Claire Foy Had No Problem Leaving Her Queen Elizabeth Role On The Crown In The Past

Actor Claire Foy transformed into Queen Elizabeth II for Netflix's series "The Crown." She played the monarch for the first two seasons and had a few special appearances in later seasons. Foy stepped back from the role when the story needed an older actor to portray the queen. Olivia Colman became her replacement for Seasons 3 and 4. Imelda Staunton played Queen Elizabeth for the final two seasons.

Foy knew from the beginning that she wouldn't be on "The Crown" the whole time. Prior to her exit, she appeared on "The Graham Norton Show" and explained why Season 2 was her last season. "We always knew it was only going to be two series," Foy said. "So I'm completely — from the beginning, it's always been what I've known, and that then the part is reincarnated and someone else goes on. That's the nature of the part." Graham Norton joked that it was like playing James Bond and got excited when Foy admitted she knew who was playing the queen next, although she refused to spoil that Colman snagged the role. 

"The Crown" ended its run in December 2023. Foy spoke to People around that time about her tenure on the show and said, "I've got a lot of love for the people who are still doing the show, but for my own sanity, I ended the show when I ended it. I let it go and moved on and I think that's quite healthy."

Foy was fine to leave 'The Crown' when she did, since it was 'a tough job'

Leaving "The Crown" wasn't something that Claire Foy was too disappointed about. At the 2017 BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, Foy was interviewed and spoke about how both she and Matt Smith (who played Prince Philip in the first two seasons) would be leaving "The Crown" after the second season. Foy said, "That's not a shock; we always knew when we signed up to it, and also not to be funny but it's also a real plus" (via Radio Times).

She went on to explain that the thought of being on the same show for seven years was a lot and added: "And this is a tough job, you know? It's long, a good nine-monther. And that's a lot of your life that you sign over to it." However, Foy wasn't parting from the show on bad terms. She said, "I'm going to miss it terribly. But I just can't wait to see where it goes, I just can't wait." After leaving "The Crown," Foy became a fan herself.

Another actor from 'The Crown' was ready to exit when her time came

In a Variety interview from 2022, Claire Foy said she'd started watching "The Crown" Season 5 on a plane and got to enjoy Imelda Staunton's performance as the next iteration of the monarch. "I'm really pleased I actually get to watch it," Foy said. She also told the outlet how she sent a text to Olivia Colman encouraging her to take the role of Queen Elizabeth. Foy added, "It was purely selfish. It made me feel such good things for my ego."

Like Foy, Colman was happy to be exiting "The Crown" when her two seasons were done. During a virtual talk with the Mountview Academy of Theatre arts, Colman discussed the difficulties of playing a real figure like the queen.

"Because behind closed doors, we don't know what she's like," Colman said. "I had a little bit of play with that. But definitely ... the hardest part I've done is someone who's real. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm quite pleased now to be able to move on to something else" (via Radio Times). However, Colman did say she liked the two years of job security that came with being on "The Crown."