The Crown gears up for what has been dubbed “the most turbulent” season yet

''If you have to live with a character for two years, and you find the character and research fascinating, it gives momentum.''
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Dominic West, who takes over from Josh O’Connor as the Prince (now King) of Wales, admits that assuming the mantle for what may be the most turbulent season yet is no easy task – “more people have witnessed events in this season more than any other” – but his boyhood fascination propelled him to know more.

”I’ve always been a [royal] fan – of Diana, actually. I was deeply in love with her when I was about 11, as a lot of people were” Dominic says.

”Since then, I’ve been working with The Prince’s Trust and got to know about what Charles does, so I’m a fan of him too. And all that helps – if you have to live with a character for two years, and you find the character and research fascinating, it gives momentum.”

Imelda Staunton is set to play the Queen for season five and season six of The Crown.

(Image: Netflix)

Yet standing next to Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki, who plays the Princess Of Wales, made him doubt his place in the series altogether.

”When I first did a screen test, Elizabeth looked extremely like Diana and I didn’t look like Charles, so I felt daunted,” he says with a laugh.

”It took a long time to feel at ease with it and realise you’re playing the scene on the page because they’re so well known.”

Elizabeth, 32, admits she ”didn’t have a profound knowledge or understanding” of the Royal Family, which allowed her to explore Diana in a unique way.

”I’m Australian [and] I know we’re part of the Commonwealth, but I don’t have an inbuilt, genetic understanding of these people, or even the importance of this family,” she says, describing the challenge of playing one of the world’s most famous people.

”It’s a whole emotional, psychological journey in terms of even allowing yourself to think you can play it.”

Dominic West is a real life ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.

(Image: Netflix)

Throughout the early ’90s, Charles and Diana present themselves and their two young sons, Prince William and Prince Harry (played by Timothee Sambor and Teddy Hawley) as a happy family unit.

But as history knows, it was a front. The fairy-tale marriage was broken. Diana was isolated from her husband and the royals to the point where a lack of control over her life, and Charles’ rumoured infidelity with Camilla Parker Bowles, led to divorce.

While many can recall Diana’s famous quote in a 1995 television interview referring to Charles and Camilla – ”There were three of us in this marriage” – The Crown attempts to explore all sides, including Camilla’s, who was painted as the villain at the time.

”I had to fill in what was around the existing footage, which is mostly negative,” Olivia Williams, 56, who plays Camilla, says. ”Dominic and I found the sense of humour between Charles and Camilla too, which likely got them through that dark time.”

Elizabeth Debiciki is a spitting image of the late Princess Diana.

(Image: Netflix)

Lesley Manville, who plays the Queen’s younger sister Princess Margaret, tells TV WEEK she never for a moment considered saying no when she was invited to play the role.

”Certainly not,” Lesley, 66, says with a laugh.

”When Imelda and I were asked [to be in The Crown] there were no scripts, so you had to take it on what you’ve seen before. It spoke for itself. What a wonderful opportunity to play this iconic woman and be part of this.”

With the Queen’s passing in September, The Crown now holds possibly even more significance.

”It was a great privilege to play the Queen,” Imelda says. ”While one is sad she’s died, I love that she had a long, fulfilling and, hopefully, happy life.”

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