Claire Foy and Matt Smith, who play Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in period drama “The Crown,” aren’t keen on the prospect of wearing prosthetics to play older versions of their characters. (Nov. 22)
INVERNESS, Scotland — At the entrance to the Ardverikie Estate in Scotland, they’re awaiting the arrival of The Queen.
A pipe-and-drum marching band in tartan kilts is on hand to “pipe her in,” but the 100 or so assembled extras in heavy coats and Mary Jane shoes — as well as the film crew and video village by the roadside — are the giveaways.
The queen that’s coming is Claire Foy, filming the second season of Netflix’s The Crown. Ardverikie doubles as Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II’s holiday estate. Still, take away the cameras and the walkie-talkies and it could easily be 1957. As a vintage Bentley rounds the corner and starts up the drive, the crowds stare and cheer. They gawk in the window to see Foy, in a light blue suit, and Matt Smith, who plays her husband, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, next to her. At the sound of cheering, Foy smiles reservedly and responds with her version of probably the most famous wave in history.
But it’s not quite the same wave we saw in Season 1.
“Yes, it’s evolved. It used to be more like this,” she says in an interview, offering up a limper, more unsure waft, “but now it’s like … this.” She gives an assured, whole-forearm wave, very much the one you’ve seen the real queen give to crowds the world over for the last 50-plus years. Then she compares one wave with the other and laughs.
“It’s a ridiculous program, isn’t it? Because we’re pretending to be the royal family. Every moment is a slightly out-of-body experience.”
The new season will see Foy’s Queen Elizabeth begin to resemble the monarch that we know, with the hair and the handbags and the conservative-but-practical outfits that have morphed into a uniform.
“We take up where we left off at the end of Season 1, in 1956, and go through to 1964. In that time, I think she worked out her role and her duties. Like any job, she worked out how to do it. You realize if you set your hair a…