King Charles III


Writers: Mike Bartlett


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Multiple Settings, Simple/No Set, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
london, england, the near future
Cast Size
Ideal for
professional theatre, regional theatre, university / college theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes mature adult, adult, elderly, young adult characters


Prince Charles has spent his lifetime in a state of waiting. Since he was four years old, Charles has watched his father and mother rule, studied history, read, learned, and contemplated the type of king that he would become. Still, he has never had a chance to rule -- until now. In Mike Bartlett’s daring new play, King Charles III, the erstwhile prince finally receives his chance to ascend the British throne and rule. His idealism is put to the test almost immediately after his mother’s death. A new law has been passed by Parliament that will severely limit the freedom of press. The time has come for the king to sign off on the law, as tradition dictates, but Charles will not. He believes that it is his job as king to protect the rights of his people. Parliament sees this as a dogmatic violation the rights of his people. A political standoff ensues, one that causes the entire country to rethink the role of their sovereign, the freedom of press, the power of their elected officials, and idealism in a contemporary political landscape. Written in masterful blank verse, this Olivier award-winning “future” history play challenges the audience: what sway do ideals hold in the modern political world?

Lead Characters

King Charles III guide sections