Season two of Netflix's The Crown introduced plenty of new real-life figures, including Princess Margaret's photographer husband, Tony Armstrong-Jones, the Kennedys, and a Lord who would forever change the way Queen Elizabeth delivered her annual Christmas message. See what 30 actors and actresses from The Crown look like side-by-side with the actual people they played. You might just find yourself seeing double on more than one occasion.
Claire Foy plays Queen Elizabeth II in the first two season of The Crown. From perfecting The Queen's accent to mirroring real-life fashion and political moments (like this dance with Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah during a royal visit in 1961), Foy has captured the essence of the monarch with grace and strength. Moving forward, Foy will be replaced by Broadchurch and The Night Manager actress Olivia Colman, who will play Elizabeth in her 50s starting in season three.
When it comes to playing Prince Philip, Matt Smith (of Doctor Who fame), can thank his own height: they both stand at a regal 6 feet. While he's met Prince Harry twice in real life, ("He's too cool. He's too cool for school"). Perhaps there will be time for that royal meeting in 2018: Smith will be replaced by a different actor as the show moves to another era, while the Duke of Edinburgh will continue to enjoy .
Played by English actress Victoria Hamilton, whose résumé includes episodes of Pride & Prejudice (the BBC one with Colin Firth) and Call the Midwife, The Queen Mother was a constant rock for Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and beyond. In real life, The Queen Mother, who was the longest-lived member of the British royal family (and always one of the more popular royals), lived until the age of 101. She died in her sleep on March 30, 2002, just weeks after the passing of Princess Margaret.
Perhaps best known for playing Lane Pryce on Mad Men, Jared Harris was the face of Elizabeth's father, King George VI, on season one of The Crown (along with a season two flashback episode). George VI's reign famously began in 1936 when his brother Edward abdicated the throne and married American socialite and divorcée Wallis Simpson. In 1952, following the stresses of World War I and a long battle with lung cancer and other illnesses, The King died in his sleep at the age of 56 while the future Queen Elizabeth was on an official royal tour of Australia and Kenya.
Vanessa Kirby plays Princess Margaret, whose love life provided two key storylines on both seasons of The Crown. Following her doomed relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend, which was forbidden by the Church of England given Townsend's status as a divorcée, Margaret fell in love with photographer Tony Armstrong-Jones. Their wedding at Westminster Abbey in 1960 was the first royal wedding to be televised.
Played by English actor Ben Miles, Peter Townsend led a rather impressive professional life as an officer with the Royal Air Force. For nearly 10 years, he was also a royal equerry for the British royal family, serving under both King George VI and the Queen Mother. His personal life was another story: As shown on season one of The Crown, Townsend divorced his first wife, proposed to Princess Margaret, and was sent to serve as air attaché in Brussels in the mid-1950s, shortly after the proposal. On season two, Townsend is shown writing a letter to Margaret to announce his engagement to a young Belgian woman. That woman would be Marie-Luce Jamagne, with whom Townsend would have one daughter.
Where does actor Matthew Goode end and the real Tony Armstrong-Jones begin? The made history when he became the first commoner in 400 years to marry into the royal family. During their nearly twenty years of marriage, Margaret and Armstrong-Jones (who later became the 1st Earl of Snowdon), tended to their two children and endured endless headlines about their infidelity (on both sides), all while attempting to live their best lives in the most unconventional of settings. Following their divorce, Armstrong-Jones continued to maintain a professional relationship with the royal family, photographing Queen Elizabeth, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Princess Diana over the years. His non-royal subjects were just as impressive: Elizabeth Taylor, David Bowie, Laurence Olivier, and J.R.R. Tolkien all posed for Snowdon at one point or another.
On season two of The Crown, Alice Hewkin plays Jacqui Chan, an actress and dancer who dated Tony Armstrong-Jones for years. According to Armstrong-Jones's biographer, , Chan was "Tony's first real love" and was even invited to his and Princess Margaret's wedding. The scene of Chan getting ready for the wedding while staring at an old photograph of her and Armstrong-Jones in episode seven, "Matrimonium," is both chilling and emotional, a far cry from the steamier and intense moments she shares with Armstrong-Jones earlier in the episode.
If the eyes or cheekbones of The Crown's version of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, look familiar, that's because Greg Wise played Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility, which also starred the great Emma Thompson, Wise's wife of nearly 15 years. In real life (and as shown on The Crown), Prince Philip's uncle "Dickie" became a great mentor for Philip and Queen Elizabeth's son, Prince Charles. Tragically, the mentorship ended in 1979 when Mountbatten and members of his family were assassinated by the Provisional IRA while the group went fishing in Ireland. Mountbatten received a ceremonial funeral at Westminster Abbey, which included a reading from Prince Charles.
German actress Leonie Beseech plays Prince Philip's older sister, Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark. As shown on The Crown season two episode nine, "Paterfamilias," Cecilie, her husband, their two children, and her mother-in-law were killed in a plane crash in 1937 when the group set off from Germany to attend a family wedding in London. Cecilie was eight months pregnant at the time of the crash.
Fun fact: English actor Alex Jennings played Prince Charles in The Queen starring Dame Helen Mirren. On The Crown, Jennings is equally excellent as David, Duke of Windsor, who famously abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry his American lover Wallis Simpson. It was a risky and scandalous move, but one that was probably worth it: the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were married for 35 years until the Duke's death in 1972.
"I thought he was ahead of his time. I thought he had pep. I thought he wanted to establish things that the world was not ready for," Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, . Thirty-two years prior, the American socialite and divorcée's relationship with King Edward VIII changed the British royal family forever, when Edward abdicated the throne to be with Wallis, paving the way for King George VI and later, Queen Elizabeth II. Together, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (played by English actress Lia Williams on The Crown) lived a life of leisure, tending to their many pugs (see next slide) and dinner parties all over the world. Simpson died in 1986, some 14 years after the Duke of Windsor's death.
Between the many pug pillows and the pugs themselves, The Crown has not been shy when it comes to the best detail about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's life of luxury. Over the years, the couple's grumble of pugs included Disraeli, Davey Crockett, Black Diamond, Imp, Ginseng, and arguably the cutest one of them all, Trooper, whose birthday is featured on season two episode six, "Vergangenheit." Sure, the episode's more serious matter focuses on the Duke of Windsor allegedly being a Nazi sympathizer, but look at those pug faces!
Season two of The Crown follows the events surrounding the royal family for about 6 years but that's not a problem for Lyla Barret-Rye, who plays Princess Anne ages 7 to 13. IRL, Princess Anne has been one of the more philanthropic members of the royal family, serving as patron for more than 200 organizations including Save the Children, St. Andrew's First Aid, and the Royal National Children's Foundation. Since 1987, Anne has held the title of Princess Royal, given by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. Princess Charlotte will likely be the next to receive this title as the eldest daughter of Prince William, who is second in line to the British royal throne after his father Charles.
One of the more emotional episodes of season two is "Paterfamilias," which follows Prince Charles's first days of boarding school in Scotland at the insistence of his father, who attended the same school years earlier. Played by young Julian Baring, TV Charles struggles with the physical demands of Gordonstoun, which real-life Charles later described as a "."
German film legend Burghart Klaussner plays Kurt Hahn, a progressive educator who founded Gordonstoun in 1934 after fleeing from Nazi Germany. Over the years, Gordonstoun educated a number of royals including Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Charles's niece Zara Phillips. (The school opened its doors to women in 1972.) Gordonstoun's non-royal alumni includes Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter Oona Chaplin (Talisa in Game of Thrones), Sean Connery's son Jason Connery, David Bowe's son Duncan Jones, and actor Balthazar Getty.
John Lithgow's version of Sir Winston Churchill, the first Prime Minister to rule under Queen Elizabeth II's monarchy, was so spot on that the actor earned a Golden Globe nomination in 2017 for his work on season one. From Churchill's bowtie collection to his love of a good bath, to the way he carried himself during private audience sessions with The Queen, Lithgow embodied meaningful and signature elements of the Prime Minister, who resigned in 1955 after suffering a stroke during his second term.
Actor Jeremy Northam's résumé includes the movies Gosford Park, Amistad, Emma, and the TV show The Tudors. As Prime Minister Anthony Eden on The Crown, Churchill's foreign secretary turned successor, Northam has everything from his facial hair to his ignorance during the Suez Crisis down to a science. Eden was Prime Minister for less than two years before resigning due to health concerns, among other factors. He was succeeded by Harold Macmillan.
You might know Anton Lesser as Qyburn, the former maester who wears oversized robes, gives life to dead things, and works for Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones. As Harold Macmillan, Queen Elizabeth's third prime minister, Lesser is a more gentle soul ... perhaps too gentle. In real life, Macmillan's marriage to Dorothy Cavendish was plagued by her lifelong affair with Robert Boothby, also a politician.
Played by Sylvestra Le Touzel, Lady Dorothy Cavendish married future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1920 after meeting him through her father's work. The couple had four children together and had a marriage that lasted 46 years (until her death in 1966), despite Dorothy's ongoing affair with Robert Boothby, which is referenced on season two of The Crown.
Paul Sparks is Billy Graham, the American evangelist whose sermons, which were widely broadcasted on TV and radio, eventually caught the attention of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1997, Graham , "No one in Britain has been more cordial toward us than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Almost every occasion I have been with her has been in a warm, informal setting, such as a luncheon or dinner, either alone or with a few family members or other close friends."
Commander Mike Parker is portrayed by actor Daniel Ings. In real life, Parker served as Prince Philip's equerry for nearly a decade and was present for the Duke of Edinburgh's five-month tour on the Britannia in 1956, which is prominently featured on season two of The Crown. In wake of his divorce from Eileen Parker (see next slide), Parker was forced to resign from his role.
Played by Scottish actress Chloe Pirrie (who you might recognize from the 2013 episode of Black Mirror, "The Waldo Moment"), Eileen Parker rocked the boat that is Buckingham Palace when her request for divorce led to Michael Parker's resignation, which led to a wave of rumors about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's marriage. When she was granted the divorce in 1958 on the grounds of adultery, Parker , "I am very glad it's all over. I now hope to disappear from the public eye and live quietly." Twenty-five years later, Parker would publish a tell-all memoir, Step Aside for Royalty, which has since gone out of print.
Michael Adeane (portrayed by Will Keen) began his tenure at Buckingham Palace in 1945 when he served as the Assistant Private Secretary to Elizabeth's father, King George VI. Not long after the King's death, Adeane was promoted to Private Secretary under the new monarch, Queen Elizabeth. He would hold the same position for the next 20 years. In 1979, Adeane's son followed his father's footsteps and began a 6-year run as Prince Charles's Private Secretary.
Legendary British actor Pip Torrens plays Alan "Tommy" Lascelles, who served as Secretary to the Governor General of Canada before working for three different monarchs: George V, Edward VIII, and George VI in the '30s and '40s. Between King George VI's death and Michael Adeane's promotion, Lascelles served as Queen Elizabeth's Private Secretary for the better part of a year.
If this face looks familiar, chances are you've seen Downton Abbey and are very familiar with Bertie Pelham, Lady Edith's husband. Meet actor Harry Hadden Paton, who plays Martin Charteris on The Crown. For 20 years, Charteris worked as Assistant Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II (under Michael Adeane), before being promoted to Private Secretary (when Adeane retired).
John Heffernan plays John Grigg, formerly Lord Altrincham, the writer who boldly criticized Queen Elizabeth II in the mid-1950s and recommended reforms the monarch actually carried out, including televising the annual Christmas message for the first time in 1957.
Is Yara Greyjoy from Game of Thrones still alive? Unclear. But the actress who plays her, Gemma Whelan, is up and walking as Patricia Campbell on season two of The Crown. On the show, Campbell only exists as her editor Lord Altrincham's typist and secretary (and dentist appointment companion), but in real life, the two actually fell in love, got married, and adopted two children together.
Michael C. Hall of Six Feet Under and Dexter fame plays John F. Kennedy. Regardless of your feelings about Hall's JFK accent, you've got to hand it to Netflix for trying to replicate the President's famous style, from his near-perfect hair to his freshly-pressed tux.
What's it like to have dinner at Buckingham Palace when you're practically royalty yourself? Look no further than Jackie O, who visited Queen Elizabeth II for dinner at Buckingham Palace with JFK shortly after his inauguration in 1961. On The Crown, Jackie O is played by South African actress Jodi Balfour.