The Crown’s Claire Foy speaks out about “upsetting” gender pay gap

Despite leading the series as The Queen, Claire Foy was paid less than her male co-star, Matt Smith.
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Despite commencing her acting career in 2008, Claire Foy garnered international fame in 2016 after starring as young Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown. Winning numerous awards for her portrayal, it was not until two years later that Foy started to amass further attention for less positive reasons.

WATCH: The royals pass by Claire Foy at the BAFTAS. Article continues after video.

At a TV industry discussion panel in 2018, an executive from The Crown’s production company, Left Bank Pictures, revealed that Matt Smith (Prince Phillip) was paid more than Foy herself. Considering Foy was the lead, the series quickly made headlines for fostering an environment of unequal pay.

Matt Smith, who played Prince Phillip, was paid more than Foy. (Credit: Getty)

From that point onwards, a media frenzy ensued. Left Bank Pictures was under fire and Smith and Foy were thrown into the centre of it.

Having first commented on how “odd” it was to be seen as ‘the face’ for gender pay inequalities, Foy spoke to The Guardian in February 2023 about her present attitude towards the issue.

“I wasn’t shocked. I was very upset. Not like, boohoo, crying upset. I was very upset.”

“Suddenly I was getting asked all these questions and being encouraged by certain people involved to be the spokesperson for it. I was like, ‘Absolutely f**king not,” she continued, according to The Guardian.

“I wasn’t shocked. I was very upset.” (Credit: Getty)

Since the debacle, the show’s creative director Suzanne Mackie spoke at a press conference and said, “Going forward, no one gets paid more than The Queen.”

With this conversation brought to light, Foy says the situation has had an overall positive effect on the pay gap conversation. While she doesn’t want it to be the focus of her time on the show, it brings to light the need for progression – across all industries.

“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,” she said to The Guardian.

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