The Windsors Coronation Special - Haydn Gwynne

Interview with Haydn Gwynne who plays The Windsors’ Camilla

Category: Press Pack Article

How delighted is Camilla to be officially the Queen Consort?

Very delighted indeed. Her whole trajectory is that she's power hungry and she’ll do anything to achieve it. She's probably a bit disappointed that she isn't absolute top dog, but there's not a lot she can do about that. Her real-life trajectory has also been rather thrilling!


Has your Camilla evolved over the course of these series?

I’m not sure it’s that kind of show! Given that she started series one by trying to blow up the royal family, I can't say she's got any worse, although there is something pretty dastardly that she does in the Coronation Special. In terms of the relationship with Charles (Harry Enfield), I don't know whether that’s evolved, but we've seen a few more facets of it along the way. Even so, she's still the soap-opera villainess that that we know and perhaps love. Villains are always good fun to play, and because it's comedy and very silly and ridiculous, that makes it even more joyful.


Do you ever refer back to the real Camilla, or is your portrayal its own thing now?

She's entirely her own creature. I'm not approaching it like I would were I playing Camilla in The Crown, as Olivia Williams has been doing. In that case, you would be doing a whole other kind of research. We've always had a ridiculous soap opera version of things like the wig, but I do have a new wig this year made by a wonderful wigmaker called Campbell Young – a new wig for a new era!


Has Camilla’s relationship with Wills (Hugh Skinner) and Harry (Richard Goulding) warmed up?

She hasn’t had much to do with Harry because he hasn't been around. Given what came out in the press recently, I was wondering whether the real Prince Harry had been watching too much of The Windsors! I've never really thought of my Camilla as being very close to the real-life Camilla – there are portrayals in the series which are much sort of closer to the bone. With Camilla there was always a clear distinction. With Wills, who is this rather generous and warm-hearted figure in the show, the relationship is as fraught as ever. His power and authority are a threat to hers: she's desperate to wear the crown with the Kohinoor Diamond, for example, but Wills puts his foot down on that. It all leads to a very funny scene in the Tower of London, because Camilla will not take no for an answer if she can possibly avoid it.


Preparations for the Coronation are a major sticking point, aren’t they?

Yes, how they're going to be portrayed, the amount of money that's going to be spent on it. Wills is very keen for it to be a low budget “people's coronation”. He gets Princess Anne (Vicki Pepperdine) involved with the arrangements and it appears that we’ll be ending up in a low-rent hotel somewhere off the M4.


How was the experience of filming the coronation itself?

Unfortunately, when it came to the fun bit of us all being together – or not, there is some debate about who appears on the balcony – it was the most disgusting day. Non-stop rain, although I'm sure with the magic of TV and lighting that it’ll be transformed. I was doing The Great British Bake Off musical at the same time, so I was having to rush off to do matinees. It wasn't as delightful as it as it might have been, but still good fun because I work a lot with Harry and Hugh.


Is this a series you’ll always make time for?

Yeah – I knew there was a possibility this Coronation Special would happen before I accepted the other job, but we're all very fond of it. Everybody does their utmost to make it work and our producers do their utmost to work around our other commitments, because we all are very fond of the show. It is not ideal, though – press night for the musical was literally the night before I started shooting The Windsors, but you have to be disciplined.


Have you ever met a member of the royal family?

I have, and I've always been very impressed. I’ve met Charles multiple times because he's quite interested in theatre. I also met Camilla years ago in one of those line-ups at a royal premiere of a film I did many years ago. I have not met them latterly. It tends to be that people aren't very keen for me to meet them anymore, because the press people think the press could make it a distraction. This doesn't come from the royal family, I hasten to add! I remember the first time I met Charles was with Diana, and it was really interesting to see how practised they are in the job of meeting a lot of strangers, saying something graceful, then disentangling themselves and getting moved on to the next one.


Will you be watching the real coronation?

We will, because how long is it since the last one? The matinee of the musical is cancelled, so we'll be able to watch, although we'll be doing the evening show as usual so we’re not off the hook!