Los Angeles Times
The young royals
You’ve never seen Prince Charles and Princess Anne like this. Thank ‘Crown’ scene stealers Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty
NEW YORK — If you’re wondering how much Josh O’Connor and Erin Doherty knew about Prince Charles and Princess Anne before signing on to play them in “The Crown,” the answers, respectively, are “not much” and “virtually nothing.”
“I got off the phone with my agent and I was like, ‘I know “The Crown,” but who is this woman?’ ” said Doherty, joined by O’Connor for lunch in Manhattan. He’s not exactly a monarchist, either.
“If pressed, I would probably say I was a republican,” he says. “I’m just not that bothered, basically.”
Despite their ambivalence about the institution, Doherty and O’Connor have embraced their roles as the young royals, whose personal lives are a focal point of the third season of the Netflix drama. During a period of declining international influence and economic hardship for the U.K., Princess Anne and especially Prince Charles face rocky transitions to adulthood and life in the public eye. Charles begins to prepare for his future role as king, including a lonely stint studying the Welsh language. But the heir to the throne resents the way he has to suppress his feelings because of a job he won’t inherit for decades — especially when it comes to his love interest, Camilla Shand (Emerald
Fennell). For viewers accustomed to seeing Charles cast as an aloof tabloid villain during his later marriage to Princess Diana, his vulnerability and likability come as a surprise.
Nearly as unexpected is the way his feisty younger sister, Anne — much less familiar to American audiences — becomes this season’s scene-stealer, thanks to her disarming candor, lethal eye roll and taste for David Bowie. Unburdened by being next-in-line, she’s free to tell it like it is, and she does so — frequently. During a pivotal showdown, she tells her horrified mother, Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman), that all she wanted from a hookup with Camilla’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Andrew Parker Bowles, was “a bit of fun.”
“There’s something that happens to you when you know your mum has something that will always be more important,” Doherty says. “Ultimately, it makes me feel so sorry for them. I wouldn’t want to be them.”
“I think it would be rubbish,” O’Connor adds. Doherty and O’Connor will head back to London later in the day, where they will resume filming Season 4 of “The Crown” — a.k.a. the One with Diana. The actors followed similar trajectories to “The Crown” and share a sibling-like dynamic. Both former soccer players, at one point in the conversation they challenge each other to a “keepie-uppie” contest. Like Colman, they studied drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. And they
Where: Netflix When: Any time Rated: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under age 17)