Tom Hiddleston Is The Rightful Heir To Play Prince Charles In Season 5 Of 'The Crown'

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Photo credit: Esquire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Esquire - Getty Images

From Esquire

Back in 2016, if your memory is able to rewind that far, Tom Hiddleston was coming off a stellar performance fronting BBC series The Night Manager and subsequently fending off Bond rumours.

Then came the infamous 'I <3 T.S' t-shirt he was photographed wearing while frolicking in the sea with then-girlfriend Taylor Swift. Their relationship ending provided only passing gossip, but the memory of the white vest lives on forever in our collective memory.

Photo credit: starzfly/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: starzfly/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

It turns out that his time as part of a couple in the media spotlight was worth it after all, because if you can't play Bond then the next best thing in terms of England's starting XI of icons is surely playing Prince Charles. He might need to dye his hair, but Hiddleston certainly has all of the nervous charm and plummy charisma to take on the throne.

This weekend brought the news that Hiddleston's The Night Manager co-star Elizabeth Debicki has been cast as Princess Diana for the final two seasons of Netflix's The Crown. Debicki played Hiddleston's love interest in the BBC series based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré, with the pair involved in a complicated and dangerous love triangle that gave the Charles–Diana–Camilla entanglement a run for its money.

Photo credit: Neilson Barnard - Getty Images
Photo credit: Neilson Barnard - Getty Images

Debicki takes over from Emma Corrin who plays young Diana opposite Josh O'Connor in the forthcoming season four, a chapter which will focus on Charles and Diana's romance and the strain that the media attention on the people's princess put on their relationship.

In his interview with Esquire, O'Connor spoke of how “the Diana stuff” has been “thrilling to play”, with one moment from their 1983 tour of Australia showing Charles' rage at being outshone by his dazzling wife. “I don’t deserve this!” he says in the scene. “This is supposed to be my tour.”

Photo credit: Des Willie / Netflix - Netflix
Photo credit: Des Willie / Netflix - Netflix

Their tumultuous relationship will carry on to season five, the penultimate instalment of the series, which is packed with high profile stars including Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip. Given the patterns that previous seasons have followed, and the news that Staunton would be “taking The Crown into the 21st century”, it seems likely that the fifth season will focus on the early Nineties and end in the early Noughties.

This era included the divorce of Charles and Diana as well as her tragic death, the fallout of which show creator Peter Morgan has already documented in The Queen, the 2006 film which stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in the wake of Diana's death.

Photo credit: John Shelley Collection/Avalon - Getty Images
Photo credit: John Shelley Collection/Avalon - Getty Images

The throes of these years require someone with the theatrical talent of Hiddleston, an actor who has been twice nominated for and once won a Laurence Olivier Award for turns in Shakespeare plays, as well as winning plaudits for his portrayal of Henry V.

Perhaps the greatest demonstration he is the man to play Charles was his recent performance in Harold Pinter's Betrayal, a simmering love triangle which dug into the complicated emotions, jealousies and veiled motives of each of the trio when it played in the West End and later on Broadway.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

His Shakespeare pedigree as well as his time as a Marvel superhero are both roles which stand him in good stead to play a man who is somewhere between a King and a God, but never allowed to be fully human. His clear on-screen chemistry with Debicki and ability to play conflicted and complicated characters could make for an electric chapter of The Crown, with Morgan describing the marriage of Charles and Diana as, “three Brexits and three Covids wrapped into one.”

Cometh the hour, cometh the nervous Englishman.

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