Meet the cast of King Charles III

The BBC adaptation of Mike Bartlett’s play imagines what will happen when Prince Charles becomes King – but who’s playing the royals?

Richard Goulding: Prince Harry

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Early in his career, Richard Goulding appeared in Laura Wade’s Posh, a stage play about the sort of hardcore Oxbridge drinking club to which David Cameron and Boris Johnson once belonged. Looking at publicity pictures one day, Goulding saw one in which he was giggling and thought: “Wow, I look just like Prince Harry” — but he didn’t expect the resemblance to be of professional relevance. Now he’s become a bit of a specialist in the fifth in line to the throne, not only in King Charles III, but also playing him in Channel 4’s sitcom The Windsors.

As that Harry is a comic exaggeration and the one in King Charles III a future fantasy version, Goulding chose “not to research the real Harry very much.” Shortly before our chat, Prince Harry gave a frank interview in which he’d discussed the impact on his mental health of his mother’s death. This might have been disastrous for Goulding, but that version of Harry — playful but also pained, sometimes struggling to understand the duties demanded of him — seemed to match their dramatisation of him.

“It’s amazing that he said what he said about his problems,” says Goulding. “But, for this play, that’s exactly what it’s about: for me, at the heart of the character always was this struggle of loyalties, which the boys share, resulting from the death of their mother.”

The sub-plot involves Harry’s attempt to conduct a relationship with a woman called Jess in scenes containing conversations about privacy and clashing backgrounds that it’s easy to imagine Harry having with his current actress girlfriend, Megan Markle.

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Goulding, fifth from left, as Prince Harry in Channel 4 sitcom The Windsors

Can actors playing living people ever allow themselves to ask whether the person would want this? “I think just before we went on stage for the first time, there was a brief moment of what are we doing? But in the end, you just have to ignore the possible response. We always felt this was a play that needed to be done.”

The Windsors, he says with a laugh, “doesn’t need to be done. That’s more to pay the bills. But it’s great fun.”

Outside of the Windsors, Goulding has played the brother of Jack Whitehall’s JP in Channel 4 comedy Fresh Meat, Edgar Morton in Ripper Street and Freddie Foster in movie Me Before You. He has also appeared in The Iron Lady And Foyle’s War, with stage credits including productions of King Lear, Titus Andronicus and The Seagull.

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Interviews with Oliver Chris, Charlotte Riley and Richard Goulding by Mark Lawson.