How similar do the new stars of The Crown look to the real-life royals?

Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Daniels will star in The Crown series three. Here's what their characters really looked like at the time

The crown comparison

The Crown series three takes the Netflix drama forward to 1964-1970 with a brand-new cast of slightly older actors, including Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II and Helena Bonham Carter as her sister Princess Margaret.


But how do the actors compare to the real royals at the time? Let’s take a closer look…

Does Olivia Colman look like Queen Elizabeth?

The Crown: Olivia Colman and Queen Elizabeth II

Costume designers may have modelled Olivia Colman’s debut royal outfit from this portrait of Elizabeth II in her office in 1970, titled “Royal Globetrotter”. Colman looks pretty convincing as the monarch, though if anything her hair isn’t quite tall enough…

Previously played by: Claire Foy

Does Tobias Menzies look like Prince Philip?

The Crown series three star Tobias Menzies side by side with Prince Philip (Getty/Netflix)

Netflix revealed its first look at new actor Tobias Menzies in costume as Prince Philip at the end of August 2018. The picture of the real Prince Philip on the left was taken during a formal event in Malta in 1967, which falls right in the time frame for series three. It’s an impressive likeness – even if Menzies doesn’t quite have the nose to match the Duke of Edinburgh’s. The Crown’s costume department have also clearly been closely researching Prince Philip’s weighty collection of medals.

Previously played by: Matt Smith

Does Josh O’Connor look like Prince Charles?

The Crown - Josh O'Connor and Prince Charles

You have to admit, it’s a pretty good likeness! Prince Charles has posed for many awkward photographs in his time and the one on the left marks his 18th birthday, in 1966.

When it was announced he was joining the Netflix biopic, O’Connor joked that he did have the “right ears” for the role.

However, he has since told that this is where the similarities end.

“The ears is where it stops, really,” he explained. “Hopefully I’m not too similar to him. I’m playing a character, I’m not playing real life Prince Charles and hopefully bringing something else to a role in a drama rather than replicating the real man.”

While O’Connor is yet to meet the heir to the throne, he joked at the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival that he did have one thing he’d like to do with the prince.

“I would definitely, almost immediately, compare ears, and I would want to know how that’s been for him. I actually would love to know,” he said.

Does Emerald Fennell look like Camilla Parker Bowles?

Camilla and Emerald Fennell The Crown

With completely different face shapes and lips, there aren’t many physical similarities between Call the Midwife’s Emerald Fennell and Prince Charles’s love interest (and later second wife) Camilla. But perhaps there’s something in the eyes?

Does Marion Bailey look like the Queen Mother?

The Crown - Marion Bailey and the Queen Mother

The Queen Mother was born in 1900 when Victoria was still on the throne. Here she is at the age of 66, to Marion Bailey’s 67 – and looking at their photographs next to each other, you can see why they cast her.

Does Helena Bonham Carter look like Princess Margaret?

The Crown: Princess Margaret and Helena Bonham Carter

In most photographs from this era Princess Margaret can be seen smiling – but who knows what kind of haughty glares she gave behind closed doors, as we see in this first image of Helena Bonham Carter. Certainly the Queen’s sister loved her eyeliner and lipstick – and a bit of bling.

Previously played by: Vanessa Kirby

Does Ben Daniels look like Tony Armstrong-Jones?

Lord Snowdon and Ben Daniels in The Crown

Princess Margaret’s husband Tony (aka Lord Snowdon) was a society photographer – and a bit of a rogue. With his piercing blue eyes, you can see why The Crown’s casting director chose Ben Daniels.


Previously played by: Matthew Goode