So, Charles is King now and here’s a show presenting him as a sympathetic, relatable victim of circumstance and the media! A kind man cursed by his love for an ordinary woman, his devotion to his future subjects and his matinee-idol good looks! WHAT A COINCIDENCE.
So yeah, a lot of controversy surrounding this season but King Charles has nothing to worry about. Maybe Tony Blair does, but he’s Tony Blair, so screw him.
To be honest ever since he was first cast I’ve thought Dominic West was an absolutely bizarre choice to play Charles. I actually thought it was a joke when I saw the news. He’s much too handsome. On the other hand, he does have experience of embarrassing cheating scandals, so there’s that. And he does have Charles’ mannerisms down to be fair. (Not to mention his views on extramarital sex.)
The acting in this silly, silly show continues to be its saving grace because the dialogue sure doesn’t remotely cut it. It’s either Knowing Dialogue, Winking Dialogue or Expository Dialogue and it’s excruciating. I swear, every second conversation goes something like –
“Charles, as the Queen, who was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, I implore you to make up with your very much not dead yet wife Diana, the mother of your sons William and Harry, as you have been at odds ever since your wedding day on 29 July 1981. This is in accordance with the Not Telling Your Mistress You Want To Live Inside Her Knickers As A Tampon Act (1993).”
All that being said, I think the best moment of acting in this show doesn’t belong to any of the main cast at all. It belongs to the child who played the 13-year-old Alexei Romanov, who appears for less than a minute in a unexpected and horrifically brutal flashback scene depicting the murder of the Russian royal family. Blink and you’ll miss it, but the look of sheer terror that crosses his face as he realises he’s about to be killed really got to me. I can’t even find the child actor’s name, but man. When this show gets it right it really gets it right.