'King Charles III' actor portrays Prince Charles in play about Royals

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
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Robert Bathurst plays Prince Charles in "King Charles III" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "King Charles III" is a big hit at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, getting rave reviews from critics and crowds.

The Queen is dead and Prince Charles ascends the throne. But does he really know how to rule? "King Charles III" is a play that explores the people wearing the crown and their crisis of conscience, which is a drama that resonates in our current political climate.

Actor Robert Bathurst stars in the fantasy about Harry, Camilla, William and the rest of the British Royals.

"Look at 'Hamilton,' they made a musical about the Constitution. People are engaged how they want to be ruled what system they want to live under. So it's very timely in that view, in many contexts in what's going on here," Bathurst said.

Even though a royal subject, Bathurst feels a responsibility portraying Charles of England but understands the dramatic license the play takes.

"This is about what he might do in the future and this is open season about what he might do in the future. And that he might have a fractious relationship with politicians is not beyond the realms of possibility," Bathurst said.

Bathurst is a prolific actor across the pond, but has never been on stage in the U.S. until now. For Downton Abbey fans, that is Sir Anthony who left Lady Edith at the altar.

"The American market has been enormous for Downtown and, yeah, it's the reason I'm here for cold commercial reasons. I've been dragged in as a refugee from Downton. So, I'm very grateful to it," Bathurst said.

Here's some trivia: After Roger Moore retired from playing James Bond, Bathurst auditioned but lost the role to Timothy Dalton. But, now he's King - at least until Jan. 15.