- Season five of “The Crown” shows Charles dancing at an event for his charity, The Prince’s Trust.
- The bizarre moment really did happen at a disco in West Sussex in 1985 and was captured on video.
- Creator Peter Morgan wasn’t aware of the video until Charles actor Dominic West showed it to him.
Since its debut in 2016, “The Crown” has been lauded by critics and audiences alike for shining a light on the inner workings of the royal family — although recently, that tide has begun to turn.
It’s revealed to a whole new generation some of the surprising moments in the recent history of the royal family’s headline-making antics, such as the time Diana danced to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” on Charles’ birthday.
However, one moment at the end of the fifth episode of season five has topped them all in being completely forgotten by almost everyone, and so bizarre that viewers assumed that it was made up for the purposes of the drama.
But no, it turns out that the scene in which the-then Prince Charles (Dominic West) takes to a dancefloor to bust a move is completely, 100% real.
The fifth episode of the new series, titled “The Way Ahead” focuses on the British heir’s pursuits to modernize the monarchy in a number of ways in the mid-1990s.
This includes giving a tell-all television interview to Jonathan Dimbleby, titled “Charles: The Private Man, the Public Role,” and doubling down on his work with The Prince’s Trust, a charity he initially set up in 1976 to help vulnerable young people.
As the credits begin to roll at the end of the episode, Charles is seen attending a party for the charity’s beneficiaries.
Set against the soundtrack of Eric B. & Rakim’s 1992 hit “Don’t Sweat the Technique,” Charles is encouraged to try some of the dance moves the young guests are doing and does not hold back.
You would be forgiven for not remembering the particular moment in Charles’ past as it turns out that “The Crown” creator Peter Morgan also wasn’t aware it happened until actor Dominic West told him about it, having stumbled across it in his own research into the king of the United Kingdom.
“Peter hadn’t written [the scene] initially and we alerted Peter to it — just, ‘You’ve gotta see this amazing video footage of Charles breakdancing,'” West shared in an interview with Vanity Fair.
It seems that it was too good a moment to pass up recreating, and the scene was shot, edited, and added to the end of the episode, which West said he is “really glad” about as “it actually says so much about him.”
The actor explained: “He really has a go. He knows he’s going to look ridiculous, but you could see there’s a certain — especially when he was younger — a certain competitive streak in Charles, particularly when it came to sport.”
West added that he even employed the help of the show’s movement coach, Polly Bennett, to help him nail down Charles’s awkward and stiff dancing.
“We did spend quite a bit of time with Polly learning the dance he does on YouTube, which is extraordinary,” he said. “I learned the whole thing but it doesn’t make the cut. Anyway, it was fun. He has extraordinary moves. It’s fabulous actually.”
While Charles’ disco king moment is real, the show has played with the timeline a little as it actually happened almost a decade earlier than “The Crown” suggests. It was in 1985 that he attended a disco in the West Sussex village of Middleton-on-Sea following a workshop his charity had organized for young unemployed people in the area.
According to a PA story published at the time, Charles was “persuaded to attempt breakdancing with three of the youngsters, and moved his legs in slow robotic imitation, even getting down on his knees.”
The article said that more than 300 young people watched on, cheering and applauding the prince as he danced beneath pulsating lights in the loud discotheque, which proved “a problem for royal security men” who had not expected the evening to take such an unexpected turn.
Meanwhile, West has previously opened up about the extensive research he conducted ahead of this performance. He told Entertainment Weekly that he spent time on Charles’ estate in Cornwall, England, and even rented one of his cottages.
While on the property, West said that he spoke to everyone there about the king. “What I discovered was, there’s a huge number of places where he has had an effect,” he told the outlet.
“The Crown” season five is streaming now on Netflix.