'The Crown' Will Embrace Salary Parity After Star Claire Foy Earned Less Than Matt Smith

The Crown Season 2 - Publicity 10 - H 2017
Courtesy of Netflix

The Queen will be getting a royal raise going forward on Netflix's The Crown.

Appearing Tuesday at a conference in Israel, producers revealed that star Claire Foy earned less than male co-star Matt Smith for the first two seasons of the Netflix hit.  

Foy played Queen Elizabeth in the drama from showrunner Peter Morgan, Sony Pictures Television Studios and Left Bank and earned a Golden Globe, SAG Award and Emmy nomination, among other accolades, for the part. Smith came into The Crown — on which he played Prince Philip for two seasons — with considerably more experience after having spent three seasons starring as The Doctor on Doctor Who. 

“Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Left Bank creative director and executive producer Suzanne Mackie said at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. Mackie acknowledged that Smith's experience on Doctor Who fueled the salary disparity.

The Crown chronicles Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the present day. New actors are being brought in to take over Foy and Smith's roles, among others, for the previously announced third and fourth seasons, with those parts being recast for what is expected to be a fifth and sixth season. Olivia Colman (Golden Globe winner for AMC's The Night Manager) will take over for Foy as Queen Elizabeth, while the new Prince Philip has yet to be cast. Helena Bonham Carter takes over for Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret as new characters — including Princess Diana — will be introduced.

Salary parity has become a larger part of the conversation as the Time's Up movement continues to gather steam, emboldening women to speak up about subjects, like money, that were once considered taboo. Among the recent examples is that of Mark Wahlberg and his All the Money in the World co-star Michelle Williams, whose reshoot earnings disparity led to an uproar when it was first reported by USA Today and later tweeted about by actresses including Jessica Chastain. That incident came just days after the Golden Globes, where pay equity had become a red-carpet rallying cry.

Pay discrepancies have also been in focus in the U.K. — where The Crown is shot — after recent revelations that male presenters at the BBC were paid substantially more than female ones. That led to the resignation of one prominent BBC editor, Carrie Gracie, who was BBC's China editor.

Scott Roxborough contributed reporting to this story.