‘The Crown’ dramatization of the tampon phone call will reportedly be ‘sympathetic’

The Crown Season 5 is almost here! Next week, we’ll start the binge-watch, and we can expect wall-to-wall hissy fits from Buckingham Palace. King Charles has telegraphed the idea that he and his allies will “fact check” the series and whine about it a lot, as they already have done for months. The fact-checking should get hilarious when it comes to The Crown dramatizing the infamous “tampon phone call” though, because that really happened. In 1989/93, a tabloid got their hands on a recording of a phone call where Charles and Camilla were speaking like lovers, and Charles suggests that he’d like to live in her trousers, then says no, he’d prefer to live as her tampon. Dominic West – who plays Charles – confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that they filmed the tampon phone call. Now sources insist that the dramatization of the call is “sympathetic” towards Charles and Camilla.

The Crown is planning to depict the notorious ‘tampongate’ phone call between Charles and Camilla ‘sympathetically as two young lovers’ in next month’s series. However Netflix bosses have been blasted for the ‘crass’ and ‘bad taste’ decision to portray the infamous 1989 conversation that sparked a royal scandal.

The call between then-Prince Charles and Camilla, which has been widely referred to as ‘tampongate’, was taped by an amateur radio enthusiast who claimed to have stumbled across the pair’s conversation while moving between audio channels.

During the call, the then prince referred to being reincarnated as the tampon brand tampax, and told Camilla that he wanted to ‘live inside’ her. The audio recording along with a transcript of the six-minute call was sold to a tabloid and published. It was circulated again in 1993 by The People, following the separation of Prince Charles and Diana.

The scene will be delivered ‘sympathetically’ in a bid to show affection between Charles and Camilla, The Telegraph reported. It will also attempt to create viewer sympathy at the intrusion into their lives at the time, the paper reports.

However its inclusion in next month’s series has been called ‘crass’ and ‘in bad taste’ by two of the paper’s sources.

Dominic West, who depicts Prince Charles in the upcoming series, said that he has changed his mind about the conversation, having previously felt that it was ‘sordid and deeply, deeply embarrassing…Looking back on it, and having to play it, what you’re conscious of is that the blame was not with these two people, two lovers, who were having a private conversation. What’s really [clear now] is how invasive and disgusting was the press’s attention to it, that they printed it out verbatim and you could call a number and listen to the actual tape. I think it made me extremely sympathetic towards the two of them and what they’d gone through.’

[From The Daily Mail]

“Two young lovers” – Camilla would have been 42 years old when the call was made? Charles would have been 40 or 41. I mean, sure, they were not “old,” but they were both married to other people and they had young children at the time! Why must we rewrite their sordid history? They were middle-aged and cheating on their spouses. THAT is what is crass and in bad taste, not the dramatization of the call. Anyway, my pet theory is that outlets like the Mail, the Telegraph and the Sun absolutely love all of these storylines and controversies from The Crown. They wrote the narratives at the time, now they get to rewrite the narratives AND have a whack at the new king.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images and Netflix.

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60 Responses to “‘The Crown’ dramatization of the tampon phone call will reportedly be ‘sympathetic’”

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  1. Tessa says:

    Will the line he says to her your greatest achievement is to love me. I hope so that sums up what Charles is all about imo.

  2. anna says:

    young?1?! this is like calling will and kate young. I mean, sure they aren’t senior citizens but they aren’t 20. they are in their 40s!

  3. Tessa says:

    They were not young lovers during that conversation.When they were it was just a fling and she was avid to marry Parker Bowles. Charles later told his biographer he was not interested in marrying her then. Charles also was involved with other women including dale tryon and janet jenkins.

    • sunny says:

      Yup. Pretty much this. I think the Crown has been very kind in its depiction of the Windsors.

      Btw, I would have liked to see the rivalry between Camilla and lady Tryion depicted as it was rumoured that they hated one another.

      • Tessa says:

        Janet Jenkins would pay visits to Charles during the Camilla years. Their love letters were sold at auction. She also gave an interview

    • Concern Fae says:

      If The Crown really wanted to hurt Charles, they would be including Dale Tyron as well as Camilla when depicting Charles’s acknowledged lovers.

  4. Noki says:

    Its just so bloody ironic and rather disturbing that it was the BM themselves hacking and reporting every move and now they are having a hissy fit because of Netflix when the material is from alot of their own conduct.

  5. Seaflower says:

    Wondering how you make a tampon sympathetic…..

  6. Laalaa says:

    Of course he would be sympathetic to cheaters.

    • C-Shell says:

      LOL, exactly. Gotta say I rolled my eyes hard that Dominic West was feeling all sympathetic to two middle aged cheaters. I can agree that the intrusion was despicable, but the conversation WAS sordid and deeply, deeply embarrassing. I hope CIII and Cams are deeply, deeply embarrassed by the dramatization, which will be verbatim.

      • EBS says:

        Dominic West is sordidness personified, but the DM got it wrong as usual. He just said “two lovers,” he didn’t call them young in the original EW article.

    • TeamMeg says:

      How on earth did he get the role, anyway? West looks nothing like Prince Charles.

  7. Woke says:

    Their indignation and tantrum has always been stupid. What you get away from the serie is the institution as the villain. The serie acknowledge the humanity of all of them, their bad acts explained.

    • BlueDot says:

      That is exactly how I feel about it. It’s a brilliant series for the way it portrays the human side of them. People do both and bad things all the time. I get why they’re upset about it being dramatised and brought back into peoples minds but that’s part of the trade off for being in the privileged position they’re in.

      I think the media is more upset about this because it’s showing their own bad side, which was not motivated by any other feeling than greed.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    The tabloids made hay out of that story. How can they pretend now to be appalled that it’s going to be depicted in the Crown?

  9. Eleonor says:

    No need to dramatise anything.
    The script has been there for nearly 30 years.

  10. Cathy says:

    At the time I lived in the UK so this was discussed at work. A colleague made the comment that it sounded like 2 people reading from a script. That comment has always stuck with me as the whole thing did not sound sexy at all.

    • SueBarbri33 says:

      Right? What stands out for me in retrospect is the strangeness around the whole thing. It’s not sexy, it’s not mature, and they honestly don’t sound like lovers at all. They just sound like weirdos.

    • Emily_C says:

      It wasn’t a sexual conversation at all, which is one of the things that makes it so gross to me. People say weird things during sex talk — that’s just how it is. But Charles was saying he wanted to be Camilla’s tampon so he could be attached to her at all times. Because his life was so impossibly hard, he was the most pitiable person ever, omg poor poor Charles. And then Camilla tried to hint at getting some emotional support from him for what seemed like an eternity, and finally all she got out of him was “Your greatest achievement is loving me.”

      So deeply gross and strange and not one bit sexual. It was anything but a torrid affair in which they couldn’t resist each other. Camilla may as well be an emotional support pillow. So gross.

  11. Sarah says:

    I never knew about this conversation. Ignorance really is bliss …

  12. Harper says:

    This tampon conversation was really the most embarrassing thing ever released about a member of the royal family. It’s going to disgust a whole new generation of viewers. C-Rex and Cams are probably desperate to deflect the nation’s attention from it so look for them to throw someone big under the bus next week.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I’m sure you mean at that time, which is very possibly true. It was just the beginning of that level of visibility for them. But surely Andrew’s sex trafficking is far more embarrassing for them.

      • Harper says:

        I don’t know that Andrew’s sex trafficking crime can be compared to the tampon phone call. I wouldn’t call it embarrassing but rather shameful and horrible. There was a need for justice for Virginia.

        However, as far as personal embarrassment, the only thing that might compare was the pegging storm, but still, the pegging was not featured in every newspaper and television station for several days like the call was.

        Also, the tampon phone call involved the heir and the now Queen; it will forever taint their reputations. Back in the day, it felt shocking to even see the word tampon in the headlines. It was a searing your brain, you will never forget it moment and your first instinct was not to believe it. But then you couldn’t escape the recording and the transcript, they were everywhere. Total embarrassment.

      • C says:

        I’m told women started calling tampons “boxes of Charlies”.

    • SussexFan says:

      i still recall hearing parts of the tape on U.S. TV. I recall my reaction to them. Too much information. Too much disgusting information. That was the end, imho, of any possibility about Chuck and DI reuniting, or even my feeling anything positive about him at all.

      Like my grandmother used to say, they know better. They know better than that.

    • Flower says:

      “C-Rex” – I am HOWLING !!!

      ^^ This is top BRF nomenclature – LMAO

  13. Becks1 says:

    Of course it was a huge invasion of privacy. but it was also a conversation that happened between two people (middle-aged, not exactly young) who were having a long term affair who were married to other people. of course the Crown is going to cover it and the British press LOVES that because now they get to talk about that conversation over and over again.

  14. Juls says:

    Bumbling doofus is woefully bad at phone sex. Shocking. I can just picture Cam rolling her eyes so hard when he said it, while mewling her adoration to protect his fragile ego. My hot take is that she recorded that call and released it herself to humiliate Diana AND Chuck. I wouldn’t put anything past her evil butt.

  15. AnneL says:

    I can understand why West, as an actor, would gain some sympathy for the character he is playing. Yes, he’s a cheater IRL, but he’s also a very good actor and doesn’t shy away from portraying the good, the bad and the ugly in his roles. So yes, Charles was a cheater too but there’s no denying his privacy was invaded horribly.

    I hate hacking. I hated the actions of those who leaked all the pictures and videos of various actresses during the so-called “Fappening.” Heck, there’s some Republican state rep here in Texas whose private nude pictures and sexts were leaked. A lot of fellow Dems and progressives were mocking him openly, but I thought it was wrong and I felt really uncomfortable about it. I might not like the guy or his politics, but he was in a consensual relationship and it wasn’t OK to leak such personal stuff to the public.

    So while I think Charles and Cam are snakes and tampon gate WAS hugely embarrassing, I also believe it’s OK for the show to give a nuanced portrayal of how the people involved were affected by it. They were in the wrong, but so were the people who exploited their leaked personal conversations. It’s not like their affair had anything to do with how the country was being run, or foreign policy, or anything else that the public really had any right or need to know

    • Jais says:

      Does anyone know how the recording was exposed? Was it phone tapping?

      • Jaded says:

        Some rogue radio nerd stumbled upon the call using a hi-tech scanning device, then sold it to the tabloids. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

  16. aquarius64 says:

    Now they are trying to whitewash and romanticize kinky phone sex between two middle age people that were cheating on their spouses at the time. That would make the demanded fiction disclaimer on each Crown episode more valid.

  17. Chantal says:

    Sympathetic? Pathetic should be the true depiction. And my sympathies lie with the tampon.
    All of the rewriting and revising in the world won’t change the truth of what happened nor people’s memories. Plus all the hateful briefing against Diana, before she started briefing in kind.
    I agree that the RRs will make beaucoup bucks/pounds from re-reporting this tawdry, sordid booty call-esque story- I mean wonderful love story. I hadn’t planned to but I’m definitely watching this season!

  18. Lara (the other) says:

    I wish the press and the Crown would focus on the real problematic aspects of Charles behaviour. Dragging a private conversation back into the public is IMHO as wrong today as it was then. Same goes for the rumors about normal Bills sexual preferences.
    There are more than enough reasons to critizise the RF, racisim, bags full of cash, law extemption, shady deals and finances, contacts to dictators and muders, a rapist, etc….
    Their sexlife, as long as all participants are of age and participate voluntarily, should stay private.

    • C says:

      Well Charles et al have been totally fine with the tabloids that hacked this call in the first place going on to terrorize Harry and Meghan (News of the World doesn’t still exist but the parent corporation and other sister papers do), so I have no sympathy.

      • Jaded says:

        It wasn’t the tabloids that hacked the call, it was some rogue radio nerd who stumbled upon the call using a hi-tech scanning device. He then sold the recording to the tabloids.

      • C says:

        Yes, my bad. Still, the point stands, there was a market for the private phone call in these tabloids, which is why News of the World was often doing the hacking. And they are tactics that the Mail and others aren’t above obviously.

  19. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Such exquisite timing. Or unlucky depending upon predilections lol.

  20. MissMarirose says:

    Charles didn’t say that he preferred to be a tampon. IIRC, he said he wanted to live in her trousers and she replied with something like “are you going to become a pair of knickers” and then he said that with his luck he’d come back as a tampon and end up getting flushed down the toilet.

    • Tessa says:

      He said he wanted to be reincarnated as a box of tampons

      • Becks1 says:

        No, he didn’t. MissMairirose’s description is pretty accurate. he said he wanted to live insider her trousers and then something about having the bad luck to be reincarnated as a tampon, but not that he wanted to be that.

      • C says:

        This entire discussion has me howling. That should be the disclaimer Charles is pushing for – “I didn’t say I WANTED to be a tampon, I said it was likely to happen!!”
        Also Tessa’s stand alone comment is making me crack up for no reason.
        I love you all.

    • Jennifer says:

      Still forever hilarious.

  21. TeamMeg says:

    Reactivated my Netflix subscription last week and am watching The Empress while waiting around for The Crown to launch. Has anyone here watched this? Fantastic, lush 6-part mini-series about a fascinating, real-life, mid-19th century imperial court and lead character I feel poorly educated to have never heard of, Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

    • C says:

      I know a lot about her and have not seen this yet, so thank you for this!!!

      • Becks1 says:

        @C I started it last week and am two episodes in, so far I really like it. I’m not an expert on Sisi but know a fair amount of her story so I’m enjoying it.

      • TeamMeg says:

        Cool! I will be thinking of you both when I watch tonight’s episode! (I have 2 or 3 left.) C – I hope you will love it!

    • SussexFan says:

      Her admirers call her the Princess Diana of the 19th century. Sissi was a member of the Wittelsbach royal house that had a tinge of instability as well as creativity in its ranks; her half-brother was the Mad King of Bavaria, Ludwig I. Ludwig is rumored to have had Richard Wagner–that anti-Semite–as a lover. One reason why some gays gravitate towards Wagner’s music.

  22. Pam says:

    I remember this well. A few weeks before, someone had intercepted Diana’s call to her lover (in her case, she’d strayed because she wasn’t getting love, affection, or loyalty at home). That call was embarrassing enough for them. THEN we got the “Tampon” call, which was 100 times more nauseating.

    • Tessa says:

      It was never confirmed or denied that she and Gilbe y were lovers in the physical sense. The call did show how Diana was unhappy with the Windsor and misinterpreted the queen mothers looking at her meant she was sympathetic. Charles ditched Diana in the physical sense after she had their two sons.