The upcoming season of “The Crown” is going to be covering some of the most painful times in recent memory for the Royal Family, and it might prove to be very difficult for Prince William and Prince Harry to stomach.
ET recently sat down with royal expert Katie Nicholl, who helped shine some light on what the princes may be struggling with when it comes to season 5 of “The Crown”, which largely covers the 1990s — a particularly tumultuous and dark time for the family.
“I think this series is going to be quite uncomfortable viewing, not just for [Queen Consort] Camilla and [King] Charles but also for William and Harry,” Nicholl explained. “Scenes leading up to their mother’s death are going to be very, very uncomfortable for them.”
Princess Diana died in a shocking car crash in Paris in 1997, at the age of 36. At the time, William and Harry were 15 and 12, respectively.
“This is a period that they had to live out so publicly. We heard Harry talk about the very real impact it’s had on his life, and William as well,” Nicholl shared. “So for this to sort of be revisited, even if it’s done tastefully … for this to be brought up all over again is incredibly hard for William and Harry.”
“[There is] a sense that, really, their mother’s ghost can’t ever be laid to rest for them,” she added. “I think [that] is really still something that’s very real and very difficult for them.”
Nicholl explained that the “biggest problem” the royal family and critics of the show have with the current seasons is that it “is about people who are still alive today.”
“The events, yes, are 25 years old, but they still feel very current because they’re constantly still making headlines — largely through films and TV series like this,” she said. “Those early [seasons] felt like there was enough history, felt like there was enough distance. But this just feels uncomfortably close.”
“That being said, with all the media hype and the attention the series has been getting, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this is the biggest rated [season] for the series, in terms of viewing figures,” Nicholl added.
Another element of awkwardness may stem from the casting of Dominic West — a real-life friend of Harry — to play a younger Charles.
“For Dominic West, going into that role playing Charles, during some of the most tumultuous years of the Royal Family — and at a time when Charles’ popularity was absolutely rock bottom — I think any actor would jump at the chance because, obviously, it’s a wonderful opportunity,” Nicholl said. “But [they might] also think twice about it as well. I mean, when they were making ‘The Crown’ they would have known, given the queen’s age, given her frailty, [that] there was always a real risk that this series was going to go out when she was either close to death or indeed had died, as is the case.”
“So I think that is a big responsibility for the actors,” Nicholl said. “It’s not just a role, it’s not just a character, it’s not just a part. It’s a real person who now happens to be king, and it is the dredging up of a past which he’d much rather move on from.”
Season 5 of “The Crown” premieres Nov. 9 on Netflix. For more on the hit series, see below.
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