How The New Crown Season 3 Cast Compares To The Real Royals

Netflix’s The Crown doesn’t mean to be gimmicky, but it’s still got a gimmick. In order to show Queen Elizabeth’s rise through the monarchy in England — from literally beginning to end — it’d be impossible to have just one actress play her through all of the six planned seasons (that would require so much prosthetic makeup!). So, instead, the cast of The Crown is just replaced, in entirety, every two seasons. 

It sounds harsh, but it’s not at all. Instead, it’s a thrilling way for all of us to see many different actresses take on one iconic figure. Claire Foy won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her portrayal of Elizabeth from the 1940s to the 1960s, and now we’re going to be treated to the near-perfect Olivia Colman as she steps into the role and the literal crown.  And that’s not all! 

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For season 3 of the series, every single real-life character (except for
John Lithgow, who reprises his role as Prime Minister Winston Churchill) has a brand new look to them, but it’s not like we’re being introduced to brand new characters. At their core, they’re still the same royal figures just with a new twist. Plus, you'd better get used to this change-up every two years, because it’s going to happen every two seasons on the show until it’s done. 

So if you’re trying to figure out who’s now playing who on the show, here’s what you need to know about the brand new The Crown cast.

Photo: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

The Real Queen Elizabeth


Born in April 1926, Queen Elizabeth II is currently the longest living monarch, after becoming queen in 1952 after the death of her father (which we saw during the first season of The Crown). She has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. At age 93 she has no plans to abdicate the throne, and yes, preparations for her death and subsequent funeral have been in plans for years.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth In Season 1 & 2


Foy has been steadily acting for the past decade, but it was her role as a young Queen Elizabeth that really put her on the map. With a handful of awards for her portrayal of the iconic figure, she went on to host Saturday Night Live and snag a part in Damien Chazelle’s First Man and Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo reboot.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Olivia Colman Plays Queen Elizabeth In Season 3 & 4


We’ve been bowing down to Colman for a while now, and this is not the first time she’s played royalty. In 2018 she won an Oscar for her role in The Favorite as Queen Anne, and even played the Queen Mother in Hyde Park on Hudson. She also won us over with her role as Godmother in Fleabag and in the original series Broadchurch.
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Photo: RDB/ullstein bild/Getty Images.

The Real Prince Philipp


Philipp joined the British Royal Navy at age 18, and reached the rank of commander in 1952, when he then left the service after Elizabeth was made queen. He actually “retired” from Royal service back it 2017, at the age of 96, after having completed over 22,00 solo royal engagements since 1952.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Matt Smith Plays Prince Philipp In Season 1 & 2


If you’re a Doctor Who fan, Smith looks very familiar. He played the Eleventh Doctor for three seasons and has appeared in the subsequent Doctor Who specials, and a handful of Doctor Who video games. Up next he’s got a role in one of Sony’s Spider-Man spin-offs.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Tobias Menzies Plays Prince Philipp in Season 3 & 4


Menzies might have made you say “oh, him?” earlier this year as he popped up again as the seemingly long-lost Edmure Tully on Game of Thrones to make a bid for the Throne (he lost). You also might recognize him as Frank/Jonathan Randall on Outlander. He also played Liam in the Black Mirror episode, “The Waldo Moment.”
Photo: Mike Lawn/Fox Photos/Getty Images.

The Real Princess Margaret


Elizabeth’s younger sister, she became the “wild” one of the two and fostered an interesting public appearance — especially for a royal at the time. She was involved with many men (including some divorces, which was frowned upon by the crown), and went through a divorce herself. She passed away in 2002 leaving two children behind, David and Sarah.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Vanessa Kirby Plays Princess Margaret In Season 1 & 2


Kirby went from crowns to kicking ass, as she’s a newly certified action star after appearing in Mission: Impossible - Fallout and also Hobbs and Shaw. She also appeared in Jupiter Ascending and About Time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Helena Bonham Carter Plays Princess Margaret In Season 3 & 4


Carter has had so many roles across so many different genres you’ve definitely come across her before. She’s appeared in Fight Club, Big Fish, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Ocean’s 8, and played Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series.
Photo: Central Press/Getty Images.

The Real Antony Armstrong-Jones


A photographer who married Princess Margaret (though they later divorced). Their marriage was never one for longevity, as both liked to party and had outside affairs. But, even after the relationship ended Armstrong-Jones continued to work as an artist, and became the artistic advisor of The Sunday Times Magazine
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Matthew Goode Plays Antony Armstrong-Jones In Season 1 & 2


Goode recently appeared in the Downton Abbey movie (and series) as Henry Talbot, and had a role on The Good Wife for two seasons. But we might all remember him as Mandy Moore’s love interest in Chasing Liberty.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Ben Daniels Plays Antony Armstrong-Jones In Season 3 & 4


Daniels played Claire Underwood’s early-season love interest on House of Cards, and also recently played General Antoc Merrick in Rogue One. He also starred in the U.K.’s version of Law and Order, called Law & Order: UK, for four seasons.
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

The Real Prince Charles


As the oldest daughter of Elizabeth and Philipp, one day Charles will be king. In the meantime, big congrats to him because at age 70 he’s now writing personal messages on Clarence House’s Instagram. If you grew up in the 1990s you already know his personal drama with his divorce from Princess Diana and new relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles (he’s now married to the latter). Charles is also the father to William and Harry — safe to assume you know both of those names.
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Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Josh O'Connor Plays Prince Charles On The Crown


You might have seen O’Connor as Marius on the BBC’s recent adaptation of Les Misérables, and he’s also appeared on Ripper Street, Peaky Blinders, and Doctor Who.
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

The Real Princess Anne


The second child (and only daughter) of Elizabeth and Philipp. She was the first member of the Royal family to go to the Olympics, where she competed in 1976 in Eventing (it’s an equestrian event). She’s been married twice and has two children from her first marriage.
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Erin Doherty Plays Princess Anne On The Crown


The Crown is Doherty’s first major credit to her name, but she did appear in the BBC’s adaptation of Les Les Misérables playing Fabienne and on Call the Midwife.

Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images.

The Real Camilla Parker Bowles


Before Princess Diana, Prince Charles was romantically linked to Camilla. The two met in the mid-1970s, but the royal family didn’t think that Camilla was a good fit for Charles or a good fit for the royal family. She later went on to have a 20-year marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles, though she continued an affair with Charles on and off. 
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Emerald Fennell Plays Camilla Parker Bowles On The Crown


Fennell played Patsy on three seasons of Call the Midwife and also had roles in Pan, The Danish Girl, and the recent adaptation of Anna Karenina.

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