50 Jew­els in the CROWN

Event gets an ex­clu­sive royal tour of the new Net­flix se­ries of The Crown – as we humbly present a ma­jes­tic guide to pay TV’s top...

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - FRONT PAGE - JON RAF­FERTY BY

It’s a tor­rent com­ing at them, and they don’t know how to cope,’ says Claire Foy of the wave of per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal prob­lems fac­ing the Royal Fam­ily in the glit­ter­ing new se­ries of The

Crown. Foy, who won a Golden Globe for her per­for­mance as Queen El­iz­a­beth in se­ries one, ad­mits that the Roy­als ‘judge it wrongly ev­ery sin­gle time. And this se­ries is very af­fected by the out­side world and the Six­ties and sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Stuff you would not as­so­ciate with the Queen of Eng­land.’

Net­flix’s ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated sec­ond se­ries of The Crown be­gins where the last se­ries left off, in 1956, and the ten hour-long episodes will cover the mo­men­tous his­tor­i­cal events of the next decade, such as the Suez Cri­sis, which sees Jeremy Northam as An­thony Eden mired in a Mid­dle East war. Vanessa Kirby is back as Princess Mar­garet, dat­ing and then mar­ry­ing the pho­tog­ra­pher An­thony Arm­strong-Jones (Matthew Goode), and Dex­ter star Michael C Hall will make his de­but as the hand­some young US pres­i­dent John F Kennedy, along­side first lady Jackie Kennedy, played by South African ac­tress Jodi Bal­four. Game Of Thrones’ An­ton Lesser joins the cast as Harold Macmil­lan, who has to hu­mil­i­at­ingly re­sign as prime min­is­ter in the wake of the Pro­fumo sex scan­dal.

But episode one of the new se­ries, which comes to our screens early next month, con­tains a bomb­shell closer to home as we find the mar­riage of El­iz­a­beth and Philip (Matt Smith), if not on the rocks, then sail­ing per­ilously close. In the trailer we hear Lord Mount­bat­ten (Greg Wise) telling El­iz­a­beth: ‘You mar­ried a wild spirit. Try­ing to tame him is no use,’ and the show de­tails Philip’s af­fair with a bal­let dancer (thought to be based on the ac­tress Pat Kirk­wood).

‘I wanted to throw light on Prince Philip in a way that hasn’t been done be­fore,’ says cre­ator Peter Mor­gan, who along with Foy and Smith shares their on-set se­crets with Event dur­ing breaks from film­ing.

Smith now re­alises that Philip’s quiet re­bel­lion is eas­ily un­der­es­ti­mated by the pub­lic, who know him mainly for some well-pub­li­cised gaffes.

‘I’ve come to ad­mire him the more I’ve learnt about him,’ says Smith. ‘He’s very bright. He is a great mod­erniser. He is in­cred­i­bly funny. He’s on the front line and ob­vi­ously he’s an al­pha male. And then he has to kneel in front of his wife. It’s the Fifties, yet he’s told to give up his job and his name – his kids will take his wife’s name, Wind­sor. You can see how you’d go, “Hang on. I didn’t sign up for that.”’

‘Philip’s life wasn’t easy,’ ad­mits Smith, who now feels a real sym­pa­thy with his char­ac­ter. ‘There was a lot of tragedy in it and for want of a bet­ter word he was or­phaned [Philip’s mother was in a psy­chi­atric clinic and his ex­iled fa­ther was mostly ab­sent], and for any child that is a very trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. He watched peo­ple die young [his sis­ter was killed in a plane crash] and that’s aw­ful.’

Mor­gan is un­apolo­getic about un­cov­er­ing the Roy­als’ mar­i­tal strife: ‘I thought ev­ery­one knew Philip had an af­fair? No­body has iden­ti­fied the peo­ple in­volved, and I’m not go­ing to do that. I’m not a vin­dic­tive

per­son. I’ve just done my best to stick to the facts as I have them.’ The facts are that Philip was packed off on a five-month world tour of the Com­mon­wealth, leav­ing El­iz­a­beth at home. In the se­ries he vis­its Aus­tralia, Tonga, Pa­pua New Guinea and goes to the Antarc­tic. What goes on tour nor­mally stays on tour, but it wasn’t like that for the poor Prince who, while glo­be­trot­ting, was hon­ey­trapped by a jour­nal­ist into re­veal­ing his dark se­crets – his sis­ter’s pro-Nazi lean­ings, his fa­ther’s fi­nan­cial is­sues, his mother’s de­pres­sion.

Back at home El­iz­a­beth is fac­ing the Suez cri­sis, in which the UK, Is­rael and France in­vaded Egypt, then re­treated in de­feat ten days later.

Event joins the 33-year-old Foy on set at El­stree to see how she is trans­formed into the pe­ri­od­per­fect Queen. ‘I loved wear­ing Fifties skirts,’ says Foy, ‘but I’m not a mas­sive fan of the Queen’s choice of wardrobe. I think when she was younger she didn’t have to have the uni­form, she was more free, but as she gets older you start to see the for­ma­tion of the Queen as she looks now — the hair and ev­ery­thing. She works out what her role and her duty are, like we all do in any job. And by the end of this se­ries we have a pro­to­type of the Philip and El­iz­a­beth we know to­day.’

That in­cludes the well­known voice – Foy, who is from Manch­ester, says she had to prac­tise say­ing the word ‘one’ as ‘wahn’ sev­eral times be­fore ev­ery shot – and the equally well­known wave, which she ad­mits has also evolved from se­ries one, into the wristy flick we know now.

Writer Peter Mor­gan, a staunch repub­li­can, has faced a back­lash from view­ers af­ter con­tro­ver­sially re­fer­ring to the monar­chy as a ‘de­ranged in­sti­tu­tion’ led by a ‘coun­try­side woman of limited in­tel­li­gence who would have much pre­ferred look­ing af­ter her dogs and breed­ing horses to be­ing queen’. But The Crown shows them as real peo­ple and we’ll see the mas­sive strain the po­lit­i­cal havoc of this tur­bu­lent time put on the Queen’s reign.

Film­ing was not al­lowed at Buck­ing­ham Palace or any of the royal cas­tles. Mor­gan took this in his stride, say­ing: ‘I want my in­de­pen­dence, they want theirs. I don’t want to be as­so­ci­ated with the Palace.’

While Foy has been ac­claimed for her per­for­mance, she tries not to think too hard about whether the Queen her­self has watched The Crown, though if she does, then this se­ries will make for un­com­fort­able view­ing. ‘Of course there is ev­ery chance she has watched it and I hope she likes what she sees. I hope she un­der­stands what we were try­ing to achieve. When you’re play­ing a real per­son, you never want to be ghoul­ish. I don’t want to pick apart a per­son. I want to in­vent some­one. So I would hate for her to watch it and think I over-

Matt Smith, The Crown cre­ator Peter Mor­gan and Claire Foy

Main pic­ture and below right: Claire Foy as Queen El­iz­a­beth with Matt Smith as Prince Philip

Claire Foy shoot­ing se­ries two of The Crown

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