Dominic West reveals details of filming infamous Charles and Camilla phone call

Dominic West has revealed how his understanding of the infamous ‘tampongate’ phone call between the then Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles changed after filming the storyline for the upcoming series of The Crown.

The 53-year-old British actor plays Charles, now the King, in the fifth series of the Emmy award-winning Netflix show.

Speaking about how the phone transcript scandal storyline is portrayed in the highly-anticipated series, West said: “In the playing of it, because Olivia Williams is so magnificent, and because I have such a deep sense of sympathy with Charles, it’s much simpler than we thought at the time, or that the papers made out or that the history around it made out.

“It just strikes you as being a horrible breach of privacy that no one should have to suffer.

“If any one of us had our intimate phone conversations reproduced verbatim in every newspaper in the world, imagine what that’s like. Imagine how awful that is.

“My memory of it is that it was sort of filthy and dirty and really embarrassing but actually in the playing of it, it was much more like two middle-aged lovers being sweet to each other.”

West expressed his sympathy for both Charles and Camilla, now Queen Consort, who is played by Olivia Williams, in the aftermath of the scandal saying: “In many ways Charles had witnessed how his position had destroyed Diana, and he was having to see the same thing happen to Camilla and I think that’s the hardest part of being the Prince of Wales.”

Reflecting on Charles’s attempts to rebuild his public image and his interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, West said: “I think what Peter (Morgan) was interested in, and I think what comes across so well in his scripts about this time, is how there was nothing Charles could do, no PR stunt he could pull, no PR adviser who was going to make his position any better. He was on a losing ticket the whole time.”

He added: “With that one confession of adultery, he obliterated anything else good that might have come out of having had a year of cameras following him around.

“Peter was keen to show that and how he really couldn’t do anything right at the time.”

Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki stars alongside West as Diana, Princess of Wales and revealed she spent time perfecting Diana’s head tilt with the help of a movement coach, and explained why she believes Diana decided to go ahead with the now-infamous Panorama interview with Martin Bashir.

“My understanding of why she would choose to do it was an attempt to control a narrative that felt like it was otherwise spiralling out of her control,” she said.

“If you can tell your own story in that situation, perhaps people will understand what you have been through and will be more likely to empathise with you, and they might understand why you may need to break away from certain systems and why you may need more freedom than you’ve been given.”

Debicki, 32, added that her portrayal of Diana’s famous line “there were three of us in this marriage” is “as close as possible” to the real interview.

West also said that he believes it was “much harder” for him to get into the character of Charles than it was for Debicki to embody Diana.

“I didn’t realise Diana had put so many interviews on tape,” he said.

“There’s hours and hours of her speaking very frankly about everything, and in a way I think that Elizabeth had the easiest task because she could listen to all of these tapes.

“You never see the private side of Charles. It’s much harder for me. What I’m trying to say is that it’s much harder for me than Elizabeth.”

Series five of The Crown lands on Netflix on November 9.