Who plays Prince Charles in The Crown season 5? (And why did Josh O’Connor leave?)

Netflix’s The Crown is back for what’s probably going to turn out to be their most explosive and controversial season as they tackle the end of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage. The 10-episode season, which just dropped in the early hours this morning, spans from 1991 to 1997, leading up to Diana’s untimely death.

We get a glimpse of Princess Diana’s new boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and learn more about Prince Charles’ scandalous romance with Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown season 5. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II continues to deal with political issues as the monarch of England. It’s a lot to take in, and we’re excited to see viewers’ thoughts on the new season!

If you’re curious about who plays Prince Charles now that we’ve ushered in a group of new actors to play aged-up characters, look no further. Here’s everything to know.

Prince Charles actor in The Crown season 5

As mentioned, several of the actors in The Crown have been replaced for this season as we see the figures get older. One of these characters is Prince Charles, who had been played by Josh O’Connor in seasons 3 and 4. In The Crown season 5, Dominic West portrays Charles.

West, 53, should be a recognizable actor as the BAFTA Award nominee has landed pretty big parts over the years. He’s best known for playing Jimmy McNulty in The Wire, and he also starred in The Affair on Showtime. Other notable roles include Fred Casely in Chicago (2002), Robert Mallory in The Awakening (2011), and Theron in 300 (2006). Earlier this year, he appeared in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

As for why O’Connor left The Crown, that’s simply because he was never meant to stick around the whole time. As the years pass in the Netflix Original, actors are replaced with older ones. That’s the only reason the 32-year-old actor left the show, and he knew that was going to happen when accepting the job.

The Crown season 4

Picture shows: Queen Elizabeth II (OLIVIA COLMAN) and Prince Charles (JOSH O CONNOR). Image courtesy Des Willie/Netflix

In a 2020 interview with Radio Times, O’Connor stated that knowing someone else would come on to play Prince Charles after him “somewhat takes away the pressure” of taking on such a big role. Earlier this year, he spoke about his part on the show and when asked if he was sad to have left, he simply said: “I’m actually good.”

All 10 episodes of The Crown season 5 are now streaming on Netflix.