The Crown’s Claire Foy and Olivia Colman Reflect on Queen Elizabeth’s “Dignity and Grace”


Claire Foy & Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth on the Crown

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The two actresses who portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown are paying tribute to the life and legacy of the late monarch.

Both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman played the queen at different ages in the acclaimed Netflix drama. Now, following the news of her death at 96, the actresses are sharing their thoughts about the iconic leader.

“I think that she was an incredible monarch,” Foy, 38, told BBC at the Toronto International Film Festival on Wednesday. “She united people and she was a massive symbol of continuity and dignity and grace.”

Foy played the role of the Queen in the first two seasons of the series, which depicted the early days of her rule from 1947 to 1964. Thinking about all Queen Elizabeth accomplished in her life, Foy couldn’t help but focus on one particular aspect : her family.

“My main feeling is just thinking about her as a mother and a grandmother and a great-grandmother, really,” she said. “I’m very honored to have been a teeny tiny, small part of her story.”

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Photograp/Rex USA; Popper photo/Getty

RELATED: Everything to Know About The Crown Season 5

In seasons 3 and 4 of The CrownColman, 48, assumed the role, portraying a more experienced Queen Elizabeth, set in the years 1964 through 1976. The actress spoke to variety about the impact the queen had on the world during an appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“I wouldn’t know where to begin with that. She made a promise as a young woman and she absolutely kept it with such dignity,” she said. “We’re all incredibly impressed by what she did.”

olivia-colman-and-middle-aged-queen-elizabeth

olivia-colman-and-middle-aged-queen-elizabeth

Sophie Mutevelian/Netflix; Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty

Matt Smith, who portrayed the late Prince Philip in the first two seasons of The Crown opposite Foy, also shared his experiences with the royal family on Thursday’s episode of the Today show.

“I with a couple [royals],” Smith, 39, said. “I met the now-King Charles, told him that I thought he had fabulous shoes, which he told me he had them for 30 years. They were like red brogues, they were beautiful.”

the House of the Dragon actor also noted that when he met Prince Harry at a polo match, the royal shook his hand and said, “Grandad.” Smith added, “I can’t claim to know if he watches it currently, but he watched a bit then.”

As for who else in the family watches the royal family-inspired Netflix show, Smith said he “heard” that Queen Elizabeth watched it.

“She used to watch it on a projector on a Sunday night apparently,” the actor said, adding that Phillip was allegedly not a fan. “A friend of mine [said] … ‘Philip I have to ask, have you watched The Crown?’ and apparently he turned round to him and went, ‘Don’t be ridiculous.'”

'The Crown' Season 2 First Look Photos

‘The Crown’ Season 2 First Look Photos

Robert Viglasky/Netflix Claire Foy and Matt Smith

RELATED: Season 1 of The Crown Hits Netflix’s Top 10 List After Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth died “peacefully” in her Scottish home of Balmoral Castle at age 96 on Sept. 8. She was the longest-reigning monarch in Britain’s history after she assumed the title of Queen in 1952.

later that day, The Crown creator Peter Morgan paid tribute to the longest-reigning British monarch and said production on season 6 would likely pause “out of respect” to the late Queen.

The Crown is a love letter to [the Queen] and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect,” Morgan said in a statement to Deadline last Thursday. “I expect we will stop filming out of respect too.” (variety later confirmed on Friday that season 6 production had stopped.)

Production resumed several days later, according to photos captured from the set earlier this week.

Netflix has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment regarding whether the series will move forward with an anticipated fall premiere for season 5.

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Over the past four seasons, The Crown has earned critical acclaim. The series has been nominated for 63 Emmy Awards, winning 21 of them, including outstanding drama series for its fourth season.

Foy earned an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series after season 2 in 2018. She also won the Emmy for outstanding guest actress in a drama series in 2021 when she returned to the show for a cameo in the fourth season. Additionally, Colman was awarded an Emmy in the outstanding lead actress in a drama series category in 2021 after season 4 of the show.

Seasons 1–4 of The Crown can be streamed in full on Netflix.

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