King Charles III star denies negative depiction of Kate

Naomi Gordon
Photo credit: BBC/Drama Republic/Robert Viglasky

From Digital Spy

Charlotte Riley has dismissed criticism that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is depicted with a "negative slant" in upcoming BBC Two drama King Charles III.

Adapted from Mike Bartlett's award-winning West End and Broadway play, King Charles III is set in an alternate timeline after Prince Charles has acceded to the throne.

Peaky Blinders star Riley takes on a strong and slightly steely Catherine in the one-off production, who persuades Prince William to stand up to King Charles in order to save the monarchy.

"I saw her as being incredibly pragmatic, and she's approaching this slightly differently as people may see her perceive it," the actress told the audience at a BAFTA screening of the drama after an attendee suggested there was a "negative slant" on Kate.

"It's [the monarchy] like a business – we need to move in this way and make some bold choices [in order to save and protect it], but I don't think that makes it a negative slant on her character."

Director Rupert Goold added: "We think of the monarchy as a permanent thing, but there are some European countries that have lost the monarchy, or the monarchies have changed.

"In the drama of Mike's story is if Kate doesn't intervene, then parliament will withdraw all power to the monarchy, and the monarchy will end.

"She's strong, and it's interesting, I suppose, what it says about gender – that the perception of that is negative. She gets it done."

The TV feature has already stirred controversy for including scenes that feature the ghost of the late Princess Diana, which could be perceived as particularly insensitive and inappropriate in the wake of Prince Harry's recent interview about his grief for his mother.

The late Tim Pigott-Smith, who played Prince Charles in the stage version, takes on the regal role again in the TV drama. Oliver Chris and Richard Goulding play Prince William and Prince Harry respectively, after also starring in the stage production.

Writer Bartlett insists that despite all the controversy, the programme is "respectful to the monarchy", with Goold adding: "It's not a sketch, it's not satire, it's not an attack – it's a genuine investigation of what it is to be that family and in that role in the country."

King Charles III airs on Wednesday, May 10 at 9pm on BBC Two.

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