such as those where he tries to care for his two young sons after their mother’s passing.
“Then Harry wrote his book and said he never hugged him or anything, so we had to change that slightly. Now I’ve sort of assumed — guessed — that Charles is an emotional and rather open-hearted guy in spite of his buttoned-up exterior, which he obviously has to have in public.”
West revealed the “first two-thirds” of season 6 would deal with the fallout from Diana’s death, with the final third moving on to “happier” times as Charles and Camilla marry. After Charles ascended to the throne whn his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died last year, Camilla was named Queen.
The Crown Season 6 launches its first block of four episodes next week and the second block four weeks later. The season’s cast remains the same as the previous, with West as Charles, Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II and Jonathan Pryce continuing to portray her husband Prince Phillip. New faces include Ed McVey and Luther Ford as the William and Harry, with Rufus Kampa and Fflyn Edwards playing the younger royal brothers.
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