A number of unexpected faces popped up at this morning’s royal wedding, as the worlds of royalty and celebrity collided with the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
But amongst the mingling celebrity guests including Amal and George Clooney, Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, and Victoria and David Beckham, actress Charlotte Riley (who attended with actor husband Tom Hardy) stood out—and not because she’s a preternaturally beautiful human. Riley actually played one of the royal family’s most famous members—also in attendance at today’s ceremony—in a TV movie last year.
Riley portrayed The Duchess of Cambridge in the BBC Two/Masterpiece on PBS adaptation of the play King Charles III. In the film, Prince Charles (played by the late British actor Tim Pigott-Smith) ascends to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. As he struggles to define himself as a monarch, he clashes with the Prime Minister and the British government. Chaos ensues, threatening the very existence of the monarchy. The Duchess of Cambridge is portrayed as a straightforward, arguably ruthless mastermind who ultimately convinces Charles to step down so Prince William can take the throne.
“I see her like the CEO of a company,” Riley told BAZAAR.com last year. “She steps up and she’s like, ‘Guys. This can’t happen.’ She brings William into his power and says, ‘You have to take control of the situation because this is going to change British history as we know it if you don’t.’ You see her going from observing and watching to making some really, really bold decisions.”
The TV film stirred up quite a controversy in the U.K. ahead of its release, with one politician calling it “distasteful.” It’s unclear if the royal family is familiar with the play or its TV version, but given their tendency to tightly control their image, they’re probably aware of it, at the very least. Which begs the question, what happens if Riley and the real Duchess of Cambridge met at today’s ceremony, or the lunchtime reception that followed? The curiosity is killing us.
Watch Riley discuss the role below.
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