Claire Foy says she was ‘very upset’ when she learnt The Crown was paying Matt Smith more than her

Claire Foy has said she was “very upset” when she discovered she had earned less than Matt Smith on The Crown.

In the first two seasons of the hit Netflix royal drama, Foy starred as the series lead, Queen Elizabeth II, and featured in almost every scene.

Smith’s role, as Prince Philip, was signifcantly smaller. However, in 2018 it emerged that the former Doctor Who star had been paid more for his work on the series than Foy.

Speaking to The Guardian, Foy described her reaction at the time, revealing that the news reports were “the first I’d heard about it”.

“I wasn’t shocked. I was very upset. Not like, boohoo, crying upset. I was very upset,” she said. “I don’t think I allowed myself to [express anger].”

“I really love my industry, and I think it is made up of lots of honourable, incredibly talented, brilliant, imaginative, amazing people,” she continued. “[But] sometimes, you see something, you hear something, you notice something, or something happens to you, and you just go, ‘Oh God, what am I doing? Why am I doing it? Should I be part of this?’ I found it really heartbreaking.”

Production company Left Bank Pictures took sole responsibility for the pay discrepancy at the time.

Foy also recalled being “encouraged by certain people” to be a “spokesperson” over the scandal.

“I was like, ‘Absolutely f***ing not’,” she said. “I just think everybody wanted me to behave in a certain way, in response to it. And I didn’t.

Matt Smith as Philip with Claire Foy’s Queen (Netflix)
Matt Smith as Philip with Claire Foy’s Queen (Netflix)

“‘It’s fine! It’s absolutely fine what happened!’ That’s what I think they wanted me to say. I mean, it’s so hard. I don’t think I should be honest about certain things about it, because I don’t think it would be helpful. It would add more fuel to it. We’re still talking about this, however many years down the line. I know the extent of it. I still went back on the show. If anything, I just didn’t want my experience of the show and what we all did on it to be overshadowed.”

Foy returned to The Crown to make a small appearance in a flashback during the show’s fifth season.

The Crown is available to stream on Netflix now.