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How Claire Foy went from an awkward teenager to Hollywood royalty

She is now bona fide Hollywood royalty after scooping her first Golden Globe for her turn as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown.

But just five years ago, the showbiz set who watched Claire Foy take to the stage at the star-studded ceremony in Beverly Hills last night would be hard-pressed to name any of her acting roles.

So how did the 32-year-old go from virtual obscurity to the nation’s sweetheart almost overnight?

The mother-of-one has starring roles in Netflix blockbusters and major TV dramas under her belt, yet she has managed to avoid both the glare of the limelight – and the allure of Los Angeles – for much of her career.

But her story begins in Stockport, Greater Manchester, where she grew up the youngest of three children to a sales consultant and a pharmaceutical company worker from a ‘massive Irish family’.

Claire spent much of her early childhood in the north-west, until her parents split and she moved to Buckinghamshire with her mother and siblings.

Though less academic than her brother and sister, the self-confessed ‘attention seeker’ had dreams of being a ballerina before juvenile arthritis put her dancing ambitions on hold and she turned her attentions to acting.

‘I was never the prettiest or the most talented girl,’ she admitted in a 2008 interview.

‘It was always an uphill struggle. I’ve loved drama, but somehow I just thought everyone else was better than me.’

She later went as far as claiming she had ‘no natural aptitude for anything’.

Yet she persevered, studying drama and film at Liverpool John Moores University, before taking a postgraduate course at the Oxford School of Drama where she took on ‘menial jobs’ to fund her studies.

In her mid-twenties, she moved into a house share with five friends from drama school in London’s Peckham.

After a string of theatre roles, by 2008 she had landed her first major TV gig in BBC’s Dickensian drama Little Dorrit, and two years later she starred in the much-anticipated revival of Upstairs, Downstairs.

But despite her burgeoning success, she still suffered from stage fright and in an interview with the Mail on Sunday the starlet admitted to being so nervous about a recent audition she had skipped breakfast.

‘I find fame a very abstract thing to think about,’ she revealed. ‘I don’t think that will happen to me. I would hate to be hounded.

‘I think it would be terrible to be Sienna Miller or Keira Knightley and be turned into this paparazzi person. I’d love to have their careers but not what goes with it.’

Indeed, just last weekend she admitted to being ‘completely terrified’ about her Best Actress nomination ahead of the ceremony.

She was catapulted to global fame after starring as Henry VIII’s ill-fated second wife Anne Boleyn in the 2015 BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and last year made her debut as the Queen in the Crown opposite Doctor Who star Matt Smith – the very role that won her the a Golden Globe nomination.

Today, she is happily married to fellow actor, The History Boys star Stephen Campbell Moore, and the pair have a daughter who turns two in March.

The actress recently joked that trying to breastfeed her baby while playing the Queen was ‘lunacy’.


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