Russell Crowe remembers his meeting with King Charles — and reveals why he’ll never say ‘your highness’

As Britain prepares for the coronation of King Charles III this weekend, one Hollywood star shared his memories of meeting the royal family — and recalls how he almost made a royal aide faint with his informal greeting.

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Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe took to Twitter and shared his memory of meeting the new king: he met the then-Prince Charles in 2003 at the London premiere of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Crowe had good things to say about Charles: he recalls “the man who would be King” as being “kind,” “funny,” and “deeply intelligent and good company.” The actor recalled his ex-wife Danielle Spencer was six months pregnant at the time, and he said the Prince was “gallant in his deference” to her pregnancy.

17/11/2003, LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM — Prince Charles attending the film premiere of “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square. Prince Charles is shaking hands with actor Russell Crowe. (Photo by © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

While he described King Charles as a “good bloke,” Crowe also confessed that he cannot bring himself to say the phrase “your highness.” The Gladiator star is an Australian citizen, and as part of the Commonwealth it would be customary for him to say “your highness” when meeting with members of the royalty.

However, it doesn’t feel right to Crowe: “It simply doesn’t come out of my mouth. It’s not in my dna,” he tweeted.

Crowe even revealed that when he met Princes William and Harry, he broke protocol by using a much more informal greeting: “mate.”

“I thought the equerry was going to pass out,” Crowe said, referring to an aide to the royal family.

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But Crowe says he didn’t mean it as a term of disrespect, writing that he was “pleased” to meet with the princes.

Crowe said that he is “not a monarchist,” and while he doesn’t have the deepest reverence for the royalty he did express some respect and sympathy for Charles ahead of his coronation.

“I view the costumes and the ritual and the pageantry with distant interest, if any,” Crowe wrote. “I don’t know what it’s all supposed to mean in 2023, nor in any other time for that matter. I don’t really think we need a King, but I’m sure Charles III will do the very best job he can.”

“I don’t think any of us can really understand what that life of duty and expectation must feel like. He’s taking over the family business. That is his destiny. Like it is for many, from publishers to plasterers.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 13: (L-R) Prince Harry, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrive at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference at Lancaster House on February 13, 2014 in London, England. It is hoped that following discussions at the conference, nations will sign a declaration that will commit them to a range of goals to combat the poaching that is threatening animals such as tigers, elephants and rhinos. (Photo by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty images)

King Charles III will be coronated at Westminster Abbey on May 6, symbolically ushering in the first new British monarch in nearly 70 years.

Charles acceded to the throne after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September. The new king faces challenges in his role: he’s tasked with modernizing the British monarchy at a time when scandals and personal infighting have affected the royals’ public image.

Charles has long had his critics, but it’s clear that Russell Crowe is not one of them… just don’t ask him to say “your majesty.”

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