In the 48 hours since the third season of The Crown premiered on Netflix, it seems one narrative in particular has been the hot topic of conversation: that salacious love quadrangle between Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles (née Shand), Andrew Parker Bowles, and Princess Anne.
The eighth episode is by far the most soapy and dramatic of the season, as it introduces us to Prince Charles’ future wife, Camilla. Played by Emerald Fennell—who was also the showrunner, executive producer, and writer on season two of Killing Eve—the feisty blonde makes her entrance at a pub, cigarette in hand, as she confronts her on-again, off-again beau (and future husband) Andrew about his dalliances with other women. Moments later she introduces a handsome gentleman to Andrew, making it clear that two can play this game.
But then things get even more complicated: As the episode continues, Prince Charles began seeing Camilla. She’s still hung up on Andrew, though, who is dating Charles’s sister, Princess Anne. (This is a creative departure from real life: Although Anne did date Andrew, things didn’t play out in quite the same timeline as you see on The Crown. Vanity Fair has a great explainer if you want more background.)
Details aside, Fennell—as well as Erin Doherty, who plays Princess Anne—was surprised to learn that both women were interested in the same man. “To be honest, I didn’t know about any of it,” Fennell tells Glamour. “Even though The Crown is rooted in history, there’s a ton of stuff you don’t know. I think people just partied harder, especially this group. They would have an absolutely fun, wild time. It wasn’t that unusual for everyone to be seeing everyone else.”
“I didn’t have a clue,” Doherty says of the love quadrangle. “Not at all.” She adds that the scenes in which Anne’s in bed with Andrew were some of her favorite to film. “You see a different Anne,” she explains. “The moment you get in a room and it’s just you and a guy that you’re interested, that’s such a fun dynamic to play. You get to see someone of a younger generation find their way through this odd situation, rather than already having figured it out.”
While Camilla and Anne don’t interact with each other this season, Fennell tells us she’ll be back for season four. She’s especially eager to uncover more about Camilla’s past, admitting she didn’t really know much about the Duchess of Cornwall before doing the series. While doing her research, though, Fennell says she started to feel that Camilla hasn’t been given a fair chance in the court of public opinion. (The Duchess has been seen by many as a third wheel in Prince Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana.) “From what I’ve heard, she’s an incredibly funny, charming, warm person,” Fennell says. “I’ve always been interested in how somebody can be so different with what the public perception of them is.”