Welsh actor Owen Teale praises Charles for his commitment to theatre

·3-min read
King Charles with actor Owen Teale (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)
King Charles with actor Owen Teale (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)

Game Of Thrones star Owen Teale has said King Charles has “hit the ground running” as he praised the new monarch for his understanding and passion of the role the theatre plays in society.

The Welsh actor, 61, also spoke about his friendship with Charles over the years and recalled conversations they have previously had about Shakespeare.

In a speech to MPs and peers this week, Charles referenced lines from Henry VIII to describe his mother as “a pattern to all princes living”, after quoting from the play Hamlet in his address to the nation last week.

Teale, who played Ser Alliser Thorne in Game of Thrones, told the BBC: “In my experience he understands and has a great passion for theatre and what it does in its role in society, that it’s where we go to find ourselves, to see ourselves, whether it’s by entertainment, by comedy, or really at the heart of it is where we see each other and he’s devoted.”

Asked how he thought Charles would be as King, he said: “I think he will continue as we see now in his great belief in what the monarch can do and that will be a wonderful thing, as I say, to be present, to bring focus to things that are deserving and whilst doing that, to have great empathy with the people he meets.”

He added that he thinks Charles “realises his place”, saying: “He’s had a long time to prepare for that transition, which is now fully under way. And I think he’s hit the ground running and I think he has started as he means to go on.”

In his previous role as the Prince of Wales, the King was the president of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and he has had a long association with the Bard’s work, even playing aged 17 the lead in a production of Macbeth.

In 2013, Charles recorded Fern Hill, one of his favourite Dylan Thomas poems, to mark National Poetry Day.

Teale recalled Charles performing the poem for him at Clarence House, describing his delivery as “wonderful”.

He added that he had told him: “That gives me such joy because it is a poem that is overwrought and often done to hilt, and there he was in his own way.”

Charles has made a number of broadcasts over the decades including appearing on the BBC children’s programme Jackanory in 1984, reading his own book The Old Man Of Lochnagar, and in recent years making documentaries about the composer Sir Hubert Parry and royal artists.

In 2014 he opened the doors of his Welsh countryside retreat to celebrate the 100th anniversary of playwright Thomas’s birth.

Teale said that over the years he and Charles had “spent some wonderful times discussing poetry, performance” after meeting “some time ago” at the RSC.

He recalled: “And the play was Henry IV, Part 1 which takes on the story of the Prince of Wales, and how his wayward life is changed by becoming King.

“And so there was some sense of, I don’t know, prophesy, or, I’m not really sure, but he definitely said to me on occasion, how did he know, how did Shakespeare know how this would feel, there was insight that he wasn’t really prepared for, and how he loved that.

“And from that, we, over the years have spent some wonderful times discussing poetry, performance.”