How The Crown will embarrass King Charles: New series shoehorns in toe-curling moments that seem designed to humiliate the monarch – from royal’s break dancing in 1985 to THAT tampongate call with Camilla

  • The Crown’s creators rejected criticism the drama is ‘unkind’ to King Charles 
  • Yet, series five has still focused on some of the royal’s more toe-curling moments
  • One such scene includes the King’s break dancing in 1985 in Middleton-on-Sea

The Crown’s creators have rejected criticism that the hit Netflix drama is ‘unkind’ to King Charles by recreating ‘painful memories’ of the breakdown of his marriage to Princess Diana. 

Previous series have painted the King as an  unlikable character who treats Princess Diana with contempt, while having an affair with Camilla – and this one is no different. 

But series five goes a step further in heaping misery on Charles by recreating some of his most cringe-worthy moments. 

One such scene includes his awkward break dancing in 1985, when a then 37-year-old Prince Charles took to the dancefloor in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex, alongside a group of youths on a visit for The Prince’s Trust. 

However, The Crown is now covering the events of the ’90s, suggesting the scenes have only been included for comedy value.  

Elsewhere, the toe-curling and infamous ‘tampongate’ phone call between the now monarch and his wife The Queen Consort is depicted between actors Olivia Williams as Camilla and Dominic West as Charles.

And while some of the scenes reflect real-life scenarios, others are sensationalised plotlines which are unlikely to have happened – including Charles trying to humiliate the Queen with the results of a public poll about the monarchy.

Here, FEMAIL explores some of the cringe-worthy moments that were included in the new series, released on November 9…

BREAK DANCING IN 1985 

Dominic hits the dancefloor! The Crown recreates Prince Charles’ awkward break dancing in 1985, when a then 37-year-old Prince Charles took to the dancefloor in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex, alongside a group of youths on a visit for The Prince’s Trust

It seems like the scene of Prince Charles dancing, which really took place 10 years earlier, was only included to poke fun at the royal 

At the end of the fifth episode, Charles is shown visiting a group of young people through his work for the Prince’s Trust.

He gives a speech and is shown being given a tour of the garden at the organisation and chatting to young people about their futures.

He’s seen visiting a council estate and tells the young people he ‘does understand’ what they’re going through.

‘I understand what it’s like to be criticised and judged, and I know these judgements are mostly not true. That people out there have no idea who I really am 

However the most striking moment comes as the credits roll – when the royal is shown on a dancefloor at the event, where he is beckoned forward and begins to dance with one of the young people.

He can be seen laughing and smiling as he breaks into a number of moves on the dancefloor while the other man breakdances, and the crowd cheers him on. 


The King, then Prince of Wales, showed off his break-dancing moves during a dancing competition in 1985. He did a wave, left, and looked to be doing the robot, a popular move at the time 

Archive footage shows how the then heir-to-the-throne channelled his inner John Travolta on the dancefloor 

These scenes are partly true. Back in 1985, then 37-year-old Prince Charles did take to a dancefloor alongside a group of break dancers during a visit for The Prince’s Trust.

It was during an engagement in Middleton-on-Sea, West Sussex, for a Youth Meets Industry course alongside 300 unemployed people. 

Video from the engagement shows Charles being beckoned onto the dancefloor before he performs a number of dance moves for the roaring crowd.

Like other plotlines in the Netflix drama, the timeline appears to have been distorted – in reality, Charles’ visit was a decade earlier than is depicted in the show. 

It begs the question of why they were included – other than to poke fun at the monarch.  

‘TAMPONGATE’ SCANDAL

During the call, the then prince referred to being reincarnated as the tampon brand Tampax, and told Camilla that he wanted to ‘live inside’ her as they fantasised about being intimate with each other.

The details of the intimate phone call with Prince Charles will no doubt be hugely embarassing for the Queen Consort, played in the drama by Olivia Williams

The fifth episode of the drama focuses on the moment Charles and Camilla engage in an intimate phone call. 

Charles leaves a dinner with friends to call Camilla, who is shown as being at home with her family. Her husband Andrew picks up the phone, before handing it over to Camilla, who swiftly heads to the bedroom.

The pair flirt with one another, before it emerges a stranger has managed to listen in to their phone call through the radio.

DIANA BRANDED TAMPON COMMENT ‘SICK’ 

After reading a transcript of the tape, Princess Diana reportedly declared ‘game, set and match’.

Her former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, said in 2017, that as the conversation made headlines around the world when it emerged in 1993, Diana revelled in her husband’s embarrassment.

The ex personal protection officer claimed Charles and Camilla’s leaked late night phone chat gave Diana a boost as she began rebuilding her life after separating publicly from the prince.

Diana’s reaction to the 1989 recording was revealed by the ex-Met Police officer in his book Guarding Diana: Protecting The Princess Around The World.

Writing in the book, he quoted Diana: ‘”Game, set and match,” she said, clutching to her copy of the Daily Mirror containing a transcript of the “Camillagate” tape as we talked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace.’

But he also added that Diana was ‘genuinely shocked’ and said repeatedly about the tampon comment: ‘It’s just sick’, according to Wharfe, via Esquire. 

The conversation begins with Charles telling Camilla about a speech he is planning to give, while the person listening in realises he is hearing royalty. 

He immediately begins recording, and is shown growing agog with shock as the conversation continues. 

He is then shown trying to sell the tapes around to newspapers – however, he struggles to find a buyer, because the editors think it will be too much of a risk to publish before the divorce between Charles and Diana is announced.

Years later, when the separation is announced, it is then printed in the paper, with the scenes switching between the royal family’s reactions, and clips of Camilla and Charles on the phone to each other.

In the call, they become more breathy as Camilla tells Charles: ‘You’re awfully good at feeling your way along.’

Meanwhile Charles tells her: ‘Oh stop! I want to feel my way along you, all over you and up and down you and in and out…’

The couple go on to discuss how they can’t start the week without each other, with Charles saying: ‘I fill up your tank…then you can cope….The trouble is I need you several times a week.’

During the call, the then prince referred to being reincarnated as the tampon brand Tampax, and told Camilla that he wanted to ‘live inside’ her as they fantasised about being intimate with each other.

In real life, the phonecall was recorded in 1989 when the Prince and Princess of Wales were still married. However a transcript of the call – also known as ‘Camillagate’ – only became public in 1992. 

It caused huge embarrassment to the Royal Family as it included details of how the prince had told his lover that he wanted to be her ‘tampon’.

The audio recording along with a transcript of the six-minute call was sold to a tabloid and published. It was circulated again in 1993 by The People, following the separation of Charles and Princess Diana. 

When discussing how much they ‘need’ each other, Charles said during the 1989 conversation: ‘Oh, God. I’ll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier!’

A laughing Camilla replied: ‘What are you going to turn into, a pair of knickers? (Both laugh). Oh, you’re going to come back as a pair of knickers.’

Charles said: ‘Or, God forbid, a Tampax. Just my luck!’ to which Camilla responded: ‘You are a complete idiot! Oh, what a wonderful idea,’ reported Esquire.

Charles made the call to Camilla, who was at her home in Wiltshire, on a mobile phone, not a landline as is portrayed in the programme. 

Filmed at length for the new series, the chat, which became known in the tabloids as ‘tampongate’ (pictured), is intended to show affection between Charles and Camilla and attempt to garner viewer sympathy at the intrusion into their private lives

While much of the depiction of the scene is true, as in other parts of the drama, the filmmakers have taken some liberties with the phrases used within the call. 

It appears the filmmakers have abbreviated some parts of the conversation – but on the whole, it is word for word what the couple said. 

It isn’t known how the royal family reacted to the scandal individually – however it was reported at the time to have sent shock waves through The Firm. 

PLAYS UP AFFECTIONATE BEHAVIOUR WITH DIANA FOR THE CAMERAS 

Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West as Diana and Prince Charles during a family holiday in Italy, which occurs on the first episode of series five 

Prince Charles is seen telling Diana, ‘Let’s give them [the press] some of the old magic’ before awkwardly kissing her on the cheek, during a photocall in Italy 

A real life picture of then Prince Charles with Prince Harry, Princess Diana and Prince William and friends of the family  in 1991

In episode one, Charles and Diana go to Italy for a family holiday, or a ‘second honeymoon’ as it’s dubbed in the announcement to the media by the prince’s press secretary.

The couple – who aren’t yet divorced – greet each other coldly, but when they arrive on the luxury yacht in front of the cameras, Charles plays up the affectionate behaviour with Diana.    

He says to her: ‘Let’s give them [the press] some of the old magic’ before kissing Diana on the cheek and being touchy-feely with her.

In 1991, Charles and Diana did go on a boat trip to Italy, with their sons, Princes William and Harry, just months before calling off their marriage.

However, in photographs from the holiday, the couple aren’t seen being overly affectionate with one another.

Instead, the parents are often seen with their children, William and Harry, placed between them when on the luxury yacht.  

MOANS ABOUT BEING A ‘USELESS ORNAMENT’ 

The suggestion that Prince Charles moaned about the ‘predicament’ of being the Prince of Wales and called himself a ‘useless ornament’ will no doubt cause embarassment for the King 

In the opening scene of the fifth episode of the drama, Prince Charles questions how he sees his role as Prince of Wales.

He is seen holding court at an invented dinner party complaining about his ‘predicament’. 

He says: ‘It’s hardly a job, still less a vocation…more of a predicament. Previous Prince of Wales have been happy to misspend their lives in idle dissipation, but my problem is I can’t bear idleness or dissipation.

‘Every day I’m meeting people from all walks of life, men and women my age who have gone out into the world and made their mark. It’s preciously the thing that I’m not allowed to do. 

‘In any other professional sphere, I’d be at the peak of my powers. Instead, what am I? I’m just a useless ornament, stuck in a waiting room, gathering dust.’ He leaves the table to call Camilla Parker Bowles.

Yet the idea that Prince Charles disliked being Prince of Wales is striking, particularly because the royal held the title for the majority of his life.

Beaming with pride, the Queen presents Charles to the public as the Prince of Wales at Queen Eleanor’s Gate of Caernarfon Castle

He was created the Prince of Wales by the late Queen when he was only nine years old on July 26 1958.

His time as Prince of Wales wasn’t without controversy. A then-20-year-old Charles wore a bulletproof vest for his formal investiture  with the title by his mother on July 1 1969 at Caernarfon Castle in north Wales due to fears of nationalist violence.

In preparation, he spent ten weeks learning about Welsh culture, history and language, and during the ceremony he gave his replies in both English and Welsh. He also gave his speech in Welsh. 

In the years since then, Charles has continued to visit the country, both on official engagements and for holidays.  

In 2007, he bought the £1.2 million Llwynywermod estate in Camarthenshire, close to Llanymddyfri, after years spent trying to find ‘the right place’. 

He and Camilla now tend to spend a couple of weeks a year at the secluded and fully sustainable three-bedroom farmhouse. 

In 2019, he celebrated 50 years since his investiture as the Prince of Wales with a five day long tour of the country. 

Meanwhile last year, it was Wales he chose to privately retreat to after the death of his father Prince Philip 

ANNOYED ABOUT FLYING BUSINESS CLASS

The ultimate episode of series five follows Charles as he travels to China to attend the Hong Kong Handover of July 1 1997. 

The momentous event saw the Sovereignty of Hong Kong being transferred from the UK to The People’s Republic of China, ending 156 years of British rule. 

As Charles prepare for his trip, his private secretary, Mark Bolland, informs him that he will be flying with Tony Blair and other politicians, who are also attending the event. 

However, he admits to Charles that he will have to fly business class, while the rest of the party will be in first class.  

Prince Charles is shown feeling annoyed about having to fly in business class rather than first class on the was to China for the handover of Hong Kong in July 1997 

‘The only thing I wasn’t able to change was business class seat,’ Bolland is heard saying, as both Charles and Camilla, who is by his side, look up in shock. 

‘The politicians, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd, and former prime minister Edward Heath are all going first class,’ Bolland goes on. 

‘And the heir to the throne is in business,’ Charles asked, raising his eyebrows with a sardonic smile. 

Bolland replies: ‘Afraid so,’ before Charles turns to Camilla and chuckles: ‘Doesn’t that tell you everything.’

While the heir-to-the-throne is still processing the information, Camilla cajoles him, saying: You’re going to have to be very brave.

She then adds with a wink for Bolland: ‘But I promise you, you’ll survive.’

Later on, we see Charles sitting in business class on his way to Hong Kong, and looking over to what is happening in first class, where the politicians, including Blair, are popping champagne. 

Charles’ envy is apparent, as he is seen peering his head from his seat, then looking around hid and smiling as his laughing at his own situation.   

TRYING TO WIN OVER TONY BLAIR  

Charles is also at the centre of a toe-curling conversation where he is shown to try to win the sympathies of newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

The two men have tea together after Blair was given a tour of the royal yacht Britannia, who the government plans to decommission. 

During the talk, Charles starts by being extremely friendly towards Blair, before airing his vision for the Monarchy. 

He also makes a cringe-worthy analogy where he calls him and Blair ‘brothers.’ 

‘Look at you, the first prime minister young enough to be the Queen’s son,’ he starts.  

The Crown portrays Charles awkwardly trying to win over Prime Minister Tony Blair by suggesting they could be ‘brothers’ 

‘Winston Churchill, who sat in this chair many times, was old enough to be her grandfather,’ he adds. 

He then goes on to describe Anthony Eden and Harold MacMillan as old enough to be the Queen’s fathers, while adding that Harold Wilson and Edward Heath could have been her husbands, and Margaret Thatcher the Queen’s ‘twin sister.’

‘And you her son, which I supposed, by extension, would make us….

‘Brothers,’ Blair says politely. 

Charles goes on and voices his hopes that Blair and him will see eye-to-eye on the future of the Monarchy, while the Prime Minister looks awkward. 

‘Two men of the same age and generation. And, hopefully, of a similar mindset.

As they discuss the decommissioning of the Britannia, Charles says: ‘No point clinging to the past, we must be exited about the future, and what an example you’ve set with your party.

Then Prince Charles meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair in Hong Kong onboard the Britannia in July 1997

‘You’ve taken a rusty, old socialist tractor and turned it into a gleaming, modern sports car. And look how the public has responded,’ he adds. 

The Prince of Wales then moves on to voice his discontent with the royal family.  

‘I probably shouldn’t say this, but I think the royal family needs a similar renovation.

Not just in terms of size and cost, though certainly those things, too, but also in terms of attitudes,’ he says. 

‘My parents can be a little hidebound in their ideas about, for example, how I should be permitted to live,’ he adds. 

It is then clear he is referring to his relationship with Camilla.  

‘Divorces and second marriages, these things exist. And the reality for many people today,’ he says. 

‘You understand that, and you understand the public mood more than anyone. Don’t you think they’d prefer to see a happy, remarried Prince of Wales, rather than an unhappy, unmarried one?’ he asks. 

Speaking of the conversation with his wife Cherie on the flight back to London, Blair says that Charles was ‘effectively briefing against his own mother.’

But he adds he things the heir-to-the-throne is an ‘impressive man,’ with energy and brains.’  

Charles is then shown saying to Blair during their meeting: ‘if we want to preserve what’s best about the crown, then two, modern, forward-thinking men might need to work together.

‘To help protect, well not only the monarchy’s future as heir-to-the-throne, my future too,’ he adds. 

This participates in depicting Charles as a power-hungry heir who cannot wait to be King in his mother’s place. 

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