How do you cast a believable version of the British royal family for one of Netflix’s most popular and critically acclaimed dramas? That’s exactly the challenge that The Crown’s casting director Nina Gold has been tasked with ahead of the show’s third season, which requires an entirely new line-up as the story marches on into the 1970s and beyond.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Gold (who has already cast Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II and reportedly eyed Helena Bonham Carter for the part of her younger, more rebellious sister Princess Margaret) revealed exactly what she looks for when searching for actors to take on these royal roles, dropping some vague hints as to what we can expect from The Crown’s younger generation of royals and royal-adjacents – Charles, Anne, Camilla and Diana – going forward.
‘We’re unlikely to cast a major movie star,’ she said of the newly grown-up characters, explaining that she and show creator Peter Morgan are instead on the look out for ‘new or new-ish talent.’
‘When we cast Claire and Vanessa, they had done loads of really good work, but they weren’t very well known to this kind of worldwide audience – which was great, because they totally owned the characters without too much baggage,’ she said, adding that ‘Charles, Camilla and Anne are going to be pretty interesting characters to follow, because they are just coming into their own. We’ve cast a pretty wide net for these new young characters.’
NOW READ: The Cast Of The Crown: TV Versus Real Life
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Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...
Prince Philip actually only became a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957, when it was announced that he'd be known as His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Played by Matt Smith
Matt Smith's Philip becomes more of a central focus for The Crown's second season, which explores the Duke's place in the royal family while hinting at his rumoured infidelity.
Played by Claire Foy
*The Crown *marks the second time that Claire Foy has played a Queen: she previously starred as Anne Boleyn in the BBC's adaptation of Wolf Hall.
Queen Elizabeth II...
Season two sees Elizabeth more established in her role as Queen, but having to contend with a tumultuous political climate and tensions in her marriage.
Played by Vanessa Kirby
Prior to playing Princess Margaret, Vanessa balanced stage work with credits in film and TV productions like Great Expectations, *About Time *and Me Before You. She'll next be seen opposite Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 6.
Widely perceived as the Queen's 'wilder' sister, Margaret associated with a more bohemian circle in the 60s and 70s.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother...
Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was widely considered among the most popular members of the royal family, and was active in public life even as she turned 100.
Played by Victoria Hamilton
Fan of Doctor Foster? Victoria Hamilton's turn as Gemma's neighbour Anna was certainly a contrast to her royal role as the Queen Mum.
Played by Jared Harris
The son of actor Richard (aka Dumbledore from The Philosopher's Stone), Jared Harris' screen credits include *Mad Men, Sherlock Holmes *and Lincoln.
King George VI...
Known as Bertie to his family, George VI never expected to become King. Upon the abdication of his older brother, however, the throne was his.
Played by Matthew Goode
Matthew Goode is something of a period drama mainstay, having previously appeared in the likes of *Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited *and The Imitation Game.
Antony Armstrong-Jones had a notoriously tempestuous relationship with Princess Margaret, but even after their 1978 divorce, he continued as the royal family's photographer of choice.
Played by Jodi Balfour
South African actress Jodi Balfour most recently starred as DI Elaine Shephard in the BBC's police procedural Rellik; prior to that, her biggest role was in Canadian TV drama Bomb Girls .
Played by Michael C. Hall
American actor Michael C. Hall is best known for his roles as the serial killer of the title in *Dexter *and as a mortician in *Six Feet Under. *
Played by Alex Jennings
Alex Jennings is another *Crown *star to have previously played a different member of the royal family on screen: he starred as Prince Charles opposite Helen Mirren in The Queen.
Played by Lia Williams
Alongside her TV roles, actress Lia Williams has starred in a number of plays, directed short films and runs a production company with her husband.
Played by Ben Miles
Ben Miles has previously appeared in shows like Cold Feet, *Coupling *and the BBC's Shakespeare adaptation, *The Hollow Crown. *
*The Crown *marks the second screen incarnation of former First Lady Jackie Kennedy of 2017: Natalie Portman earned an Oscar nod for unconventional biopic Jackie earlier this year.
Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor...
Upon her third marriage, American socialite Wallis Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor, though she was never truly accepted by the royal family.
The Duke of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII...
Britain was gripped by scandal - not to mention a constitutional crisis - when King Edward VIII proposed to Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée who was still technically married to her second husband.
Group Captain Peter Townsend...
A royal equerry from 1944 to 1953, Peter Townsend's romance with Princess Margaret caused a scandal due to his being recently divorced from his wife.
John F. Kennedy...
John F. Kennedy made just one state visit to Buckingham Palace during his presidency, which took place in the summer of 1961. The real life events form the subject of 'Dear Mrs President' in *The Crown's *second season.
Prince Charles and Princess Anne...
Before Charles and Anne headed off to boarding school, they were educated by a governess at Buckingham Palace.
Played by Billy Jenkins and Lyla Barrett-Rye
Billy has previous appeared in Channel 4's Humans, while Lyla played a younger version of Romola Garai's title character in a recent adaptation of Emma.
Philip's Uncle was born Prince Louis of Battenberg, a title which was dropped in anticipation of anti-German sentiment ahead of WWI. A descendent of Queen Victoria, he was also Elizabeth's second cousin once removed.
Played by Greg Wise
You'll probably know Greg Wise for his role as the dashing but caddish Willoughby in the 1995 screen version of *Sense and Sensibility *(in which he starred opposite future wife Emma Thompson).
Charles in particular has proved a difficult prospect, as the chosen actor will potentially have to play the Prince of Wales across a larger time span than usual. ‘I think we’re going from 1964 when we start… and then we have to get him to about 16 to the late twenties. There are a lot of changes in any young man’s life at that spread of ages,’ Gold revealed.
One thing that Gold does confirm is that – contrary to rumours circulating around the production – a young Lady Diana Spencer will not be featuring in season three: we’ll have to wait until round four for that particular debut. When it comes to searching The Crown’s own People’s Princess, ‘that is going to be pretty interesting,’ according to Gold, who said that she will always be looking for actors who can exemplify the ‘class distinctions’ of the era in a way that feels natural and ‘authentic coming from them.’
‘There are so many tiny, tangible signifiers of class and status that we don’t even realise,’ she told Vanity Fair, adding that ‘we need actors who can speak that way and embrace it.