The Crown cast photo season 5

The Crown season 5 stars talk royals watching show – EXCLUSIVE

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The Crown season five has finally landed on Netflix, and sees the royal family during a particularly turbulent period of their lives. Although there has been much debate surrounding the show – most notably the importance of noting the fictional elements of the period drama – the story is still about a royal family who we all know – and a period of time that most of us remember.

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So, do the royals watch the show and would the stars want them to? We sat down with James Murray, Claudia Harrison and Marcia Warren, who play Prince Harry, Princess Anne and the Queen Mother in the series to find out – while also discussing their audition process, the royal family's portrayal in the latest season, and details about season six…

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WATCH: Will you be watching The Crown season 5?

Were you all fans of The Crown beforehand? How did landing the roles come about?

Marcia: I'd never seen it!

James: Marcia and I were late to the party for that. We apologise and are deeply regretful, but we did catch up.

Claudia: Disgraceful! I was a massive fan. I came to it when the casting call came through and you're really quite excited about it. They’ve watched it now!


Claudia spoke about playing Princess Anne 

Marcia: Audition wise I did my first one on Zoom. I was all dressed up with the pearls and dressed in blue and looking very calm and regal. And then there was no sound on the Zoom! I went a bit frantic. They said, 'Go on the phone.' So I got the phone and the phone said it had a critically low battery.

So I was crawling about the floor with the pearls going everywhere. It was a total disaster. How on earth I got the part after that I'll never know.

Claudia, could you see yourself as Princess Anne while watching the show?

C: You think – as an actor – you're imagining what roles you can play but no, no! And I think you suddenly wake up and go, 'I'm nearly 47 years old. I think I'm 22!' It's very flattering to be thought of as playing such a strong, iconic character. That's a great thing. But age comes to us all.


Claudia Harrison with Imelda Staunton as Princess Anne and the Queen

J: Can I tell my story about my audition? I was reminded of it just this morning. I was sent the material for Andrew and I was filming a fishing show that I do with Robson Green up in Scotland at the time. They said we needed it yesterday like they always do. And I was thinking, 'Well, I'm not right for this. Robson, can you read in for me?' It was the scene where he talks about toe-gate with the Queen.

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So I said, 'Robson, I know we should be fishing and filming, but I have to work on this scene. I'm not going to get it anyway. Can you read in for the Queen?'

I didn't have my own clothes, I just had fishing gear so I dressed up as Andrew as much as I could and did my hair in a certain way and shot myself from a certain angle and got Robson with his deep, Geordie dulcet tones to read in as Her Majesty and I just thought it would be comedy to watch. And I sent it off and then the rest is history.

M: Was he disappointed that he didn't get the part?

J: Yeah, Robson was pipped to the post by Imelda!

James, Prince Andrew is a very controversial role to take on. Did it take any convincing to accept the role?

J: It didn't take any convincing. He's a maligned character. And certainly when the opportunity came up, it was very prevalent in the press, even more so than he is now, because it's from an actor's point of view, it's great to be given the opportunity to play a [person] that has such a reactive way about him, either from the behaviour that he's allegedly done in the last few years or prior to that.

Andrew has always been contentious or controversial throughout his history in certain ways. I'm drawn to those characters because they're challenging and fun and interesting to play. No one in life is 100% good or 100% bad, it's the bit in between that is always interesting for an actor to figure out. So I jumped at it.


James spoke about his role as Prince Andrew

Have you thought about the royals watching your performances?

C: Well, she [Princess Anne] commented on [Erin Doherty's] hair. The hair took ages and Anne said, 'Well I just put it up!' I think she hasn't got time to watch The Crown. I hope she watches it, and I hope she'd like what I have done with it. I don't know. I think she's so egoless. I think she would have a huge sense of humour about it.

M: I don't want King Charles to watch because he loved his grandmother so much.

J: But you do her such justice!

I think that the way the royal family is portrayed in this series is incredibly sensitive. I think they would all be quite happy with it. What do you guys think?

C: I completely agree with you. When you come to it with an open heart, it is nothing but even handed. It's interesting because the press at the time is a character of the show, aren't they. This whole kind of 24-hour news cycle is being examined in the morally grey area of that behaviour in the nineties. I think it's an even-handed look at the royals.

MORE: The Crown season 5 review: a love letter to the royal family led by a heartbreaking Imelda Staunton

MORE: The Crown season 5: what to expect and what the royal family really think

J: It's respectful.

M: And isn't the scenery in it another member of the cast, don't you think? It is so beautiful. Ravishing.


The series looks at the Queen's children's marriages

The production value on it is spectacular. Did you feel the pressure personally on something of this magnitude?

M: Well, I don't think you can. You just want to remember your lines!

C: You've got to let it go. It does feel like a day at work in the most beautiful place. There's scaffolding and everyone's wearing shoe covers and everyone's at work and doing COVID tests. It just feels like an amazing working day and you also feel like part of a huge team.

J: Absolutely, very well supported.

C: Everyone's working so hard and you feel everyone's apprehension and need to do a good job across every department. So, I found that very, very comforting. We're all doing our very, very best on the day to make this right. And you are in front of the camera, of course, but you absolutely feel the pressure for everybody across the board.


The new season looks at the family in the 1990s

Season six filming is well underway. Is there anything you can tell us?

J: It deals with the Tony Blair years. There's a lot that goes on. a hugely rich cultural time in history.

C: And it feels like that really exciting thing about drama that, previously in The Crown, that wonderful span of the years they have over a series, it's that thing that as the drama heightens, that the clock slows down and we're punching in and series six picks up just where series five finishes. It's that real pressure cooker moment. It's just great to be doing.


Season five is now on Netflix

Do you think it's right that the show ends with season six?

J: Yes! [Laughs]

C: You can't have a perspective on it yet. It’s not a documentary. So we stop and digest and we let the audience have it.

MORE: How The Crown season 5 almost launched a murder investigation

M: Anyway the Queen Mother wouldn't be in the next series so there's no point.

J: There's an Andrew spinoff! [Laughs]

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