Olivia Colman reveals her “fear” that the Queen doesn’t like her portrayal in The Crown

The Oscar-winning actress has said she worries that Queen Elizabeth II will "change channels" if she watches The Crown.

Olivia Colman in The Crown (Netflix)

Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown may have just earned her an Emmy nomination, but she’s revealed that she still worries that Her Majesty isn’t a fan of her portrayal.

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Speaking about her role in the Netflix series to The Mirror, the 46-year-old actress said that it’s “definitely more daunting to play someone who everyone knows”.

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Referring to her Oscar-winning role of Queen Anne in 2018’s The Favourite, she added: “The beauty of Queen Anne is that no one can tell me she didn’t sound like that, but everyone can tell me what the Queen sounds like, and that’s slightly annoying.”

“It’s much harder to play ­people that everyone has a vision of, a picture of, and has ideas about,” she said. “I’ve never joined a show that’s already been up and running and successful, but I was such an enormous fan that I didn’t really think about it.”
She added that it’s even more nerve-wracking when your real-life character is still alive, saying: “There is much more pressure when you’re playing someone who is still living, and you have this fear that they’re watching it and won’t like it.”

“You’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, what if Queen Elizabeth II ­watches the series and sees me? Perhaps she will think that my interpretation is completely wrong. She’s going to change channels.’”

Colman, who took over her role in The Crown from Claire Foy in 2019, said that despite her worries, she delighted in being able to play such an iconic person.

“I know it sounds weird, but I love the fact that she can’t say what she thinks,” she said. “To express ­herself she leaves small signs, like crumbs.”

“She’s part of a ­generation that was never ­allowed to be spon­taneous, to say the first thing that crossed one’s mind. It’s a difficult position to be in but she’s handled the ­responsibilities very well.”

Colman won her first Academy Award for portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite last year and has since become a household name across the globe with her roles in The Crown and Fleabag.

She is set to return to our screens for her last outing as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown’s fourth season in the near-future, with Tobias Menzies (Prince Phillip) confirming that production on the series wrapped before lockdown.

Imelda Staunton is due to inherit the role for season five, with Lesley Manville becoming Princess Margaret and Jonathan Pryce playing Prince Philip, although Netflix has confirmed that we won’t be seeing the new cast in The Crown until 2022.

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