Erin Doherty is one of the breakout stars of season three of The Crown thanks to her brilliant portrayal of Princess Anne. She might make it look seamless to transform into the Queen’s only daughter. But the actress has revealed it took some work to get into the part, especially with her voice.
MORE: Everything you need to know about Erin Doherty, the rising star who plays Princess Anne in ‘The Crown’
In a new interview, Erin said she actually hurt her throat while trying to imitate the Princess Royal’s deep voice.
To prepare for the role, the 27-year-old told Glamour she studied for the audition and part by watching lengthy YouTube videos of Anne.
“The main thing for me was getting the voice right, because it’s so different to mine,” she revealed.
This was quite a challenge because the British actress has previously remarked she has never heard anyone talk quite the way Princess Anne does, including Prince Harry and Prince William.
“The way she suppresses her voice... it’s kind of this odd, low placement,” revealed Erin. “I’d use that psychologically just to get into where she was at, the headspace she’s in as this princess who was born into this role... Because that voice placement of pushing it down makes you feel really constricted and controlled, and you just want to break out of it.”
The star said her throat injury came in the early stages of training.
“My voice obviously kind of became acclimatized to that placement," she continued. “I think that’s probably just a part of voice training, but it took a while for it to settle. Now it’s fine.”
There was a transition period of about two weeks where Erin was unhappy.
“I would go to random places and order coffee in that voice. I would do anything I could in that voice to try and make it feel natural, because it doesn’t,”
Erin admitted. “Everything about it my body wanted to reject, because it just doesn’t feel healthy or right.”
In another interview, the actress also discussed mastering Anne’s distinct voice.
“I had to make sure that was on point," she told Town and Country. “So I walked around speaking as her, trying not to look too crazy. And honestly, the more I did it, naturally it became a subconscious thing.”
She perfected Anne's vocal timbre in the end, and her spectacular performance in The Crown demonstrates this.
Princess Margaret, Princess Anne and The Queen Mother arrive at the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle on July 1, 1969 in Wales. Photo: © Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the newcomer also discussed what it was like to play the character and approach the part on a deeper level.
“What fascinates me the most about acting is the psychological side of it, and the moment I started to process the fact that Anne has grown up with a mother who's the Queen, just knowing that there is always something that will overrule you … that's quite a difficult place to be,” she mused. “I think as a result of that, Anne kind of built up this amazing armour and no one's excluded from it. She just won't let anyone hurt her. She looks after herself, and I think she learned that from a really young age.”
If you loved Erin as Anne in Season 3, you're in luck because she's also going to be part of Season 4, which is being filmed now.