‘The Crown’ Season 4 Star Josh O’Connor Initially Refused to Play Prince Charles Because of His Political Beliefs

Josh O’Connor joined the cast of the mega-popular Netflix series The Crown in season 3, portraying one of the royal family’s most controversial members, Prince Charles. Why did the The Crown actor say no to the role when he was first offered it?

‘The Crown’ Season 4 cast member Josh O’Connor didn’t want to play Prince Charles

The Crown cast Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles
Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana on The Crown Season 4 | Des Willie/Netflix

The New York Times recently interviewed O’Connor about his experience playing Charles on The Crown, which “he debuted in Season 3, playing Charles as a Cambridge student.” Since then, the actor has “charted the prince’s emotional state through a progressively pronounced stoop,” the publication argued. The weight on the prince’s shoulder’s grows heavier in The Crown Season 4, however. In the newest season on Netflix, O’Connor portrays:

… a less sympathetic Charles, surly and sniveling as he bridles at his marriage to the limelight-stealing Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) while not so secretly yearning for Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell), the love that never quite got away.

Many actors would jump at the chance to act on one of Netflix’s biggest and most expensive shows. However, O’Connor “declined to read for Charles when he was initially asked,” The Times reported.

“I thought, I can’t add anything to this,” he told the publication. As a “self-described liberal left-winger,” O’Connor didn’t think his political beliefs would line up with the role.

“I’m a republican — I’m not interested in the royal family,” he continued.

How the Netflix series snagged the ‘Peaky Blinders’ actor for season 3

RELATED: Why This ‘the Crown’ Actor Is ‘in Love’ With Prince Charles

But after The Crown creator Peter Morgan showed O’Connor a scene, he “acquiesced.” In the scene he read, O’Connor recalled, Charles says: “I’m essentially waiting for my mother to die in order for my life to take meaning.” That scene alone seems to be what clinched it for the actor.

“I read that line and I was like, ‘Well, that’s enough to get your teeth into,’” he told The New York Times. It was a different perspective than O’Connor had had on the royal family member in the past.

“We were telling a kind of unheard, voiceless Charles,” O’Connor said. “But that’s the beauty of it, that’s where he struggles: He doesn’t feel listened to.”

Morgan denies casting O’Connor for — or even “noticing” — the actor’s ears, “though he imagines he must have.” The writer always wanted the Peaky Blinders alum for his craft, not his physical likeness to Charles.

“I was drawn to his sensitivity and the fact that he was complex but likable, and I just felt instantly intrigued,” Morgan told The New York Times. “And the minute he started doing some readings for us, it was a no-brainer. He was a list of one.”

‘The Crown’ star Josh O’Connor has ‘respect’ for the royal family

After acting on The Crown for 2 seasons, O’Connor has come to terms with his own personal opinions about the royals.

“While he has difficulty aligning his belief in a classless society with the royal family, he doesn’t think The Crown glamorizes them, despite its pageantry and splendor,” The Times confirmed.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Princess Diana and Prince Charles | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

RELATED: Prince Harry Wants to Stop Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Before It Gets to His Life

“It’s about humans who struggle and have very odd relationships with their parents and power and politics,” O’Connor shared. “That’s the juice.”

He also draws a line between the concept of respect versus adoration for the royals. The Crown star explained to the publication:

But I think you can have those beliefs and have great respect and affection and love even for these people. I think the queen is an extraordinary woman. Time after time, lots of men have failed, and this one woman in power has been consistent and remained dutiful and generally apolitical. In that sense, I have huge respect for her — and for Charles, to be honest. I mean, Charles is another level of someone who’s literally been waiting his entire life for this moment that still hasn’t come.