Imelda Staunton admits starring in 'The Crown' left her 'inconsolable' over Queen's death

Imelda Staunton plays the Queen in The Crown. (Netflix)
Imelda Staunton plays the Queen in The Crown. (Netflix)

Imelda Staunton has admitted she was surprised at how much grief she felt over the Queen's death - and thinks it was so hard for her because she was playing the late monarch in The Crown at the time.

The Harry Potter and Downton Abbey star, 66, takes over the role of the Queen from Olivia Colman and Claire Foy in season five of the Netflix royal drama, due to begin streaming on 9 November.

Read more: Everything new streaming on Netflix in November

When she returned home from filming on set on 8 September to hear the news that the Queen had died, Staunton said she was “inconsolable” and that she had not expected to feel so devastated by her death.

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown S5. (Netflix)
Imelda Staunton says she felt a lot of grief over the Queen's death. (Netflix)

Staunton told Radio Times: “I was very glad I wasn’t due to be working the next day. They couldn’t have filmed on this face.

“The outpouring of grief took me by surprise and might not have been so acute for me had I not been playing her.”

Watch: Netflix adds 'fictional' disclaimer alongside The Crown's new trailer following backlash

Although Staunton has won a Bafta and Laurence Olivier Awards throughout her career, she said that the prospect of taking on the role for The Crown had been particularly daunting.

Read more: Netflix add disclaimer to The Crown trailer after Judi Dench criticism

She said: “I knew it was a very heavy baton that was being passed over, so I had to try and match what had gone before.

“I didn’t want to let the whole thing down. I had to get over the shock of doing it and the fear.”

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown S5. (Netflix)
Imelda Staunton takes over the role from Olivia Colman and Claire Foy. (Netflix)

Other cast joining for season five include Jonathan Pryce as the Queen's husband Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles, and Jonny Lee Miller as John Major.

Pryce, 75, said: “I already knew it was a really good series, as I’d watched it from the beginning – though I started off as a reluctant viewer.

“I’m not a monarchist, and I thought I would have very little interest in the royal family but my wife Kate and I decided to watch it. We got to the end of episode one, and we turned to each other and said, ‘Shall we watch another one?’. We just got hooked."

The Crown season five begins streaming on Netflix from 9 November.