The famous actor who just can't get Prince Charles out of his mind

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Sheffield actor Dominic West isn't finding himself talking to plants, relentlessly adjusting his cufflinks, or asking random strangers: "What exactly, do you do?"

But he does admit to sometimes relapsing into full King Charles' mode since playing the regal role in the Netflix blockbuster The Crown.

In real life, the 54-year-old now frequently fidgets with a ring on his finger and points quite a lot...all hallmarks of HRH.

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Dominic, who was educated at Westbourne School, Broomhill, has had plenty of major roles in theatre, films and TV, including The Wire (2002), Chicago (2002) and Tomb Raider (2018) as well as ITV’s Appropriate Adult and Sky's Brassic.

Dominic West Pic by Getty ImagesDominic West Pic by Getty Images
Dominic West Pic by Getty Images

But his portrayal of Charles is, well... downright imperious.

And it has left a mark on him as significant as Royal seal on ancient parchment.

The BAFTA winner admitted it has been a hard role to free himself from, with mannerisms slipping into his every day life.

“It’s a very hard part to shake off” he explains.

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King Charles Pic: GettyKing Charles Pic: Getty
King Charles Pic: Getty

“I found myself doing it the other day, fiddling with my ring finger, and all the little things he does, and the way he points.

“And, of course, he’s so current and in the news every day. I’m still following him avidly, what he’s getting up to” he told the Huffington Post.

Dominic admitted more details in a podcast, where he revealed how closely he had researched the 75-year-old Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith, including utilising the skills of choreographer and movement director, Polly Bennett.

She asked the star to imagine he was wearing a very heavy crown to restrain his movement.

Dominic West and Prince Harry Pic GettyDominic West and Prince Harry Pic Getty
Dominic West and Prince Harry Pic Getty

He needed to be "buttoned up."

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"The main thing was the tight jaw and the voice. You tighten the shoulders a bit. And then we got into pointing.

"I am always pointing! He is always pointing!

Charles uses the technique, says the actor, in a crowd "in order to get a brief connection...people think they can have a personal moment with him."

Dominic West back up northDominic West back up north
Dominic West back up north

"I found that very useful but mainly for me it was containment...he is very contained, elbows are in and there is this stocato pointing and that tells you about his confidence.

"I love all that stuff and Polly is brilliant at it."

Dominic had been reluctant to take the role at first, but was persuaded, in part, by fellow actor Helena Bonham Carter.

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"How was I going to get the physicality of this guy right because the only time I really look like Charles is from behind?" he pondered "I was very, quite rightly apprehensive."

However, he's certainly glad he accepted the part.

“For the ending, we were in Yorkminster with a full orchestra, a full choir, 400 extras bowing to me as I walked down the aisle with Olivia Williams,” he said.

“And then the next day, we had to wave to another 400 crowd who were waving flags with our faces on.

“I just thought: 'This is good as it gets, it’ll never be this good again’. And yeah, I went into a terrible slump when it was over. It’s terrible when your wife and kids don’t bow to you like they do at work!”

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The actor who has received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University and an Honorary Degree from the University of Sheffield, says he is a proud Yorkshireman despite his accent.

“When I meet anyone from Sheffield, they look at me sceptically, as if to say, ‘You don’t come from Yorkshire’.”

He comes from good stock though.

His great grandfather helped build the Crucible, which remains his favourite theatre.

Dominic picked up some of his stage and screen skills from his mother, who was a prime mover in the thriving Sheffield amateur dramatic scene in the 1970s.

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Pauline, a mother of seven, played various Shakespeare roles for the group called Theatre Focus, directed and produced by a building company secretary, Freda Mellor.

"There was something very pure about that which has stayed with me" said Dominic, who didn't become a professional actor until he was 26.

*The final six episodes of The Crown season six are available this month on Netflix.