Claire Foy says she’s “not surprised” people were upset by the pay gap on The Crown

Fans reacted in uproar when it was revealed Foy’s co-star Matt Smith made more than her on the Netflix series

Matt Smith and Claire Foy as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 2 (Netflix, JG)

Claire Foy has responded to the backlash against the pay imbalance between actors in Netflix’s The Crown, with the star saying she’s “not surprised” there was such a negative reaction online.

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The story began when producers of the royal drama revealed that for the first two series lead actor Foy had actually been paid less than co-star Matt Smith, due to the latter’s greater fame from his time on Doctor Who.

However, to many fans of the series the imbalance reflected wider trends of gender pay disparity in modern society, and the subsequent uproar (and petitions that Matt Smith give up his larger salary) led production company Left Bank Pictures to apologise for the difference in salary.

Now, Foy herself has finally broken her silence over the matter, revealing that while the scandal took her and Smith unawares she completely understands where people’s frustrations are coming from.

“I’m surprised because I’m at the centre of it, and anything that I’m at the centre of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of ordinary,” Foy told EW.

“But I’m not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I’m not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, ‘Oh, that’s a bit odd.’

“But I know that Matt feels the same that I do,” she concluded, “that it’s odd to find yourself at the centre [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.”

Still, the experience hasn’t completely tainted her enjoyment of the series, with the actor keen to see how new star Olivia Colman manages in her former role as the Queen.

“I’ll be asking to see it earlier than it’s available,” Foy said. “I can’t wait to see it. I think Olivia Colman’s amazing.”

And early preview? Sounds like there are still a few perks to being the Queen…

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The Crown series one and two are streaming on Netflix now