Claire Foy’s reign is over. After two seasons starring in Netflix drama The Crown she’ll no longer play Queen Elizabeth II – and will abdicate the throne after the upcoming second season to make way for an older actress.
The 33-year-old explained last year: “Well, after two seasons, that’s it. I’m gone. They’re getting rid of all of us.”
But who’ll take on the job? Early indications are that there’ll be a time leap from when season two ends in 1963, with the next instalment of Peter Morgan’s drama expected to take place in the seventies and include Camilla Parker-Bowles.
So producers will be on the hunt for an outstanding actress in her mid-forties – but who could take on the huge role of Queen Elizabeth II? Check out our choice candidates for the throne, vote for your favourite or add your own suggestion below.
Oscar-winning British actress Rachel Weisz is a film star who’s appeared in everything from My Cousin Rachel to The Constant Gardener to The Mummy Returns. She’s also been a big hit on stage, scoring an Olivier Award for playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. Weisz has made only a handful of TV appearances, but could a big on demand series like The Crown break that trend?
Hugely respected actress Keeley Hawes has starred in Line of Duty, The Missing and The Durrells. We can just imagine her doing that crisp royal voice as Queen Elizabeth II.
Helen McCrory has already worked with The Crown showrunner Peter Morgan, playing Cherie Blair in his 2006 film The Queen and follow-up film The Special Relationship – so she’d be perfectly placed to take on the role of the Queen herself. Since those projects she’s appeared in Peaky Blinders, Skyfall and Fearless.
Bagging Kate Winslet would be a big result. She has a mantelpiece groaning with Oscars, Grammys, Baftas, Emmys and Golden Globes, and has appeared in everything from Titanic to The Reader to Steve Jobs. Plus she bonded with the Queen when she collected her CBE, so she might have the inside scoop.
Olivia Colman has already played the Queen Mother – she starred as George VI’s wife in the comedy film Hyde Park on Hudson a few years ago, and she looked rather dashing all dressed up as a royal. Peep Show actress Colman could bring a dose of comedy to The Crown, but she can also do serious drama – as she demonstrated wonderfully on television in The Night Manager and Broadchurch.
Gillian Anderson can do anything. She’s starred in The X-Files, American Gods and The Fall, playing detectives and gods; she’s played Miss Havisham, and Blanche DuBois, and Wallis Simpson. Could she play the Queen?
Oscar-nominated English actress Naomi Watts has starred in The Ring, Mulholland Drive, The Impossible, King Kong and Twin Peaks. Recently she launched the Netflix drama Gypsy.
You just know Emily Mortimer would be able to speak the Queen’s English. She’s starred in The Newsroom, Shutter Island and Hugo, and she’s about to appear in Mary Poppins Returns as Jane Banks.
Lena Headey stars as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones, but we all know there’s no job security in the brutal HBO series where you could get killed off any minute. Plus it’s finally coming to an end, so she could be looking for her next big project. Headey has also been in The Red Baron, Terminator and Band of Gold.
Olivia Williams is a hugely versatile actress, appearing in everything from An Education to The Ghost Writer to The Halcyon. Could she take on Elizabeth II?
Cate Blanchett has already starred as Queen Elizabeth I, so it seems fitting she should also take on the role of Elizabeth II. A hugely respected and highly-acclaimed actress, Blanchett has starred in movies including The Aviator, Carol and Notes on a Scandal. She may be Australian but she does an excellent English accent.
The Crown season two will launch on Netflix on Friday 8th December