“The Crown” Season 5 chronicles the dissolution of the marriage between Princess Diana and Prince Charles, but towards the end of the season, just after the two are formally divorced, there’s an emotional sequence in which the two clear the air about just about everything. And for Prince Charles actor Dominic West, filming the sequence was like making a one-act play.
“It’s a very rare luxury in television that you get to suddenly do a one act play written by Peter Morgan, who’s a very good playwright,” West told TheWrap in a recent interview. “Normally scenes last a few seconds and this was at least 15, 20 minutes almost. And so it was a real luxury and we also got the time to rehearse it and the time to shoot it. I think we had three days to shoot that.”
The sequence finds Charles and Diana talking openly and honestly about their marriage, the pressures of the monarchy and, of course, Camilla. The scene is fictional, but West singles it out as an example of what makes “The Crown” an exemplary look into the lives of these real-life figures.
“It was great because it does what ‘The Crown’ does best, which is sort of fill in the dramatic gaps in the narrative that we don’t know about. This incident probably never happened, but we need to understand how this incredibly famous couple had the most famous wedding that’s ever been, this famous fairy tale marriage that ended in divorce, we want closure on that. We want to see how it ended up with them before she tragically died.”
West added that he thinks the scene is “among the best stuff” that Morgan has written, saying it was “a total joy” to bring it to life.
The fictitious nature of “The Crown” has made headlines with the most recent season, as calls began for Netflix to add a disclaimer making clear the show is a work of fiction. Ultimately the streamer decided against adding a disclaimer, which star Jonathan Pryce (who plays Prince Philip) said would have been patronizing to the audience.
The drama certainly didn’t hurt the show’s demand, as Season 5 debuted atop the Netflix Top 10 with 107 million hours viewed in its first week of release.