Although The Crown is purely fictional—as Buckingham Palace likes to assert time and time again—there are (many) moments in the drama’s fifth season which reflect reality. One of those standout moments from the new season comes in the form of Dominic West’s Prince Charles busting out some breakdancing moves to the 1992 hit single “Don’t Sweat the Technique.”
Though the real event happened back in 1985 during a Youth Meets Industry course for his charity, Prince’s Trust, the newest season of The Crown integrated the moment into the final moments of the episode “The Way Ahead.”
“Throwing royal decorum aside, Prince Charles got down on his knees with a group of youngsters at a workshop for the unemployed and joined them in break-dancing,” the Associated Press published in 1985 (via Vanity Fair), documenting his peak “How do you do, fellow kids?” moment.
It was actually West himself who brought up the footage to The Crown’s Peter Morgan, and it proved to be a moment too rich to pass up recreating.
“Peter hadn’t written [the scene] initially and we alerted Peter to it—just, ‘You’ve gotta see this amazing video footage of Charles break-dancing,’” says West in an interview with Vanity Fair. “So he put [the scene] over the credits and I’m really glad, because it actually says so much about him. He really has a go. He knows he’s going to look ridiculous, but you could see there’s a certain—especially when he was younger—a certain competitive streak in Charles, particularly when it came to sport.
“He was quite a daredevil skier and he was a horse rider. He used to do point-to-pointing [a form of horse jumping known as steeplechasing], which is over jumps and, I think, really scary,” West continues. “He’s physically very courageous and you could see that coming out in the excruciating moment when he is in a club and he’s asked to dance with these brilliant dancers. So I love that moment. I thought it was very telling about him.”
West worked with movement coach Polly Bennett on mimicking Charles’ awkward, stumbling dance moves.
“We did spend quite a bit of time with Polly learning the dance he does on YouTube, which is extraordinary,” West says. “I learned the whole thing but it doesn’t make the cut. Anyway, it was fun…. He has extraordinary moves. It’s fabulous actually.”
The fifth season of The Crown is currently available for streaming on Netflix.