Did Prince Charles actually breakdance?

Did Prince Charles actually breakdance? Awkward dancing scene in The Crown leaves fans cringing - but is it based on fact or fiction?

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales dances with Lisa Shannon at the Dance-O-Mat during a visit to Christchurch on November 16, 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The Dance-O-Mat was set up to give people the opportunity to keep dancing after many of the venues were destroyed by the earthquake of 2010. The Royal couple are in New Zealand on the last leg of a Diamond Jubilee that takes in Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

In one of the many OMG moments from Netflix The Crown, King Charles is seen throwing some very interesting shapes on the dance floor when he was Prince of Wales. Considering the tremendously bizarre moment, and the hit show being fictional, it's easy to wonder - did Prince Charles actually breakdance?

Although much of The Crown season 5 has drawn criticism from royal supporters, who believe the fictional series has gone too far, even the most ardent royalist can't dispute history. Funnily enough, the fact is that the King did once breakdance - much to the delight of a stunned crowd. The results, despite his confidence, were at best toe-curlingly uncomfortable and at worst - a health and safety risk.

The incident occurred in Middleton-on-Sea in West Sussex back in 1985 when, then Prince, Charles visited a course that had been organized by his charity, the Prince's Trust. Aged 37 at the time, Charles was encouraged to join in during a discotheque and try out some tricky breakdancing moves. Undaunted by the challenge, the have-a-go hero got involved with remarkable confidence and did his best imitation of the dancers' routines - including a moonwalk and getting down on his knees.

"Hello, nice to meet you all. I'm nowhere near how they portray me on Netflix," is reportedly how the King greeted politicians, per the Daily Mail, at the opening of Scottish Parliament in October 2021. This was before the fifth season was released and it's unclear if King Charles has seen actor Dominic West's impersonation of his moves.

While appearing on hit US talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, actor Dominic discussed the scene, its source, and the fact that the King is well known for being a confident dancer - with plenty of photographic proof to show for it.

“On YouTube, there is footage of Prince Charles dancing as part of a Prince’s Trust thing,” he explained. “He’s at a youth center and he’s meeting lots of the kids he helps with The Prince’s Trust and they started breakdancing and they pulled him in to dance with them.”

Acknowledging the King's pride in his dancing abilities he added, “He takes his dancing quite seriously, and [with] this thing, he gets into it. He’s dancing with these two kids.” The actor added later, "he takes it very seriously and you’ve got to admire that.”

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales learns a soul dance routine from 16-year-old Pearl Willie (on his left) and other members of St George's Secondary School in Maida Vale, London, 27th June 1978. The Prince is opening the Inner London Education Authority's Multi-Ethnic exhibition 'The Richer Heritage' at County Hall in London.

(Image credit: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Collective groans of awkwardness and laughing ensued as the TV show host and audience were shown the original footage and Dominic opened up about it taking him, “quite a while,” to get his head around impersonating the King's performance.

The actor explained the extra challenge the choreographer faced when he said, "the difficulty is, there’s no rhythm. It’s completely arrhythmic. The trouble I found was you get too much into the rhythm, which was a fatal mistake… It’s much harder to dance out of time. He does it brilliantly.”

Prince Charles Receiving A Warm Hug When He Welcomed Walkers Into Highgrove In Honour Of The Funds Raised For The Charities Breakthrough Breast Cancer And The Bristol Cancer Help Centre. The Funds Were Raised At This Years Playtex Moonwalk - An Annual Power-walking Midnight Marathon Held In London. Nina Barough, Founder And Herself A Breast Cancer Survivor, Is Hugging Prince Charles.

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images)

The actor, also known for starring on hit show The Wire, revealed on the talk show that there was a physical attribute of the monarch that helped him get into character. King Charles' 'big sausage fingers' helped Dominic West's performance on The Crown, according to the actor. It remains to be seen how comments like this will be received but it's likely one will not be amused!

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.