King Charles III – A “What If” of Shakespearean Proportions

“The Queen is dead. Long live the King!” those words shall be uttered one day and Great Britain will mourn along with many more people. This story takes it to another level and looks at what could happen when Charles is crowned king.


Queen Elizabeth II is dead. Long live King Charles III. With the new crowned head Charles is ready to take his place as King. But his first duty from Parliament is to sign a Bill which would regulate the press. Conflicts arise, a constitutional crisis emerges, family members become rivals, and the rights of the people and of the monarchs are questioned.


Based on the play with the same title this story by Mark Bartlett is told in blank verse or how I like to call it; the kind of poetic talk one can easily understand and which is throughly underrated, in my opinion. The film is more grand, but from what I can gather the play and the importance to the text is adhered to very well.


The casting is spot on as the ones chosen for their roles not only play their parts fantastically, but also look alike to the people they are portraying. The costumes and sets help make this play real and elevate it with good camera movement in to a Shakespearean drama where they can talk to the camera like in every iteration of  Shakespeare’s  Richard III that lets us see the plotting, but we are merely observers and we cannot change things how much we might want to. And no this is not an anti-monarchist movie, indeed its very sympathetic to them and what could happen if the House of Commons ruined things more than they do (yes, I mean Brexit and its whole debacle).

The late Tim Pigott-Smith as Charles is truly engaging as he lets on to Charles’ character and his troubles. Indeed his first monologue is of how he is finally king, though the words are ones we envision him saying already in his head, because its a joke that time has written all by itself (just look at Mock The Week and you see it every time The Queen or he pops up in the improvised routines).

There is a lot of fantastic acting in this film, but the one for me was Charlotte Riley as  Princess Kate Middleton. She not only looks the part, but is believable as she shows the steel underneath her silky, fashionable and simple gowns. It makes you question the role of the consort and her place in the royal hierarchy.



So I recommend this film to anyone who wants to see it. I mean if you like plays and the Royal Family this is a must already. It’s so engaging and seemed to uncannily predict certain things (the play was written in 2014 and this aired in 2017 so things have changed certainly and its about Harry, three guesses what his story in this about).

It’s Shakespeare for the modern audience with people we know yet do now know. Shakespeare wrote about the ancestors and father of Elizabeth I, but instead of looking back this play/film looks forward to see what might happen should the circumstances come to it that unfold in this masterly done film.



Thank you for reading! 

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