The Crown star Dominic West says he can understand criticism of the show

Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown
Image caption,Dominic West played Prince Charles in the last two seasons, with Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana

The Crown star Dominic West has said he can understand the criticism of the show’s depiction of royal life.

The sixth and final season of the Netflix hit dramatised events including the death of Princess Diana.

West, who played Prince Charles in the last two seasons, said: “I can understand why people think this is too close to the actual events and that the grief is still so real.”

He said he “did think a lot about that” before taking the role. “I still do.”

West told BBC Radio 5 Live he had persuaded himself that the Royal Family were “fair game” – but he was “uncomfortable” with that idea.

Olivia Skinner and Dominic West in The Crown
Image caption,The sixth season includes Charles and Camilla’s wedding

In recent years, the show has faced growing criticism for using artistic licence to portray private royal life and sensitive events.

Last month, the Guardian’s review said it “borders on the exploitative”, while the Telegraph called it “intrusive and clumsy”.

The Times’ TV critic praised the first part of the final series, despite the fact it was “obviously mining tragedy for ratings”.

Showing Prince Harry’s reaction to being told about his mother’s death amounted to “intruding upon the worst moment of someone’s life for the purpose of entertainment”, Carol Midgley wrote.

Speaking to 5 Live’s Nihal Arthanayake, West said: “I acknowledge that there’s discomfort about it, and I can see why people think that way, and I have persuaded myself that the Royal Family are public property and therefore fair game.

“But I’m still uncomfortable with the thought of anyone being fair game or anyone’s private life being made public.”

However, he put his trust in writer Peter Morgan, and “he’s a proven great dramatist so that trust was easy to give”, the actor added.

Although he felt conflicted over the role, West told 5 Live: “Someone like me can’t turn down a part like Charles. He’s so interesting. He’s so complex.

“I did agonise for a while about it, but my wife tells me the result was always inevitable.”

He jokingly added that one of the negatives when he considered the part was that he had to “forgo the British Empire Medal that I might have got for services to acting”.

The final season, which also includes Prince William meeting Kate Middleton and Princess Margaret’s death, was met with generally negative reviews from critics.

Both the Independent and The Telegraph gave the season two-star reviews, with the latter writing that “a once fine drama abdicates with a miserable whimper”.

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