The fifth season of The Crown arrived to Netflix on Nov. 9, 2022. As the season chronicles the lives of the British royal family in the 1990s, a new ensemble cast has taken over the key roles in this significant era of British history.
Stepping into the shoes of Princes Charles is Dominic West, as the heir navigates his divorce and attempts to modernize the monarchy. West has been acclaimed for his performance in this season, particularly for his ability to embody what people all over the world recognize in the real Charles.
Prince Charles’ Voice
Most viewers of The Crown, especially those in the U.K., are familiar with the speaking voice of the King Charles III. With his frequent addresses to the nation over 70 years in the public eye, particularly following Queen Elizabeth II’s recent death, Charles has done a lot of public speaking.
Those familiar with the real British royal family will notice that Dominic West’s impression of Charles is pitch-perfect. Not only that, he also sounds much like an older, more cynical version of Josh O’Connor’s portrayal of Prince Charles in The Crown‘s third and fourth seasons.
Prince Charles’ Love Of Classics
It is well documented through Charles’ charity work and public interviews that he is a big fan of classic literature and ancient history. It was even a storyline in the third season of The Crown, when Charles studied Shakespeare and antiquities while at Cambridge. This was also showcased in the new season, particularly in the first episode when Charles and his family visit Italy.
In the episode, Charles wants to observe the history of ancient Rome while Diana and Harry would prefer to go shopping, which annoys him. West’s manner of speaking when discussing ancient history, as well as during Charles’ campaign to push for classic English literature in schools, deftly conveys the interests of the real Charles.
The Distance Between Prince Charles And Princess Diana
Following the introduction of Princess Diana in the fourth season, it became clear her marriage to Charles was broken. Having been engineered by the forces of the crown, the couple have very little in common, while Charles continues to pursue former flame Camilla Parker-Bowles.
Paired with Elizabeth Debicki’s ability to capture Diana’s mannerisms, the arguments between her and West’s version of Charles make for compelling viewing. Even in scenes meant to be harmonious, such as at public events like William’s first day at Eton, Debicki and West showcase the hostile relationship between the married couple through their body language.
Prince Charles’ Indirectness About His Feelings
Having had a difficult relationship with his parents, Charles portrayal in The Crown is one of a man reluctant to confront his family about his true feelings during moments of conflict. In his marriage to Diana, he is unwilling to communicate his feelings directly, and keeps his wife in the dark about his feelings towards her, as well as his ongoing relationship with Camilla.
In the confrontational scenes of season 5, Dominic West is not only highly talented in delivering what’s in the script, but conveying what isn’t said in the dialogue. His performance brings across to viewers what Charles is too afraid to say due to his stunted emotional growth.
Prince Charles’ Desire To Modernize The Monarchy
Fans before season 5 of The Crown will remember that Charles struggled under the traditions demanded of the Crown, particularly when he was forbidden to marry divorcee Camilla Parker-Bowles. While his aunt Princess Margaret eventually accepted she couldn’t marry divorcee Peter Townsend, he struggled with the arranged marriage to Lady Diana Spencer.
In season 5, Charles, having had a miserable time married to Diana, is more determined than ever to end the outdated ideas of monarchy. His conflict with his mother, Queen Elizabeth, as he convinces her to let him get a divorce, makes for the most powerful scenes of the new season.
Prince Charles’ Ambitions As Future Monarch
As well as trying to modernize the monarchy’s attitude towards divorce and remarriage, Charles envisions his time on the throne that engages more with everyday people and change the crown’s dwindling popularity. He even sets up a meeting with the Prime Minister pushing for his mother’s abdication.
In these scenes of a frustrated Charles, Dominic West manages to come across as a cunning, calculated figure in the season’s most dramatic moments. At the same time, viewers can sympathize with this performance, as Elizabeth’s stubbornness in upholding tradition makes for a frustrating watch, as the monarchy struggles to stay relevant in this new era of British history.
Prince Charles’ Outspokenness
Although he is often reluctant to discuss his personal feelings or show any warmth to his family, West’s version of Charles transforms when he wants to get his point across about political matters or how the monarchy should be transformed.
The most stellar performances from the cast of The Crown this season come in moments when its actors butt heads about how the family can survive the changing landscape of modern Britain. West delivers a powerful monologue when Charles loses his cool and finally tells his family exactly how he feels about their dedication to tradition.
Prince Charles’ Love For Camilla
In season 5 of The Crown, Charles and Diana formally separate, and Charles’ relationship with Camilla transitions from a secret affair to a more open relationship. This is one of the major historical events in season 5 of The Crown, as Charles goes against the Church of England views of a monarch pursuing a new relationship while his former wife is still living.
Much of Charles and Camilla’s scenes together take place over phone calls in separate homes as they try to escape the backlash from their families and the public. Although they are often separate, the actors have a lot of chemistry and viewers can see why Charles and Camilla confide in each other.
Prince Charles’ Hand Gestures
As he presents himself with the regality and style demanded of a monarch, the real Charles has a specific type of body language when engaging with the British public. Often, Charles points with a closed fist during speeches as he puts his points across.
Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted that Dominic West has clearly studied Charles’ body language, as well as how he moves his hands. Doing so helps portray to viewers Charles’ frustrations while trying to be composed in the traditional way that is required as a member of the royal family.
Prince Charles’ Aggressive Tone
This season of The Crown sees Charles pushed to breaking point, with the authorities of the monarchy attempting to keep him in a marriage with a wife he can barely stand. Significant events, such as Diana’s revealing BBC interview about their marriage, push Charles over the edge.
When Dominic West portrays Charles’ anger, he goes for a quieter, but less contained tone of voice, which perfectly captures Charles’s attempt to keep his royal demeanor while he is losing more and more control over his destiny. When he finally yells when the interview is aired, it feels like a real turning point for Charles and his willingness to conform to the demands of his family.
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