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Claire Foy says she ‘didn’t deserve’ success of The Crown

The Crown star Claire Foy (Ian West/PA)
The Crown star Claire Foy (Ian West/PA)

The Crown star Claire Foy has said she was “uncomfortable” with the success of the Netflix show as she did not feel she deserved it.

The Briton starred as the Queen in the hit drama, and won the Emmy for lead actress in 2018.

Foy took the lead role before Olivia Colman took over for a later time period in season three.

Speaking about The Crown’s success on the podcast Reign with Josh Smith, Foy said: “I think it makes me feel uncomfortable, is what I’ve learned.

“Not that going to the parties and lovely people being really nice to you is amazing and is wonderful for people to enjoy things that you’ve done, but I felt uncomfortable with it because I basically, fundamentally didn’t think I deserved it.

“So that’s no fun, is it? That’s not nice because basically you just feel like it’s even more hollow, I suppose.”

The 37-year-old said she wished she had been able to enjoy it more, adding: “But I don’t think, in all honesty, I don’t think I ever would’ve done. I think I just don’t know whether that’s necessarily in my character.

“Success in the way that I’ve had it, which is because people say that something you have done has been worthwhile, is very difficult unless you think it’s been worthwhile, then it’s not really a success.

“It’s just a very confusing sequence of award shows where you can’t really feel like you’re there and also it’s transient, especially in my industry – you know, it’s over before it’s begun.”

Speaking about suffering a mental breakdown, Foy added that opening up to friends “changed my life”.

“I basically was one of those people who was very much – I think it’s a lot to do with my upbringing – like I don’t need help. I can sort it out myself. It’s not that big of a problem.

“In my mid-20s, I sort of had a breakdown, and I remember my sister saying, ‘I can’t help you. You need to see someone professional’.

“That was the first time that I sort of went, ‘the problem is bigger than me being able to figure it out’.

“But for me, definitely in my early 30s to now, the thing has been opening up to people like my friends.

“I know it sounds silly but I had never really understood that love and protection was by being honest and being awful, like showing your worst side of yourself and then having someone go, ‘oh yeah, me too’.”

Foy is currently starring in A Very British Scandal, about the Duchess of Argyll’s high-profile divorce in the 1960s, playing the duchess Margaret Campbell, who was famed for her charisma, beauty and style.

A Very British Scandal
The actress stars in A Very British Scandal, about the Duchess of Argyll’s high-profile divorce in the 1960s (Nick Wall/BBC/PA)

The programme comes from the team behind the BBC’s A Very English Scandal, which starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw as politician Jeremy Thorpe and his lover Norman Scott.

She said: “A lot of the stuff couldn’t be put in the show, actually, because it’s about real people.

“There’s this whole legal framework when you’re doing something like that, and so much about her life and their life together was so extreme and out of the ordinary that actually a lot of it couldn’t end up being in the show.

“There were certain things that happened when we were shooting where people were talking to me about the character in a position of judgment, or they were articulating her behaviour calling her a ‘dirty duchess’ or ‘she’s so naughty’.

“I was nervous about it coming out over whether the focus would be on the fact that it was famously about her performing a sex act on a man and that was the thing that lost her the divorce.

“I found that quite dispiriting and I was always challenging, basically, people to reframe the way that they thought about her.”

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