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Series / Harry And Charles

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It's not called Tulle, Charles & Harry; no matter what you start thinking.

Harry & Charles is a three-episode miniseries written by Jonas Cornell, and broadcast by NRK in 2009. It deals with "Charles" (Prince Carl of Denmark, played by Jakob Cedergren) and his decision to become King of newly-independent Norway in 1905, his English wife "Harry" (Princess Maud, daughter of King Edward VII, played by Maria Bonnevie), and their relationship with Harry's lady-in-waiting, Astrid "Tulle" Carstensen (Laura Bro).

It has a Spiritual Successor in the 2016 film The King's Choice, which involves Charles (now Haakon VII) having to make another very important decision in 1940.

Has nothing to do with the current members of the British royal family with the same names, though they are distant relativesnote .


This series has held a referendum, with nearly 80% approving the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Aunt Louise. Charles has a drunken flashback about how the punishment for spilling something on the carpet was being caned. To his mother, he later singles out his aunt Marie of Orleans as always having been kind to him, and pointedly doesn't mention anyone else.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Harry wasn't unattractive (she was famously stylish), but here she's played by the more conventionally beautiful Maria Bonnevie. Averted with Charles who was quite handsome, even if the 'stache can make it hard to tell, as well as Alexander from 1905, who really was that cute.
  • The Alcoholic: Marie of Orleans, the wife of Charles' uncle Valdemar, is portrayed like this.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: True to being a British princess, Harry's introduced riding. We see a lot of her being an Upper-Class Equestrian; it's one of her favorite things.
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  • Badass Mustache: Charles, even if he cuts himself shaving before arriving in Norway. It goes nicely with that offered crown.
  • Betty and Veronica: Blonde sensible Girl Next Door Tulle and brunette temperamental literal-princess Harry.
  • Berserk Button: Charles does finally get sick of Harry's jealousy and accusations, but even more that she's unkind to Tulle and threatening to break the three of them up.
  • Bookend: Charles cuts himself shaving in roughly the same place Harry had a nosebleed at the beginning, but on the other side of his face.
  • Cheerful Child: Alexander is not only adorable, but happy and good natured.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Harry draws very firm lines about exactly how much of Charles she'll share. Inverted when Charles gets jealous after she chats/flirts with Fridtjof Nansen.note 
  • The Confidant: Tulle for Charles... and also for Harry.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The homeless people clustering around (and being shooed away from) their apartment. The series takes place long before the current Scandinavian welfare state.
  • The Edwardian Era: Named for Harry's dad (!), who shows up as The Cameo, and is mentioned another handful of times; getting King Edward's approval through and for his daughter as Queen was very important for Norway.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Her Royal Shyness", which followed Harry from England.
  • Everybody Smokes: Portrayed very dramatically and artistically.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Charles gets very cold and glaring when he's jealous of Harry and Nansen, and it's probably because he's already kissed Tulle.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: 1905. Lots and lots of lace and embroidery and puffy sleeves. The men's clothes are quite stylish as well.
  • Gratuitous English: They had a bilingual household, so there probably should have been even more.
  • Happily Married: Not calmly married, but Harry and Charles still probably qualify.
  • Has a Type: Sepia photography helps make this point. "Frank" Teck had very dark hair and eyes; Charles had blue eyes and fairer hair in Real Life, but one can be forgiven for blinking at the photograph Harry pulls out and wondering if that isn't him. (She clearly likes them Tall, Dark, and Handsome.) Also a minor symbolic point with Nansen, who looks nothing like either one — and with whom Harry just wants to flirt and distract herself. Nothing happens.
  • Held Gaze: Harry and Charles have a couple. They end up kissing after the first one; Overcome with Desire after the second.
  • Historical Domain Character: Harry, Charles, Alexander, Charles' family, Edward VII, Fridtjof Nansen, Christian Michelsen, and a few more.
  • Ill Girl: Harry gets migraines, among other things, and regularly travels back home to England for her health.
  • Kissing Cousins: Charles' father Frederiknote  and Harry's mother Alexandranote  were brother and sister. Interestingly, it just meant Harry disliked her in-laws even before she married in.
  • Localized Name in a Non-Localized Setting: They goofed Harry's English referencing. "Mummy", "daddy", "Vicky", and "Francis" should be "Motherdear", "Papa", "Toria", and "Frank".
  • Love Triangle: Harry, Charles, and Charles' Old Flame Tulle, now Harry's lady-in-waiting and part of their household. Harry's dependent on her and Charles still has a great deal of affection for her, so even if she doesn't quite have a sexual affair with either of them, it's still a literal menage à trois.
  • Meaningful Rename: Discussed and averted. To be more Norwegian, Charles becomes Haakon and Alexander (who protests) becomes Olav. Harry stays Maud. In a funny Call-Forward, she also brings up disliking the name Harald and discounting it for Alexander. (Guess what her only grandson's name is...?)note 
  • Modest Royalty: They get around Copenhagen on their bikes, for the most part.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Charles is a very Nice Guy; calm, cautious, and thoughtful. And he loves Harry and Alex. And Tulle. And is just a little blurry on the "monogamy" thing.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Downplayed with Charles. He certainly never objects to Harry kissing him note , (except to seem affectionately bemused, if that even counts), but it's also certainly played up that he is the one who kisses the more demure Tulle. With Harry, it's also worth noting that the only time we see them (or anyone in this series) make love, there is no (initial) kissing; she's in her room (still fully dressed) and he's in the hall, looking at her — so, very mild chasingnote . See Women Prefer Strong Men.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Aunt Louise. She finally asks if Harry isn't coming to say good-bye at the end, and Charles gently tells her "Queen Maud" will receive her later.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Harry was one of the most-tightlaced ladies of the era, but seeing her being done up comes off as more painful than sexy. Double subverted when she makes love later with her corset and chemise on.
  • Offered the Crown: Charles, from Norway. Truth in Television. He accepts.note 
  • Old Flame: "Miss Carstensen! My old flame." Lampshaded by an exceptionally drunk Charles.
  • One Head Taller: Downplayed, but in Real Life Maud was quite petite and Charles was over six feet tall.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Tulle is introduced as "Astrid" once, in the second episode. Harry and Aunt Louise fight about this, with Aunt Louise disapproving and reiterating that his name is Carl. Even Tulle calls him Charles.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: They don't attend any balls, but it's still the Edwardian era. At least one of Harry's probably qualifies.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lively, impulsive, heart-on-her-sleeve Harry, and quiet, self-contained, still-waters-run-deep Charles. Tulle is another Blue to Harry's Red.
  • Rich Bitch: Aunt Louise was the only child of a king, a very wealthy heiress — and is this to Harry and more variably to her son. Harry makes a couple of these remarks to Tulle, but almost immediately apologizes.
    Harry: "You are paid to be happy!"
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: For Charles. Tulle was a Girl Next Door; Harry was a prominent and wealthy princess.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Harry and Tulle, mixed with how Harry was incredibly close to her own sisters and misses them very much, mixed with a couple of points where it seems like they might kiss, mixed with the Charles issue uniting them half the time and getting in-between them the other half... Quite complicated, to say the least.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Invoked in Real Life. Although they had a very nice apartment next to the palace, they got absolutely no money from the Danish government. Charles was an active officer in the Danish navy and they lived on his pay.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: When she's not ill, Harry's a bundle of energy and nerves. Charles is both much more restrained and more relaxed. Except the times when he's punctual and she's late...
  • Second Love: Harry for Charles after Tulle, played with in that he may still have crushed on her first. Charles for Harry after her Unrequited Love Francis Teck.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Charles really knows how to rock a waistcoat and fancy neckcloth, and comes off as the sort of person whose clothes don't wrinkle.
  • Spare to the Throne: Charles for Denmark, which is why he's available to accept Norway's offer.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Harry is still this, despite being a princess and a mother, even after being married for almost a decade.
  • A Spot Of Tea: There's a scene where Harry and Charles are having it, without Tulle, and Charles mentions that she always has it with them, so even if Harry wasn't British royalty, it'd be safe to assume they do it every day.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Tulle and Charles can be viewed like this, since there was no way marriage between them would ever have been allowed, even if they'd considered it.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: She's the British one, but he's the one who has this, though at times (like when he literally cuts it) he veers straight into Adorkable. Might be why she initiates most of their kisses.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Charles is all of that, and precise and elegant on top of it.
  • Title Drop: Before they leave for Norway at the end, their English friends in Copenhagen remind them that they'll always be "Harry and Charles" to them.
  • Tomboyish Name: Harry, officially known as Maud. The nickname came from her father having an admiral friend, Harry Keppel, who was similarly short and boisterous.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Harry, who gallops, smokes, swears, hollers and bleeds. She also loves wearing pretty, delicate clothes and dressing up.note 
  • Triang Relations: The married couple, the princess and her lady-in-waiting, and the prince and his old girlfriend. Harry, Charles and Tulle have a major Type 8 going on.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Charles is even-tempered with a sense of humor, but by disposition and military background he's far more strict than Harry, who does quite a lot a technically proper lady wouldn't do. He's not that uptight and she's not that wild, but when they're not disagreeing because of it, they truly seem to enjoy each other's differing personalities. Downplayed.
  • Uptown Guy: Charles is the son of the future king; Tulle was just part of the family he lived with during his naval training.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Going along with No Guy Wants to Be Chased, Charles's cautious nature is presented to both his advantage and derision, but he's immediately and seriously threatened when heroic and dynamic Nansen appears, and Harry basically lampshades this one in his face (when earlier she had no patience for his self-derision). Also, she does seem to find Charles exceptionally attractive once the Norwegian referendum he suggested goes his way.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Charles being involved with Tulle isn't supported by the historical record, and she didn't go with them to Norway.
  • You Are What You Hate: Aunt Louise was an absolutely notorious tomboy in her Swedish youth; an only surviving child basically raised as a son. Her manners horrified her Danish mother-in-law. However, her marriage wasn't especially happy, so despite the series going into none of this, it's quite possible she strongly disliked Harry for basically having her cake and eating it too.
  • Young Future Famous People: Little Alex ends up a king because of his father's decision. Plenty of cute little King Olav, before he was even Olav!
    "My name is Alexander!"
  • Your Cheating Heart: All over the place, but mostly Charles, Tulle, and a Big Damn Kiss, and Harry discussing her father's infamous visits to Paris brothels with Tulle.

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