The Crown's Dominic West Details Fallout With Friend Prince Harry

Dominic West revealed he and Prince Harry, who hiked through the Arctic together in 2013, no longer speak after The Crown star shared he "said too much in a press conference."

By Meaghan Kirby Dec 27, 2023 2:57 PMTags
Watch: Dominic West Admits He “Said Too Much” About Prince Harry

Prince Harry sent his friendship with Dominic West to the Tower.

When The Crown star stepped up to take on the role of Prince Charles during Netflix show's final two seasons, it wasn't his first glimpse at royal life. After all, once upon a time, the Duke of Sussex counted the actor as a friend after the duo trekked along the Langjökull Glacier in Iceland as part of the 2013 Walking With the Wounded challenge.

But that's not to say Dominic reached out to Harry for advice on playing a royal as the two aren't exactly on speaking terms today.

"No, we sort of—no," The Wire alum told Times Radio in an interview released Dec. 24 of whether he reached out to Harry. "I said too much in a press conference and so we didn't speak after that."

As for what exactly he said to make Harry put a freeze on the friendship? "I think I was asked what we did to celebrate when we got there," Dominic noted, "and probably said something too much."

The Crown Season 6 Official Photos

While Dominic West, who was joined by costar Jonathan Pryce in the interview, didn't elaborate further on his and Harry's falling out, he appeared to be referencing comments he made in 2014 about the group's rowdy celebrations after finishing their journey to the Arctic.


"Most of us, Harry included, just went on a two-day bender," Dominic revealed in a press conference at the time, per ABC News, "with the Icelandic truck drivers who had brought some lethal home brew with them."

The Affair star, who also cited Harry's ability to construct the group's temporary toilets, added that their post-trek partying included drinking champagne out of the prosthetic legs of fellow hiker Duncan Slater


WWTW via Getty Images

But while Dominic wasn't able to get Harry's advice while gearing up to play his dad on The Crown ahead of assuming the role for season five, the duke did help shape the 54-year-old's performance on the sixth and final season of the series.

In fact, Harry's memoir Spare proved vital in helping prepare Dominic for the emotional moment Charles reveals to young Harry and his brother Prince William that their mom Princess Diana had died. "I bought it immediately," Dominic told Variety in an interview published Dec. 14, "and I think it did slightly affect the way we played that key scene where he wakes Harry up."

As for whether Harry will see how his recollections shaped his former pal's performance, he's admitted to tuning into the royal drama.

"It's fictional, but it's loosely based on the truth," he explained on The Late Late Show in 2021. "I am way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family or my wife or myself. Because it's the difference between, that is obviously fiction, take it how you will, but this is being reported on as fact because you're supposedly news. I have a real issue with that."

Speaking of which, keep reading for a breakdown of what is fact and what is fiction from the sixth and final season of The Crown.

Princess Diana Leaves the Country to Avoid Camilla's Birthday Party

In The CrownPrincess Diana accepts Harrods owner Mohamad Al-Fayed's invitation to stay at his villa in Saint-Tropez. She tells Prince William and Prince Harry on the way that they're going because she can't bear to be in London while Prince Charles is fussing over Camilla Parker-Bowles' 50th birthday party.

That's by many accounts the reason why Diana was eager to get out of town in July 1997. "Wouldn't it be funny if I suddenly came out of the birthday cake?" she joked, per Andrew Morton's Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, before making plans to leave the U.K.

Of course, the press wouldn't leave her alone regardless, and—as seen on the Netflix drama—she really did hop in a speed boat to confront the photographers bobbing around in the Mediterranean. Asking if they wouldn't mind leaving her alone, in exchange she posed for a few shots in her leopard-print Gottex bathing suit (recreated by the brand for the show) and, according to those who snapped away eagerly, she promised "a big surprise" in the near future.

Dodi's Father Pushes Him and and Diana Together

Onscreen and off, Mohamed spoke of son Dodi Fayed and Diana's great love affair and helped perpetuate the rumor that they were going to be married. The $250,000 ring Dodi bought for the princess was put on display at Harrods along with the poem he wrote and had engraved on a silver plaque (which Elizabeth Debicki's Diana pokes fun at during a call with her therapist).

In real life, Mohamed—who died in August at 94—reportedly did have designs on forever linking his family to the royals. He was also said to be a domineering, controlling father to Dodi, who in turn was relentlessly described as a ne'er-do-well playboy in posthumous accounts of his character.

While any specific demands Mohamed made of Dodi can never be known (including whether the father insisted his son take Diana to Paris when she really wanted to return to London on Aug. 31, 1997), the Egyptian billionaire set out to make his royal guest feel like...well, a princess. Mohamed reportedly bought the Jonikal, the 195-foot yacht Diana spent a fair amount of time on during the last few weeks of her life, for $20 million that June, two days after she accepted his invitation to come to Saint-Tropez. 

Dodi Fayed Was Engaged When He Started Seeing Diana

Dodi was supposed to get married on Aug. 9, 1997, according to Kelly Fisher, the model who sued him for breach of contract after allegedly finding out from the tabloids that she'd been swapped out for the Princess of Wales.

In The Crown, the lawsuit is spoken of—Diana marvels over the idea of a person being sued for falling out of love and Dodi admits he asked Kelly to cut back on work—but the series does not reenact the tearful Aug. 13 press conference Kelly held with attorney Gloria Allred. (Kelly dropped her complaint after Dodi died.)

Also onscreen, Dodi is in Paris with Kelly when he's summoned to Saint-Tropez by his father, and she joins him a few days later after finding out he's been left to his own devices with Diana (and her kids, Dodi assures her).

Per several accounts of that jam-packed July, Kelly arrived with Dodi, but she stayed on his smaller boat and he'd go back and forth from the Jonikal. In the series, when Kelly shows up, she's dismayed to be taken to the lesser yacht. 

When The Crown's Diana finds out that Dodi has squirrelled his fiancée away, the revelation rolls right off her jaded back and they end up bonding over the sins of their respective fathers, Mohamed's "obsessive control" vs. Earl John Spencer's "complete and utter neglect."

The conversation is Peter Morgan's creation, but Diana casually playing piano during the encounter could have happened—she did play a bit, according to the series' researchers.

The Queen Snubs Camilla's 50th

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip didn't even bother to RSVP "no" to their son's invitation to the birthday party he was hosting for Camilla at Highgrove in The Crown's depiction. When Charles decides to follow up in person, he's kept waiting outside his mothers' study and decides not to inform a staffer that he just saw a mouse scurrying along the hall.

His aunt Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville)—conceivably more sympathetic to Charles and Camilla's situation as both a divorcée and as a woman who couldn't get the queen to approve the marriage she really wanted back in the day—is the only senior royal who shows up. She also slips away to phone her sister to let her know how happy Charles seems, which seemingly aids the queen on her road to begrudging acceptance of Camilla.

Well, the queen and Philip famously did not attend the party on July 18, 1997, nor did any of Charles' siblings—and neither did Margaret. In her 2017 biography Prince CharlesSally Bedell Smith noted the "absence of any members of the royal family."

Onscreen and off, while reports of the party treated Camilla favorably, which was Charles' primary aim, Diana's sunny holiday dominated the front pages.

A Couple of Posers

In The Crown, some family-friendly photos of kilt-clad Charles enjoying the great outdoors with William and Harry at Balmoral in August 1997 were shot by a trusted regular on the royal circuit, Duncan Muir (Forbes Masson)—and totally staged by the Prince of Wales (at his press secretary's urging) to combat the salacious Diana headlines ruling the day.

Meanwhile, Mohamed shamelessly hires photographer Mario Brenna (Enzo Cilenti) to get evidence that Dodi and Diana are an item, resulting in the infamous PDA pics aboard the Jonikal that the Sunday Mirror snatched up for $250,000, with subsequent rights going for as much as $100,000.

The Crown's head of research, Annie Sulzberger, told the New York Times that there were multiple theories as to how Brenna tracked the couple down on their secret holiday, and her team was inclined to believe someone who worked for Mohamed tipped him off to the yacht's location.

Brenna himself, however, maintains that any story in which he was hired to get those photos is "absurd and completely invented." He was usually in Sardinia at that time of year to snap celebrities on vacation, he told the NY Times, and he had a "great stroke of luck" in spotting Diana and Dodi.

He is, however, a real person, unlike longtime royal photographer "Duncan Muir," so much a fixture in The Crown's world that the queen knows him by name. 

The actual outdoorsy photos of Charles and his boys taken at Balmoral are credited to Tim Graham.

Charles' Intense Response to Diana's Death

In the early dawn hours while, as Charles puts it in The Crown, his sons still have a mother so long as they remain asleep, he goes walking along the craggy coastline outside Balmoral and lets out an explosive wail.

Later, when he goes to Paris to collect Diana's body, hospital staff out in the hall can hear him sobbing from inside her room. (And one of her sisters flashes just the slightest of smirks, in an "Oh, now you care" sort of way.)

Episode director Christian Schwochow told the Los Angeles Times that, as originally relayed by someone who witnessed the moment, he'd been told Charles "howled like an animal" when he found out his ex-wife was dead. 

William Disappears for 14 Hours After Diana's Death

After overhearing an argument between his father and grandparents over whether the royals should be doing more to grieve Diana publicly, The Crown's William slips out of Balmoral Castle and goes missing for half a day. Eventually he reappears, soaking wet because it's Scotland in August, and walks through the door past his anxious family, including the queen, without a word.

"I was in Balmoral when I was told that my mother had died. Still in shock, I found sanctuary in the service at Crathie Kirk that very morning," real William said in 2021 during a visit to Scotland, explaining his deep connection to the country. "And in the dark days of grief that followed, I found comfort and solace in the Scottish outdoors."

Harry didn't mention his brother running off in his 2023 memoir Spare. He wrote of those surreal days before their mother's funeral, "We all remained ensconced inside the castle. It was like being inside a crypt...If anyone talked about anything, I didn't hear them."

A Poignant Farewell to Dodi

While The Crown doesn't depict the interior of any of the royal funerals—the episode "Aftermath" ends with William and Harry walking with Charles, Philip and their uncle Earl Charles Spencer behind their mother's coffin—the show does depict a bit of the Muslim service for Dodi.

The scene was filmed at London Central Mosque in Regent's Park, where the actual funeral took place with little fanfare in 1997.

"The whole world talked about [Diana's] death and cared," director Schwochow told the LA Times, "but how many people actually cared about Dodi's death?"

Elizabeth and Margaret's VE Day Adventure

"Ritz," which depicts the rapid decline of Princess Margaret and may be the saddest episode in the entire series, also contains one of the most joyous scenes.

In a flashback, 15-year-old Margaret (Beau Gadsdon) gets 19-year-old Elizabeth (Viola Prettejohn) to sneak out of Buckingham Palace with her on Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945. They head to the Ritz London, where the genteel celebration in the ballroom is nothing compared to the raucous bash downstairs.

Elizabeth ends up dancing the night away—and kissing an obliging soldier, as she reveals to Margaret as the sisters tipsily make their way home the next morning. Of course the future queen swears her sibling to secrecy.

While that would've been the most epic thing ever, there's no exact account of their evening. However, they were allowed to "join the exultant multitude" outside the palace, according to Ann Morrow's The Queen, and the girls "linked arms, sang, joined conga lines, and danced with strangers."

In both versions of events, however, Margaret's future love Peter Townsend did come along to watch out for them.

It's that unforgettable evening in The Crown that inspires an ailing Margaret's wish to celebrate her 70th birthday at the Ritz—where her party did take place in real life on Oct. 25, 2000. She also really arrived in a Rolls Royce and walked into the hotel on her own despite the lingering pain from the severe burns she suffered to her legs and feet in a bathtub accident the previous year.

News of 9/11

In another attendance switch-up, Philip reportedly was at Margaret's birthday party in real life but didn't go in The Crown, prompting a barb from the queen about her dear friend Henry "Porchey" Carnarvon being a most reliable companion. (Also her racing manager for decades, Lord Carnarvon really was her favorite person to talk horses with.)

In The Crown, Margaret is distraught learning about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and then she finds out that the queen's confidante Porchey dropped dead watching the news.

Porchey did die on the operating table that day, having suffered a heart attack moments after the second plane hit the World Trade Center—which he and wife Jean Carnarvon saw on live TV, according to Bedell Smith's 2012 biography Elizabeth the Queen.

"The queen was devastated," Jean told the author. "It was so unexpected. It caught us all."

Margaret's Last Wishes

Detailing her funeral plan to the queen in The Crown, Margaret says she wants to be dressed in a floral print (no black and no red lipstick) and for the organist to play the finale from Swan Lake during the arrivals. Her flowers of choice: roses and tulips.

The queen's younger sister died on Feb. 9, 2002, when she was only 71. On Feb. 15, a rose-colored coffin was draped with white roses and pink tulips, and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake played as mourners filed into St. George's Chapel in Windsor for the private funeral Margaret had requested, according to reports from the day. After the service she became the first member of the royal family in 60 years to be cremated, her ashes interred in the family vault next to her father, King George VI.

The Queen Mother, also Elizabeth, was 101 when she passed away less than two months later, on March 30.

How Big Was "Willsmania"?

Not as big as Beatlemania, but pretty sizable. Teenage Prince William—or Wills, as he was familiarly referred to—was a registered heartthrob at home and abroad and he really was mobbed by girls when Charles brought both sons to Canada in 1998.

It's highly unlikely, however, that 14-year-old Kate Middleton was snipping his picture out of magazines after she and her mum, Carole Middleton, spotted him and his mum in the street selling copies of The Big Issue for charity (which the prince has been known to do in real life).

Not only do Kate and Will lock eyes in the made-up scene, but Diana also exchanges a few words with the girl who will one day marry her son.

If only.

Kate Lights William's Fire

William and Kate were already friends—and she was dating fourth-year Rupert Finch—when she wore a see-through skirt for a dress at a charity fashion show and her future husband's jaw hit the floor.

"Kate's hot!" William whispered to his pal Fergus Boyd, according to royal biographer Katie Nicholl. The prince made a move at the after-party, but Kate initially pulled away when he leaned in for a kiss, per Nicholl's The Making of a Royal Romance: William, Kate and Harry—A Look Behind the Palace Walls.

"It was clear to us that William was smitten with Kate," said a friend of both who witnessed the moment. "He actually told her she was a knockout that night, which caused her to blush." 

Meanwhile, another partygoer, Andrew Sands, recalled seeing out of the corner of his eye that Will and Kate kissed at the end of the night, according to Nicholl's 2013 follow-up Kate: The Future Queen. "Everyone pretended that they weren't taking much notice," Andrew said, "but it went round St. Andrews like wildfire afterwards."

Was the Queen About to Abdicate at Charles and Camilla's Wedding?

The Crown took a lot of heat last year as it entered the royals' annus horribilis-defined era, but former Prime Minister John Major was especially incensed by a plot point that had him (as played by Jonny Lee Miller) and Charles discussing the possibility of the queen abdicating her throne.

Major called the depiction "a barrel-load of malicious nonsense" and encouraged viewers to boycott season five. (The Crown was nominated for six more Emmys instead.)

In the series finale, the queen asks to give a speech at Charles and Camilla's April 9, 2005, wedding, leading to speculation she's going to announce she's stepping down. (Peter Morgan apparently wasn't fazed by Major's ire.)

After being visited by the ghosts of queens past (The Crown O.G. Claire Foy and her successor Olivia Colman), Elizabeth decides there's more work to be done. Giving her wedding speech, the queen reads from a series of cards, noticeably skipping over one of them.

On the actual day, the queen—who didn't attend the civil vow ceremony but did join the newlyweds for the church blessing afterward and hosted a reception for her son and daughter-in-law at Windsor Castle—invoked a horse-racing metaphor when describing Charles and Camilla's long trip to the altar.

And destined to reign for 17 more years, the queen herself obviously wasn't ready to be put out to pasture. 

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