It’s not easy being queen. “The Crown” producers revealed at an INTV Conference in Jerusalem that their lead actors weren’t paid equally for the first two seasons of the series. Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip, earned more than Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II, even though Foy had more screentime. Producer Suzanne Mackie insisted, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”
Smith got the heftier paycheck thanks in large part to his notoriety as the star of “Doctor Who” for nearly four years (2010-2013), though Foy was a notable name herself, having earned BAFTA and Critics’ Choice nominations for her role as another royal, Anne Boleyn, in the 2015 limited series “Wolf Hall” about Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) in the court of King Henry VIII (Damian Lewis). And since “The Crown” premiered in fall 2016 Foy has earned an Emmy nomination and won a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards.
But while producers plan to compensate Her Majesty fairly in the future, it won’t be Foy who benefits. All the major roles on “The Crown” are being recast going into season three of the series as the story moves to the next stage in the lives of the royal family. Queen Elizabeth will be played by Olivia Colman, while her sister Princess Margaret is going from Vanessa Kirby to Helena Bonham Carter. As of this writing no announcement has been made about who will take over the Prince Philip role, but he won’t be wearing the pants in the family anymore.
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