See the uncanny resemblance between the cast of “The Crown” and the royals they play

February 23rd, 2021

For those of you who are fans of the opulent Netflix series The Crown, it was no doubt sad news to hear that its 6th season will be its last. But the good news is we still have a long way to go.

After Season 4 – which was interrupted by the pandemic – was released in November of 2020, Netflix announced Season 5 would premiere in 2022 and get a whole new cast of characters.

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For years, the series has been raking in awards for its actors’ portrayals of the British royal family and those surrounding them. And at the center is the longest-reigning monarch in history, Queen Elizabeth II, who has now ruled over the United Kingdom for a whopping 69 years!

While it’s hard to see actors change between seasons, the casting has been inspired. Just take a look at these images of the royals themselves and those who play them on TV:

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II (in Seasons 1 & 2)

British actress Claire Foy won a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in Seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown, playing Elizabeth as a young mother and then newly-minted Queen of England.

Playing the Queen has given Foy a whole new appreciation of the monarch. When asked by Vogue to clear up any misconceptions about Elizabeth, she said:

“I think that it’s easy to see her as cold and distant and disembodied, because you don’t want to have to consider what it’s like for her…what’s going on that we don’t see, is not that she doesn’t feel pain or happiness or misery or joy or any of those things, it’s just that we don’t get to see any of that, and that’s really fascinating that someone has managed to do that for 64 years.”

Foy’s portrayal gave us a sense of that regal distance but also some real insight into what it must be like for a woman to grow up, and grow into, that huge responsibility.

Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II (in Seasons 3 & 4)

The Crown took on a whole new vibe in Seasons 3 and 4 when the cast changed and Olivia Coleman’s Queen is a lot less carefree. However, her portrayal felt spot-on for the storyline and earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series.

The New York Times called the multi-award-winning actress “most ordinary extraordinary person you have ever met,” and highlighted her discomfort with her newfound fame despite her other popular roles.

“I hate the loss of anonymity,” she said. “No one teaches you how to deal with that. I now just tend to stay home because it’s so weird not to be on an equal footing with people. They know your face, and you don’t know them.”

Matt Smith as Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh (in Seasons 1 & 2)

While it was hard for Dr. Who fans to picture Matt Smith as anyone else, his portrayal of a young Prince Phillip to Claire Foy’s Elizabeth was truly inspired.

He too only had the role for Seasons 1 and 2.

And while he was a fan favorite, his portrayal has been criticized by royal biographer Ingrid Seward, who told The Independent:

“Prince Philip is so upright. He has that military stance. So Matt Smith got it all wrong in The Crown.”

Tobias Menzies as Prince Phillip (in Seasons 3 & 4)

You might recognize the actor from his previous roles on Outlander and Game of Thrones.

He told Vanity Fair that the main challenge with playing the Prince was that there’s very little personal information about him in any kind of reliable public record. Alas, someone managed to get ahold of letters between him and Princess Diana of all people, which gave him new insight.

“I was really struck by the kind of balanced, calm, quite tender kind of atmosphere to those letters. He clearly, behind the scenes, worked quite hard to mend that relationship. And if those letters are anything to go by, he does seem to have been a keen supporter of hers,” he said.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana

Emma Corrin took on, perhaps, the second most crucial role in Season 4 of The Crown. Everyone was curious to see what they would do with Diana of Wales’ character, especially since Queen Elizabeth was already such a sympathetic character.

Corrin will only play the young Diana as she meets and marries Prince Charles. In the show’s final two seasons, Elizabeth Debicki will play the ill-fated Princess.

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Josh O’Conner as Prince Charles (in Seasons 3 & 4)

O’Conner, who, politically speaking, is not a fan of the monarchy was an interesting choice to play Prince Charles.

O’Conner also found it a challenge to play someone whose sole purpose in life would never come to fruition until his mother died.

He told The Guardian:

“And whatever you think of the royal family it’s hard not to feel sympathy for someone in that situation. Because it’s insane.”

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Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret (in Seasons 1 & 2)

Vanessa Kirby lit up the screen with her lively portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister Princess Margaret.

The vision of her partying and chain-smoking while Elizabeth is a picture of royal reserve provides a great juxtaposition.

Fun-loving and outgoing, she brings some much-need levity to the first two seasons, but things get serious as well when she realizes her true love, Peter Townsend is engaged, and instead enters into a rocky marriage with Antony Armstrong-Jones (aka Lord Snowden).

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Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret (in Seasons 3 & 4)

Helena Bonham Carter is known for her eclectic approach to just about everything. And while she prepared for her role as the increasingly more tragic version of Princess Margaret by reading biographies and speaking to anyone who knew the late royal, she also consulted a psychic to get her blessing from beyond!

According to The Guardian:

“So I asked her: ‘Are you OK with me playing you?’ and she said: ‘You’re better than the other actress’… that they were thinking of. They will not admit who it was. It was me and somebody else.”

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Erin Doherty as Princess Anne

Queen Elizabeth II’s only daughter, Anne, was a breakout role for Doherty, and her constant smirk and brutal honesty have made her a fan favorite.

In real life, Princess Anne is one of the hardest-working royals, taking on more engagements than anyone else in the royal family.

She was also a world-class equestrian and flat-out refused a kidnapping attempt in 1974 when she replied “Bloody likely” when ordered to get out of her car at gunpoint!

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, was a first cousin, once removed of Queen Elizabeth and a frequent confidant of a young Prince Charles (also pictured here and played by Julian Baring) before his shocking assassination by the IRA in 1979.

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The two even called each other “Honorary Grandfather” and “Honorary Grandson.”

Charles even proposed marriage to Mountbatten’s daughter Amanda, but she refused.

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Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher

Anderson was terrified to take on the role of the Iron Lady. While Thatcher’s politics don’t necessarily make her a sympathetic character, the actress brought the role to life after deciding to put all preconceptions of the politician aside.

Anderson’s portrayal is so realistic that it has even revived conversations about Thatcher’s legacy in British politics.

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Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons


There are so many other characters and uncanny resemblances to appreciate.

Have you caught up with The Crown on Netflix?

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Source: Vogue, Facebook – @TheCrownNetflix, Vanity Fair, Vanity Fair (2)