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The Controversy Behind the New Casting of Prince Charles on "The Crown"

Recent tabloid fixture Dominic West is rumored to be playing the royal on the hit show.

The cast of Netflix's hit drama The Crown has thus far read like a who's who of British talent, starring everyone from Oscar winner Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II to Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret to Doctor Who star Matt Smith as Prince Philip. However, in possibly the show's most controversial move to date, the beloved series is close to casting Dominic West as Prince Charles for the fifth and sixth seasons, Variety reports. Read on for the details, and for more on the popular series, Here's What All the British Royals Really Think About The Crown.

West will be taking over the role from Josh O'Connor, who's played a younger Prince Charles on the show's third and fourth seasons. The Crown will return for its fourth season on Nov. 15 and will end after its sixth season, which will follow the royal family's exploits through the early 2000s, showrunner Peter Morgan announced in early 2020.

West's rumored casting coincides with the British star becoming a recent tabloid fixture following the release of photos of the married actor and Downton Abbey star Lily James canoodling in public during a recent trip to Rome.

That's not the only reason West's casting has become such a hot topic, however. Read on to find out what else West is known for—and why he's been making headlines as of late. And for some insight into the monarchy's perspective on the casting, Why the Queen Could Be Upset About Dominic West Playing Prince Charles.

He's had leading roles on The Wire and The Affair.

dominic west on the wire still
Warner Bros. Television Distribution / HBO

Not sure where you recognize West from? From 2002 to 2008, West played Baltimore Detective Jimmy McNulty, the show's lead, on beloved HBO crime drama The Wire. The same year The Wire premiered, West took to the silver screen as the cheating ex of lead character Roxie Hart in Best Picture winner Chicago.

Then, from 2014 to 2019, he returned to TV on Showtime's The Affair to play Noah Solloway, a married novelist and father of four whose life is turned upside down after his affair with a younger woman is discovered. His role on the critically acclaimed series earned West a Golden Globe nomination in 2014 and two Satellite Awards for Best Actor in a TV drama. And for more royal drama, discover Why Palace Insiders Say Meghan Markle Should Drop Her Tabloid Lawsuit.

Photos of West and Lily James first surfaced in mid-October.

downton abbey star lily james

West and James were photographed by paparazzi during a getaway to Rome on Oct. 11. The photos raised eyebrows because West has five children—four of whom he shares with his wife of 10 years, Catherine FitzGerald—and James was recently linked to Captain America himself Chris Evans. (She dated The Crown's own Matt Smith for many years prior.)

The actors, who both star in the upcoming drama The Pursuit of Love, were seen kissing and embracing in the photos, and West was without his wedding ring, E! reports. And for more celebrity scandals, check out 60 Celebrities Who Are Linked by an Ex.

West and FitzGerald called their marriage "strong" after the photos became public.

dominic west and wife catherine fizgerald
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

After the photos of West and James were released, West and FitzGerald kissed in front of paparazzi outside their U.K. home and left a note for the media confirming they're going strong. "Our marriage is strong and we're very much still together. Thank you. Catherine + Dominic," the note read.

James has canceled her public appearances.

lily james and armie hammer in still from netflix's rebecca

James, who was scheduled to promote her latest project, a remake of Rebecca with Armie Hammer for Netflix, has canceled two major public appearances since the photos of her and West were published. Page Six reports that James has bowed out of a scheduled appearance with Hammer on Today, while The Daily Mail confirms that James has pulled out of an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, as well.

West's wife has left the U.K. for Ireland.

catherine fitzgerald sitting in audience
WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Following the onslaught of tabloid press, FitzGerald, a landscape designer, has returned to her native Ireland, The Daily Mail reports. West confirmed that FitzGerald had left alone for a work trip, telling the publication of his trip to Rome, "It's nobody's business." And for more juicy celebrity news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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