Is this really Claire Foy and Matt Smith’s final season in The Crown?

The two lead roles will be re-cast for season three of Netflix's royal drama The Crown – here's everything you need to know

Matt Smith and Claire Foy in The Crown season 2 (Netflix, JG)

If you were wondering how The Crown’s fresh-faced and youthful stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith were going to transform into the middle-aged Queen and her husband Prince Philip for the next few series, the answer is: they won’t.

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The Netflix royal drama will return for a third season – but without Smith or Foy.

Earlier this year, the actress revealed, “Well, after two seasons, that’s it. I’m gone. They’re getting rid of all of us.”

She explained to Vulture: “I don’t how they’re planning on doing it, but they’re such an incredible bunch of directors and producers that it’s gonna be different and exciting. It’ll be original. I can’t wait to see where it goes. I’m so honoured to have been involved at this stage.”

UPDATE: Netflix has confirmed that Olivia Colman will replace Claire Foy in The Crown season two. Read more here. 

Why are they recasting Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown?

Season two of The Crown is set to begin around the time of the Suez Crisis in 1956, and end in 1963 with the resignation of Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.

However, after that the series is expected to jump forward a few years to the 1970s, as showrunner Peter Morgan has said we’ll “start meeting Camilla Parter Bowles in season three”.

That means the Queen will already be in her mid-forties – a bit of a stretch for Foy, who’s only 33. Smith too is set to be recast as the series looks to older actors to depict the later years of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

But far from being reluctant to to leave the Golden Globe-winning Netflix series, the actors insisted it’s part of why they signed up in the first place.

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Discussing the “substitution” at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival earlier this year, Foy joked, “That’s it, I’m on the bench. I’m not even on the bench; I’m just in a different team on my own, unemployed! We’re gone, we’re gone.”

But, she added, “That’s not a shock; we always knew when we signed up to it. Also, not to be funny, but it’s a real plus.

“As an actor there’s nothing worse than the sound of ‘seven years’. I’m sure to some people it sounds amazing but to us it’s like, seven years of playing the same person? And this is a tough job, you know? It’s long, a good nine-monther. And that’s a lot of your life that you sign over to it.”

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Who will play Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip for season three?

Olivia Colman will replace Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown season three. Currently it is not known who will replace Matt Smith.

Everything you need to know about The Crown season 2

Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown season 2 (Netflix, JG)