As an avid fan of The Crown since season one, the latest instalment of the royal series might be their best one yet since its debut. But arguably the most difficult to watch. Not because it of its flaws (if it has any), but the fairytale-shattering portrayal of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage. Any royal watcher would agree that The Crown opted for a less sugar-coated fictional version of the Wales’ highly scrutinized and publicized life together. So much so that I found myself clenching my teeth and feeling distraught every time the characters of Charles and Diana were on screen, except of course for the tiny bit of happiness during their Australian tour leg in episode six.
(Fair warning, there are a ton of spoilers ahead so stop here if you don’t want to read any of it!)
I spoke to 30-year-old British actor Josh O’Connor who plays Prince Charles and newcomer 24-year-old actress Emma Corrin who plays Princess Diana, to talk more about portraying the famous royals. Contrary to what you see on the show, Emma and Josh actually get along remarkable well off-screen. Emma remarking that they “get on very well.” And Josh adds, “Just remember that when [Charles and Diana] are angry and hating each other, as soon as they call ‘Cut!’, we’re laughing and playing games. So it’s all good.” And this is great to know because their chemistry this season is effortless and believable, from the moment they meet at the Spencer estate in such a whimsical way.
But despite the actors sharing a warm real life friendship, the opposite can be said about their characters. When Preview asked which scene was the most difficult to film they both agreed that it was the finale episode that really took its toll on them emotionally. “There’s an argument scene in the last episode, which we really struggled with,” Emma shares, “It’s kind of the first time they lost their temper with each other and it sort of signifies the end of their relationship. It was just so difficult to get to that place after becoming so close on set, Josh and I. And also having never explored that particular dynamic with them before.”
“I think that was a tricky scene to film. For me I always cited that scene as the end. Like he [Charles] says, ‘I wash my hands off it. I’m done.’ And I feel like it was kind of this closure for both of us," Josh explains. "We’ve gone on this journey—we’ve been filming together for like six to eight months, and we shot it near the end. It felt like everything we wanted to say to each other in that moment, it just came out. It was bottled up for so long. What was hard was [that] on camera I’m shouting at Emma’s face and off camera I’m like, ‘That was really good!’ So that was a really tricky scene I think.”
The Crown season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix.