The Crown is set to have plenty of controversial scenes when the latest season starts next week, but Dominic West has defended the decision to include the so-called ‘tampon-gate affair’.
Back in 1989, a phone conversation was leaked between the now-King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla where he allegedly told her he wanted to be reincarnated as a tampon so he could ‘live inside’ her.
The conversation caused outrage and they were publicly shamed, including for the fact the two were also each still married to their respective spouses.
But including it in the fifthseason was a chance to reposition this, and other stories with the benefit of hindsight.
West says it made him realise just how harshly the woman at the centre of it all was judged.
‘I never really thought about it at the time, but the research showed me how badly Camilla was treated,’ West told Radio Times.
‘I don’t think that would happen today. It happened for many reasons, one of them being she’s a woman.’
He also went on to say that although he previously thought it was a ‘sordid, embarrassing discussion revisiting it, I found it was just an intensely personal conversation, and what was sordid was the prurient interest in it.’
‘Most people, if they’re lucky enough, will have had conversations like that with people they love,’ he added.
‘It’s very sweet, tender, and gauche but, like any intensely personal conversation, just not for public consumption.’
Last week West, who takes over the role of King Charles from Josh O’Connor in the fifth season, confirmed that the ‘sordid’ recording had been recreated for the upcoming season.
He previously said that revisiting the scandal had made him ‘extremely sympathetic towards the two of them and what they’d gone through’.
‘Looking back on it, and having to play it, what you’re conscious of is that the blame was not with these two people, two lovers, who were having a private conversation,’ he remarked.
‘What’s really [clear now] is how invasive and disgusting was the press’s attention to it, that they printed it out verbatim and you could call a number and listen to the actual tape.’
While this season of the show sees King Charles facing being hacked by the press, divorcing Diana, and being disparaged by the British public, West says playing the royal has made him even more charming.
‘I’ve always really liked him, and I think that was enhanced in most people’s eyes by the funeral, his involvement in it, and his accession, particularly the unguarded moments, which were really endearing and so different from the Queen . . . my affection for him has grown even more,’ he said.
The Crown will be available to stream on Netflix from November 9.