How the Cast of The Crown Compares to the Real-Life Players

All hail these transformations! See how the stars of The Crown transformed into Queen Elizabeth II, her royal family and more prominent figures.

By Alyssa Ray Sep 17, 2021 10:00 AMTags
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Olivia Colman's reign as Queen Elizabeth II has come to an end.

Sunday, Sept. 19 marks the last Emmy Awards where Colman will be up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on The Crown. Why? Because she's since passed on the, well, crown to Harry Potter actress Imelda Staunton.

On July 30, Netflix released the first look of Staunton's transformation into Queen Elizabeth II, a much anticipated image as the actress's casting was first teased back in November 2019. In the first glimpse, Staunton donned the queen's signature short bob, pearls and yellow-patterned outfit.

But she's obviously not the first to hold the throne as part of the Netflix series: Prior to Staunton and Colman's reigns, Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth.

And it appears Colman is excited to hand over her crown. "Imelda is extraordinary," she raved to the Radio Times in December, "and she's going to do it all much better than me. I can't wait to watch what she does."

We don't know about "better," since season four of The Crown is up for several awards at the 2021 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and many acting nominations.

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Of course, Staunton's first pic as the queen isn't the only tease we've gotten for season five.

In August, Elizabeth Debicki, who succeeds Emmy nominee Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, was spotted filming a scene on the grounds of Ardverikie Lodge, which doubles as the royal family's Scottish holiday home, Balmoral Castle. The production photo made it clear that the new season is set right in the heart of the '90s.

After all, Debicki was seen wearing one of Diana's classic ensembles: jeans and an oversized blazer.

We cannot wait to see the other transformations season five has in store as the new cast list also features Jonathan Pryce as Prince Phillip, Dominic West as Prince Charles and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret.

Alex Bailey/Netflix

Take a closer look at The Crown cast and their real-life counterparts by scrolling through the images below.

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II

A new queen is wearing the crown! Imelda Staunton will play Queen Elizabeth II for season five of the Netflix hit.

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II

Olivia Colman played the royal family's matriarch for seasons three and four.

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II

Claire Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in seasons one and two of Netflix's The Crown, portraying the early days of the Queen's reign.

Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip

Tobias Menzies stepped into the role of Prince Philip for seasons three and four.

Matt Smith as Prince Philip

Doctor Who alum Matt Smith played a younger version of Queen Elizabeth's longtime love Prince Philip in seasons one and two.

Dominic West as Prince Charles

Dominic West will play Prince Charles in The Crown's fifth season.

Josh O'Connor as Prince Charles

Seasons three and four featured Josh O'Connor as heir apparent Prince Charles.

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana

Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana in season five of The Crown.

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana

Emma Corrin took on the daunting task of playing the beloved late Princess Diana for season four.

Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret

Helena Bonham Carter was a natural fit to play the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, in seasons three and four of the period drama.

Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret

British actress Vanessa Kirby portrayed a young Princess Margaret in the first two seasons of The Crown.

Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles

The Prince Charles-Princess Diana saga wouldn't be complete without Camilla Parker Bowles, played by Emerald Fennell in seasons three and four.

Erin Doherty as Princess Anne

Erin Doherty played Prince Philip's favorite child, Princess Anne, in seasons three and four.

Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong-Jones

Ben Daniels joined The Crown in season three to play Princess Margaret's ex husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Matthew Goode as Antony Armstrong-Jones

Matthew Goode became Antony Armstrong-Jones for season two of The Crown.

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher

It's not just the royals who are portrayed in The CrownGillian Anderson played Britain's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in season four.

John Lithgow as Winston Churchill

John Lithgow played one the most famous prime ministers, Winston Churchill, in season one.

Alex Jennings and Derek Jacobi as Edward, Duke of Windsor

The infamous Duke of Windsor made an appearance in seasons one through three, played at different times by Alex Jennings and Derek Jacobi.

Jared Harris as King George VI

In season one, Jared Harris played Queen Elizabeth II's beloved father, King George VI.

Greg Wise and Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten

Both Greg Wise and Charles Dance portrayed Louis, Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

(A version of this story originally published Aug. 7, 2021 at 6 p.m. PT)

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