While we love a good TV drama revolving around the Royals, usually the programmes in question give us an insight into the past, rather than offering a bleak look into the future…

BBC’s King Charles III is set in a dystopian Britain where society has been thrown into chaos after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Tim Pigott-Smith King Charles III

Tim Pigott-Smith as Prince Charles

Following the loss of his mother and his ascension to the thrown, a defiant Charles refuses to sign a controversial bill that would limit the freedom of the British press. Political unrest and rioting follow, with Charles eventually usurped by his own son, William.

William, Charles and Kate as played by the actors in the new fictional BBC drama

King Charles III was originally a play by Mike Bartlett. It premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in April 2014. Interestingly, Bartlett was also the writer behind the gripping BBC drama Doctor Foster. The new royal TV drama airs on BBC Two this week.

In this highly tense political drama, the leading lady is William’s wife, Kate. And it’s a familiar face playing our beloved Duchess of CambridgePeaky Blinders’ Charlotte Riley will do the honours. Do you see a slight resemblance?


Charlotte told the Metro, “It’s such a unique project, to be both modern and rich in verse and to play someone who is real but yet totally re-imagined for this story.”

Kate Middleton is a really interesting woman, particularly within the context of this play. And it is a challenge I am really looking forward to.”

And it seems that stepping into Kate’s shoes has given her a unique insight into just what makes the Duchess tick. She describes Kate as an “incredibly interesting woman, and public figure”.

Continuing in the article cited in the Evening Standard, she goes on to add “and I think she is misunderstood”.

Charlotte Riley as the Duchess of Cambridge in the fictional drama

Although Charlotte has been enthusiastic about the project, many actors didn’t join in her positivity.

The new BBC drama is so controversial, that the director of the show struggled to get actors involved – as they were worried about offending the royal family!

Director Rupert Goold revealed, “You have to remember that, even with the stage version, we’d been through long conversations with lawyers and certain actors refusing to be involved because of how it might affect their future relationship with the honours system.”

One of the most shocking moments in the drama, is a scene where Princess Diana’s ghost appears to Prince Charles. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death is a car accident in Paris. While her sons plan to honour her this year, many felt that the timing of the show was insensitive.

The late Tim Pigott-Smith, who plays Prince Charles in the show, sadly passed away recently. However, before his death, he spoke about his role in the show and addressed the controversial scene featuring Princess Diana directly.

“One area of the play I found incredibly painful to do was the ghost of Princess Diana. Just because that whole incident was so terrible.”

“That area of the play is hyper-sensitive and would be terribly upsetting for any of them to watch. For Charles or William or Harry it would be agonising to watch. That upsets me. But I don’t think we’ve done anything unreasonable or cruel.”

So, will you tune in to the controversial royal drama? Or will you give this one a miss? Finally, have you seen the show? Tell us what you think! Let us know in the comments below.