Dominic West, cast as King Charles III in Netflix's "The Crown" Season 6, recently revealed the challenges he faced while filming emotionally intense scenes, particularly those depicting the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. In an exclusive interview with People, West delved into the complexities of portraying a deeply private royal family during moments of profound grief.
West recounted two particularly poignant scenes - one set in the Scottish mountains and another in a Paris hospital - where he had to enact King Charles in a state of raw emotional distress.
"I read that and thought, 'How does a famously buttoned-up family, famously unemotional family, what are they like in times of high emotion when something deeply traumatic happens?'" he said. The task, he admitted, was daunting, given the royal family's reputation for emotional restraint. He described the process of acting in such scenes as challenging, especially when the subject was as sensitive and monumental as Diana's death.
A first look at the epic conclusion. The Crown Part 2 debuts on the 14th of December. pic.twitter.com/NeNSK25Dy0 — The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) November 28, 2023
The actor also shared how his involvement in the series reshaped his perception of the British Royal Family. He noted that while public opinion is often swayed by media portrayals and the royals' public persona, "The Crown" allowed him to empathize more with King Charles, offering a glimpse into the private lives and conversations of the royals.
"The Crown" Season 6, which is divided into two parts, explores the trajectory of Princess Diana's life, including her relationship with Dodi Fayed leading up to the tragic Paris car crash. The first part is currently streaming, with the second set to premiere on December 14. The series finale is expected to focus on events up until 2005, the year of Charles and Camilla's wedding.
West hinted at a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II in the show's final episode, tying in elements of her funeral and reflecting on her long reign. "It's a show about Queen Elizabeth II. And I think that's why they've split this season in two - because the story of Diana is so big and dominant that what we come back to is Elizabeth, and it ends with her," West explained.
Interestingly, West disclosed his initial hesitation to take on the role of King Charles III. After a year of contemplation, his interest in the monarch's personality and passions ultimately led him to accept the role. He immersed himself in research, including renting a cottage on the royal's Cornwall estate and purchasing plants from Charles's nursery for his wife.
West's portrayal of King Charles III in "The Crown" is more than a mere acting role; it's a deep dive into the human side of a widely scrutinized and historically significant figure, offering viewers a nuanced perspective on the private struggles behind the public facade of the British monarchy.