The Crown is a television hit because the Royal family has an entertaining mix of “nastiness and competitiveness’, according to one of its stars.
Josh O’Connor, who plays the young Prince of Wales, likened the Windsors to the Mob characters in The Sopranos, or the backstabbing media moguls in Succession.
“Like all great television shows, in my opinion, it’s about family, and the politics of the family. And that’s what’s interesting.
“Yes, all the costumes and the big houses and the quality of the cinematography and the music and the score, all that is amazing. But ultimately, at its heart, it is Succession, it’s The Sopranos, it’s about family, the nastiness and competitiveness and the love and insecurity, and all the things that we love to see play out. that’s what makes it successful,” O’Connor said.
The forthcoming series will focus on the troubled relationship between the Prince and Princess of Wales, and O’Connor said that “the Diana stuff has been thrilling to play”.
In an interview with Esquire UK, the actor said he has no personal interest in the Royal family. He explained: “It’s quite useful, because if anyone tries to trick you into saying anything about the real Royal family, I can’t, because I don’t know anything.
“When we went over to the Golden Globes, people were asking us about Harry and Meghan and I had to say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Because I really don’t.”
O’Connor said he was fascinated by the Prince’s “predicament” as a king-in-waiting. He explained: “For me, that’s the juicy stuff. The question of having to wait for your mum to die in order for your life to have meaning, and what that means for a young man.
“It’s just bizarre. Charles doesn’t necessarily want power, but until she does, what the hell is he doing? What is his existence? He has no purpose.”
In order to prepare for his roles, O’Connor creates a scrapbook of photographs, clippings and objects. In the case of the Prince of Wales, he tried to recreate the sense of being at Gordonstoun.
“I went on the website and ordered the most public school shorts I could find. Crispy white shorts. I got those, and I soaked them in mud and left them in a sports bag for a week and cut out the material and stuck that in,” he said.
“I bought some aftershave, the oakiest one I could found, the most Charles-y one I could imagine, and sprayed that in the book. Maybe it’s kind of over-the-top and maybe it doesn’t help me at all but I do it for fun, so who cares?”
:: The full interview is in the September/October issue of Esquire UK, on sale now