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The Crown portrays Prince and Princess of Wales’s early relationship as ‘stagnated and weird’

Ed McVey as Prince William
Ed McVey plays Prince William as he encounters Kate Middleton at St Andrews University - KEITH BERNSTEIN/NETFLIX

The Crown will portray the Prince and Princess of Wales’s early relationship as “stagnated and weird”, the actor playing William has revealed.

Ed McVey, 24, said he wanted to avoid depicting the beginning stages of the Royal couple’s romance on the hit Netflix show as “smooth sailing”.

He said: “We didn’t want to make it a smooth journey, meeting and falling in love and then getting together.

“We wanted it to be stagnated and weird, as relationships are, because there’s never smooth sailing, nothing is ever one thing.”

In the second instalment of the sixth and final series of The Crown, Kate Middleton and Prince William’s introduction and budding romance at St Andrews University in Scotland is depicted.

McVey stars opposite newcomer Meg Bellamy, who plays the young Kate Middleton, for the final six episodes of the award-winning show.

Netflix said the drama will chart “the beginnings of a new Royal fairy tale in William and Kate”, and this includes recreating the “knockout” moment when Kate caught the young Prince’s eye in a see-through dress at a student fashion show.

Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy as Prince William and Kate Middleton in The Crown
Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy as Prince William and Kate Middleton in The Crown - JUSTIN DOWNING/NETFLIX

The final series, which will end on the “uplifting” note of Charles and Camilla’s marriage in 2005, will not cover the young couple’s brief split after graduating from St Andrews in 2007, or their engagement in 2010.

Speaking ahead of the Dec 14 release, McVey said he and Bellamy discussed with the director about putting “as much in the way” of their eventual fairytale ending as possible when portraying the early stages.

“We know that they get together in the end and we know that they’re perfect for each other, and we know how much they love each other … but we wanted to put as much in the way of that as possible,” he explained.

“Put so many bollards and so many emotional brick walls, essentially, in terms of them getting together. And really what we wanted is for the audience to be like, how are they going to get together?”

“We want the audience to be like, ‘oh just say the right thing or just stop being so awkward with each other and just get together’ and then luckily you see that in the end,” he added.

In a 2010 interview with ITV News after his engagement, Prince William said: “When I first met Kate, I knew there was something very special about her, and then I knew there was possibly something I wanted to explore there, but we ended up being friends for a while.

“That was a good sort of foundation … I do genuinely believe now that being friends with [each other] is a massive advantage.”

Noticed resemblance

On playing the Prince, McVey said he had never been told he resembled the future king growing up, but once he got the role people noticed the resemblance.

He said: “It was only when I got the role that people were like, ‘oh yeah, you do look like him quite a lot’. But no, never. I never had it. Never had it growing up at all.”

Meanwhile, Bellamy said she faced challenges depicting a young Kate as there was “no footage” of her talking or walking in the university years era that she portrays her.

The actress said that she tried to pitch her voice higher, for example, to “remove the royal protocol side of it”, adding: “I tried to make that more youthful, more like myself.”

The final six episodes will mark the first time that Kate has been portrayed on the hit Netflix show, with a trailer released on Friday showing snippets of her early relationship with William.

The trailer also showed Elizabeth II, played by Imelda Staunton, in tears over the woman and life she “left behind” to become Queen at the age of 25.

The final six episodes of the series depict the Royal family coming to terms with the death of  Diana, the Princess of Wales, Prince William’s time at Eton as well as the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Relationship challenges

It will also chart the progression of the relationship between the then Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, ending with their marriage ceremony.

Speaking ahead of the release, Olivia Williams, who plays Camilla, said that portraying the challenges in the late Queen and Camilla’s relationship was the “jeopardy” of the final episode of The Crown.

“This was the jeopardy of the last episode, and that’s what we needed to play, whether it is true or not,” she said.

“We weren’t at that moment recreating reality, but we were playing not knowing whether the Queen was accepting or not, and that had to play across all our faces, and also not knowing what she was going to say.”

The first instalments from series six were released earlier this month, covering the blossoming relationship between Diana, the Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed and the “devastating consequences” of their deaths.