When Netflix revealed that, with authenticity in mind, they’d be re-casting each and every one of The Crown’s royal roles for the show’s forthcoming third season, we were ever so slightly perturbed. Yes, it'd be a stretch for her to play a 40-something, but who could possibly inhabit the role of Queen Elizabeth II with the subtlety, wit and all-round brilliance of Claire Foy (who won a Golden Globe in 2017 for her performance in season one)? And who could be a better foil to Her Majesty than Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, undoubtedly the series’ breakout star?
As things have transpired, we should have had more faith all along. Earlier this year, it was finally confirmed Foy’s crown would be passed on to Olivia Colman, one of Britain’s best-loved (and most versatile) actresses, who described herself as ‘thrilled’ to be a part of the show. She will be joined by period drama veteran Helena Bonham Carter as her on-screen sister, Princess Margaret, with Tobias Menzies set to take over from Matt Smith as Prince Philip and Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. The final star to have been officially announced by the streaming giant is Ben Daniels, who is replacing Matthew Goode as Margaret’s husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, later known as Lord Snowden.
Now that production on the third season has started, we've been graced with a handful of stills, depicting the new cast as their royal counterparts. First to be teased was an image of Colman taking tea, dressed in an appropriately regal dusty pink twinset and pearls, hair coiffured into Elizabeth’s carefully set curls. Since then, Netflix has dropped three further pictures: one shows Bonham Carter as Margaret toting her signature cigarette holder, her graphic cat’s eye liner flick perhaps the most obvious sign that the show has reached the mid-Sixties; another shows Daniels as Armstrong-Jones, clutching a camera. Today, we received our first glimpse at season three's Prince Philip, showing Tobias Menzies decked out in full royal regalia, pausing against the lavish backdrop of a palace corridor. The caption? 'Ambition.'
Now that Josh O’Connor has been confirmed as Prince Charles, with newcomer Erin Doherty set to play Princess Anne and Marion Bailey to play the Queen Mother, all that remains is confirmation of the show’s incidental characters. Gillian Anderson is currently thought to be in the running to embody Margaret Thatcher in later seasons, but there’s been remarkably little chatter regarding other key roles, such as Camilla Parker Bowles and Princess Diana. Perhaps we'll have to wait until 2019 to find out.
See the latest cast photos from the set of The Crown season three in the gallery below...
Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong Jones
Previously played by: Matthew Goode
Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret
Previously played by: Vanessa Kirby
Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth
Previously played by: Claire Foy
Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip
Previously played by: Matt Smith