The Crown to depict the King and Queen Consort’s infamous phone call

The Crown will depict what is widely considered to be the King and the Queen Consort’s most embarrassing moment.

The Netflix show’s fifth season, with the first episode to screen on November 9, reportedly depicts the notorious ‘tampongate’ phone call between Charles and Camilla.

The private call took place in 1989 while Charles was still married to Princess Diana.

The phone call’s contents leaked to the press in 1993 after Charles and Diana had separated, and three years before they finalised their divorce.

Intimate conversation

The intimate conversation made headlines around the world, with the King infamously expressing that he wished to be reincarnated as Camilla’s tampon.

“Oh, God. I’ll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier,” Charles said during the conversation.

“What are you going to turn into, a pair of knickers?” Camilla jested. “Oh, you’re going to come back as a pair of knickers.”

“Or, God forbid, a Tampax. Just my luck!” said Charles.

Both Charles and Camilla laughed at his suggestion.

“You are a complete idiot! Oh, what a wonderful idea,” Camilla responded.

The Crown

The leaked conversation made headlines all around the world. Photo: Getty

Not always the plan

Although the incident is undoubtedly a major event in the King’s public life, The Crown initially decided against depicting ‘tampongate’.

Their hesitancy was apparently due to concerns from actor Josh O’Connor, who played Prince Charles in seasons three and four.

O’Connor told SiriusXM in 2020 that he didn’t want to make his parents uncomfortable by acting out the phone call.

“When they offered me the role, one of my first questions was – I say questions, I think it was pretty much a statement – ‘We are not doing the tampon phone call’,” O’Connor said.

The Crown

Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin played young Charles and Diana. Photo: IMDB

“Pre The Crown, I had made many independent films, many television shows where there was a lot of nudity and a lot of slightly dodgy characters and this was my one chance for my parents to see something with no shame,” he said.

“There’s no way I was going to scuff on that by talking about tampons on Netflix … Unfortunately, all the fans of ‘tampongate’ will be very disappointed.”

Change of plans

According to The Telegraph, writers for The Crown decided to show the moment in order to elicit sympathy for the “two young people in love”.

Dominic West, who plays Charles in the upcoming season, had a different attitude to the scandal.

West was ironically caught up in a cheating scandal of his own in 2020 when photos emerged of the actor kissing his The Pursuit of Love co-star Lily James.

West told Entertainment Weekly that acting out the ‘tampongate’ scandal made him feel “extremely sympathetic” towards the royal family.

“I remember thinking it was something so sordid and deeply, deeply embarrassing [at the time],” West said.

“Looking back on it, and having to play it, what you’re conscious of is that the blame was not with these two people, two lovers, who were having a private conversation.

“What’s really [clear now] is how invasive and disgusting was the press attention to it, that they printed it out verbatim and you could call a number and listen to the actual tape.”

West said both he and co-star Olivia Williams, who plays Camilla in the upcoming season, wanted to “do right” by the royal couple.

The Crown

The Crown’s fifth season delves into the relationship between Charles (Dominic West) and Camilla (Olivia Williams). Photo: IMDB

‘Absolute disgrace’

West and Williams appear to have good intentions, but sources close to the royal family have condemned the creative liberties found in the series.

In a letter to The Telegraph, the Queen Mother’s official biographer William Shawcross condemned the show, as it was revealed The Crown had rewritten much of the late Queen’s famous ‘Annus Horribilis’ speech.

The Crown is an odious series, filled with lies and half-truths encased in lace and velvet,” Mr Shawcross wrote.

“It is astonishingly and deliberately hurtful to individual members of the royal family, public servants who cannot answer back, let alone sue for damages.”

Mr Shawcross accused The Crown creator Peter Morgan of waging “a campaign to abuse” the royal family, calling it “an absolute disgrace”.

The series has reportedly created an entirely fictional scene between the Queen, played by Imelda Staunton, and Charles (West).

The young prince reportedly tells the Queen that she should be “thrown … into jail” for being a bad mother.

‘Crude sensationalism’

Actor Judi Dench also took aim at the show in recent weeks, calling it a work of “crude sensationalism”.

Dench was once fond of the show, and said to have considered joining the cast. She was reportedly offered the role of the Queen Mother in The Crown’s fifth season, but eventually decided against it.

Dench has close ties to the royal family, and is a long-time friend of Charles and Camilla.

In a letter to The Times in October, Dench suggested the show include a disclaimer to distinguish between fact and fiction.

“No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged,” Dench said.

“Despite this week stating publicly that The Crown has always been a ‘fictionalised drama’ the program makers have resisted all calls for them to carry a disclaimer at the start of each episode.”

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