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It was possible to regard Prince Charles as the romantic hero of The Crown season 3 as actor Josh O'Connor's royal family member pursued Camilla Shand (Emerald Fennell), only for her to ultimately marry someone else. But is Charles the villain of season 4?
In the new episodes, which mostly take place in the the '80s, viewers will see the Prince of Wales continue to consort with Camilla after he has married Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin), contributing greatly to Diana's unhappiness and isolation.
So, does O'Connor think Charles is the villain of the piece?
"My job is to resist that in some ways," says the actor. "My Dad was an English teacher and I grew up learning Shakespeare through him. One of the things that he used to say about all Shakespeare’s villains was that, whether it’s Richard III or Iago, they don’t believe themselves to be villains. They believe that what they are doing, their life’s work, is for the greater good and it makes sense to them. So, just as with the Shakespeare villains, I didn’t want to play the character of Charles as a villain. I don’t think he is. I think he is someone who is very lost, as we see in season 3. He’s the same person as in season 3. He needs something from Diana that she can’t offer him, just as she needs from him something that he can’t offer her. So, it’s a tragedy really. Yeah, I was really conscious not to play the ending as it were."
O'Connor reveals that he enjoyed a happy working relationship with Corrin.
"I loved working with Emma," he says. "Obviously, she’s new on the scene and what a brilliant entrance into the television industry. She’s a brilliant star. She’s very hard-working and just lovely. We’re great friends. When I first met her, the first thing I said to my friends was, She looks exactly like Diana. It’s as if she was born to play this role, there’s an air of Diana that just radiates [from] her and [is] at times spooky. So, yeah I loved working with Emma and can’t wait to see what she does next."
The Crown costars Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, and Helena Bonham Carter, among other. Season 4 of the show premieres on Netflix Nov. 15.