“The Crown” star Dominic West revealed that he feels “deep sympathy” for King Charles III, who he plays in the highly-anticipated fifth season of the Netflix series.
In a featurette called “Becoming Charles,” the actor dove into the new season, which finds Charles at the precipice of his ugly, highly public divorce with Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki).
“Charles is sort of at the prime of his life, but at the depths of his tragedy, if I can call it that, and so he’s very low in spirits,” West said, “but he’s very galvanizing, dynamic in terms of what he wants to do with his life and his role and for the monarchy.”
Though Charles cuts a far less sympathetic figure than Diana – both in real life and in “The Crown,” due in large part to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles – West feels for his character.
“I have such deep sympathy with Charles because he doesn’t get much thanks,” he explained. “And particularly when he’s standing next to Diana.”
That extends to Camilla, played in the new season by Olivia Williams. In a clip, she’s shown hiding from the paparazzi camped outside her house while speaking to someone on the phone. “I’m literally under siege,” she says, fighting back tears.
West called the anti-Camilla vitriol at the time “astonishing.”
“[“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan] was interested in exploring what’s that like for the man who loves her,” he continued. “His position means that he can’t ever be with the woman he loves. For all his faults, that’s a horrible burden.”
Elsewhere in the featurette, West discussed the difficulty of capturing Charles’ physicality and how tensions between the younger and older generations of the royal family play out in the new season. Check out the full video above.
“The Crown” Season 5 premires Nov. 9 on Netflix.