The Crown is a brand new Netflix original series, which dramatises Queen Elizabeth II’s early reign, revealing the personal intrigues, romances, and political rivalries behind the great events that shaped the second half of the 20th Century.
It’s a 10-part series and is Netflix’s most expensive and ambitious project to date.
“The Crown brings with it a set of responsibilities and fundamentally realigns the power structure in a way that can only be challenging,” says Peter Morgan, the show’s creator. Suddenly, Elizabeth is no longer just a wife, a sister, or a daughter. She is the Queen, the head of the family, the head of state, the head of the Church of England, and the head of the Commonwealth of Nations.
“What’s made it so interesting to write is not this or that historical event,” says Morgan. “It’s been that this is a family, and within that family is the Crown, and the Crown is a bomb that changes the structure of everything.”
Claire Foy and Matt Smith are playing the royal couple, but there’s plenty more of the cast you need to meet…
Claire Foy – Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth expects to have many years of married bliss before ascending to the throne, but no such luck. Her simple life is cut short when her father, King George VI, dies unexpectedly, and at the age of 25, she inherits the Crown and the unimaginable burden that comes with it.
“Peter Morgan’s Elizabeth is a quite naïve, sheltered person,” says Foy. “She has been brought up very well, to respect people and do the right thing. But she’s grown up from the age of eleven knowing that she was going to be Queen one day.
“Ultimately, I think she’s a very kind, loving, strong, determined, funny, clever person. Sometimes she’s allowed to show it, and sometimes she’s not.”
Where do I recognise her from?
Foy is no stranger to period dramas – she played Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall and appeared in Upstairs Downstairs. She is also known for Season of the Witch, Going Postal and Wreckers.
Matt Smith – Prince Philip
Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is in many ways the opposite of his wife. He is reluctant to be browbeaten by the British Establishment, and has his own cross to bear surrounding his own family history. Emotionally orphaned as a young boy, Philip’s greatest sense of loss is that of the tight family unit that he worked so hard to create.
“He is a loyal person, he has a sort of irreverence and curiosity,” says Smith. “He has a thirst for progress, knowledge and modernity. Plus, he’s got a great sense of humour.”
Where do I recognise him from?
Doctor Who, of course! He was the eleventh – and youngest – person to play the Doctor. Smith also appeared in The Ruby In The Smoke and Diary of Call Girl with Billie Piper, had a role in BBC’s Party Animals, and popped up in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in 2016.