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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

King Charles III | TV Movie


King Charles III is a play, that was made into a movie for television, that takes a look at what life might be like if Queen Elizabeth were to pass away and Prince Charles were to become King of England.


The play was written by Mike Bartlett and had a run at the Almeida Theatre and at the West End. Bartlett also adapted the play for the screen, and the screen adaptation was directed by Rupert Goold.

The piece is written in blank verse and sounds very Shakespearean. There are so many elements that reflect Shakespeare's work. For example, the aside monologues. Charles has one at the top of the movie and another during the course of it. Another character who has an aside in the movie is Kate.

The way that Kate Middleton is portrayed, she comes across as a milder Lady Macbeth. Not murderous, but very ambitious - for herself and her husband. Charlotte Riley portrays this clever character, and does the character justice, I think. You get the sense that Kate wants what is best for her family, as well as wanting more than what she thinks the public thinks she should want.

The actor who had the pleasure of bringing this version of Prince Charles to life, Tim Pigott-Smith passed away back in April. But he does a wonderful job with this character. It is apparent the struggles Charles is facing. He is undergoing a classic theme of man vs. society. He has to decide if he should serve society by staying true to his conscience or serve society as it is being asked to be served.

Something that the piece brings up and really asks its audience to think about it the freedom of the press. I think this is a world wide question, which is why there are applications of how things were handled in the movie to more than just the British society. It really is interesting the stance that this version of Charles has, on the freedom of the press, considering everything that happened in the press with the death of Princess Diana. And that point is brought up near the top of the piece. It also explores the concerns of whether or not the press should be controlled by bringing in a storyline with Prince Harry.


This version of Prince Harry is an interesting one. He seems to still be somewhat searching for himself in a sense. Trying to figure out if his place is truly with the Crown or elsewhere. We get the sense that he is tired of living the "party boy" life, which I honestly have no idea if that was really a thing for the actual Prince Harry. And it appears that he may have found meaning to what it appears he believes to be a meaningless life. But the rest of that storyline is left unanswered, in my opinion.

There are many other things that are left unanswered by the end of the movie. And because this is an adaptation of a play, I don't know if there is more to it or if this was in fact how Bartlett chose to end it.

Overall, I think it's an excellent piece of work. The writing is amazing! The camera work is clever and engaging. There was a specific moment where I was wondering if this was a reality for the characters or if it was going to be revealed as a dream, and the way that it turns out is different than anything I've seen with that specific style. I definitely recommend seeing this.

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