The Crown season 5 exclusive: Imelda Staunton, the Queen Mother and Prince Andrew's toegate - Secrets from the Set

We talk exclusively to Marcia Warren, Claudia Harrison and James Murray about life on the set of Netflix’s The Crown as it returns for season 5.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 17 November 2022 - 4.39pm

The Crown season 5 is streaming now on Netflix and the royal family drama has reached the 90s – a decade dominated by Diana, divorces and scandal.

BT TV spoke exclusively with three of The Crown’s new cast; Marcia Warren, who plays The Queen Mother, Claudia Harrison, who replaces Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, and James Murray, who has the challenge of playing Prince Andrew.

Watch our video interview with The Crown cast above to find out set secrets from the new series.

The magic of Imelda Staunton as The Queen

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 5 Netflix

The trio all have individual scenes with the latest actress to play Queen Elizabeth, Imelda Staunton. All three had long discussions with Staunton about the "emotional landscape" of the family in the show but also say how much fun it was working with the Oscar-nominated actress.

"She is amazing. She is so professional," said Warren. "She is a hilarious person and there she is, this darling girl in her fatsuit being dignified. It's glorious."

Murray added: "She makes it fun. She has got such a wit and charm. An impish quality. And she’s at the top of her game. To be in the ring with her as an actor is such a joy and privilege."

One scene Murray did enjoy with Staunton was when Prince Andrew has to speak to his mother about tabloid revelations concerning his then wife Sarah Ferguson – and the infamous 'toegate' photographs.

"We had to try not to corpse," he admitted. "[Writer] Peter [Morgan] has built in the shorthand with her alleged favourite Andrew and that was underneath it. So we struggled in the best sense because it was such fun to play."

The Crown's best ever episodes

Empathy and admiration for the royals 

Marcia Warren as The Queen Mother, Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne and James Murray as Prince Andrew Netflix

As a self-proclaimed "staunch royalist", Marcia Warren didn’t have anywhere to go when it came to finding sympathy and affection for the Royal Family.

But Claudia Harrison, who plays the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, said that it was important for all the cast to find a way to empathise with their characters.

"You can't play a character as an actor if you judge them," she said. "You have to find their motivations and empathise. All actors have an excess of empathy and that’s what we put into play here."

Where is The Crown filmed?

The cast of The Crown season 5 in Netflix Netflix
The cast of The Crown at the season 5 premiere

James Murray added: "By virtue of all the research material we have available to us, you just learn so much about them as people. The more you know about them and what they go through day to day, whether you are a monarchist or not, you start to have an admiration for them as human beings.

"What they have to give and what they have to sacrifice is unparalleled."

Talking about Princess Anne, Harrison said she could easily find parallels with her own life as a mum, when she discovered the many plates that the princess constantly juggled.

"She is extraordinary. I have a biography and it shows her schedule. 400 engagements a year, 300 charities, 36 sporting roles and chancellorships and they all say she took a working role," said Harrison.

"Two children. A working farm. Dogs, chickens. It is a full, full life. As a working mum myself, that was my way into her."

The Crown season 5: Review