How The Crown’s Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West Got into Character as Diana and Charles

The Crown actors Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West reveal what information about the royal family they drew inspiration from.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez Oct 14, 2022 2:33 PMTags
Watch: Elizabeth Debicki Portrays Princess Diana With Sons in The Crown

Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West are ready to handle the weight of the crown.

The actors revealed what steps they've taken to royally suit up as Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the fifth season of The Crown. For West, part of the process begins with clarifying that his performance is not an imitation of what happened in real life.

"I think people understand, because the cast has changed every two seasons, that this is not an imitation," he told Netflix's "This is an evoking of a character. That's really where the show lives: in the imagined conversations of their private life, which is something that no one knows."

The Downtown Abbey actor acknowledged that though people may criticize the show for its portrayal of the royal family, what matters is how creatively the cast and crew uses their imagination and intensive research to develop the plot.

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown

"I think that's what it gets a lot of criticism for. How can you know what they talk about in their private lives?" the 52-year-old said. "The obvious answer is we don't, but we have an incredible writer, a dramatist, who imagines based on exhaustive research, and that's really part of the fascination of the show."

Debicki, meanwhile, is grateful that The Crown has lots of historical material to draw inspiration from.

"That's the amazing thing about playing these people at this time, because in the journey of The Crown so far out of all the seasons, this is the most visual content we have of the Royal Family," she said. "In the ‘90s everything had started to be filmed and also it was the birth of the 24-hour news cycle so there's just this incredible amount of content that we have access to."

BackGrid / Joan Llado / GTres /

The Tenet actress said she used what information was available on Diana to influence her performance.

"Diana was the most photographed person in the world at that time," Debicki said. "As an actor you open the portal and this huge tsunami of information comes at you. I happily swam around in it."

As for Olivia Williams, who plays Camilla Parker Bowles, she said The Crown features "imagined intimate moments," which she thinks can "give us a better perspective on someone that we've judged."

Williams noted, "Charles and Camilla seem to have a very healthy sense of humor about what at times must be an unbearable predicament. And that is the thing that I most want to show."

The Crown season five will premiere Nov. 9 on Netflix.

The Royal Family

Dominic West as Prince Charles, Teddy Hawley as Prince Harry, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana and Timothee Sambor as Prince William.

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana
Dominic West as Prince Charles
Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret
Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II & Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana
Jonny Lee Miller as John Major
Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles & Dominic West as Prince Charles
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
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