By Julie Miller
I you have not yet watched Netflix’s The Crown, the upcoming holiday weekend is the perfect chance to start. The sumptuous 10-episode series, from Stephen Daldry and Peter Morgan, stars British actress Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth ascending the throne decades before she expected to. Foy does a brilliant job portraying the long-reigning monarch as viewers have never seen her—fallible, unsure of herself, and struggling to balance her domestic life with her divine duty as the whole world watches.
To celebrate the series, we spoke to Foy earlier this week about the challenges of playing Queen Elizabeth, whether or not she’s heard from the palace, and what viewers can expect when the series returns for its second season. Our edited conversation follows.
V.F. Hollywood: I have so enjoyed watching you on The Crown, and was sad to finish the first 10 episodes. Was the series as fun to make as it was to watch?
Claire Foy: It really, really was. It was definitely a feat, a bit of an achievement, because it’s so vast, and there’s so much of it, and the story goes so far in such a short space of time. But we [the cast and crew] all absolutely love each other.
We’re all so acquainted with Queen Elizabeth the public figure, but what research gave you the best insight into what she’s like behind closed doors?
The palace released quite a lot of her home videos, actually. She has that video camera [that was given to her by her father]. A lot of the home videos were actually shot by her. She has done that through her entire reign.
The palace did this thing [for the Queen’s 90th birthday] where the royal family sat down and watched the home videos together [for a BBC documentary]. William and Harry sat down and watched some. The Queen and Prince Charles watched some. It was the most amazing thing, watching them watch these home videos. A lot of these home videos are of her and Margaret and Philip and, at that point, Charles and Anne—them messing about and rolling down hills. That was very very early on in her reign . . . Those were really amazing, because even then she had such a reserved quality. She wasn’t, obviously, as frivolous as Margaret.
There are documentaries of her now, in her 70s, 80s, and 90s—that’s really useful. But you have to realize she’s not the same at 90 as she was at 25. As good as that is, to see her and how she moves and how she is with people naturally, you have to imagine her as a seed of a person as opposed to full character.
Continue reading Claire Foy on Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis, Season 2 and More