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A representative for The Crown has strongly denied reports that producers are having difficulty finding anyone to play controversial royal Prince Andrew for the fifth and sixth seasons of the hit Netflix drama.
Season five is set to start shooting in June, and the show has so far lined up Imelda Staunton to take the throne from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth, Jonathan Pryce to succeed Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville to take over from Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, and Elizabeth Debicki to replace Emma Corin as Princess Diana. Dominic West is reportedly set to swap with Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, although this is yet to be formally announced.
As yet, no name has emerged for Andrew (played by Tom Byrne in season four), with reports appearing in the U.K. press that the casting team was “struggling” to find anyone to play the unpopular royal, whose reputation plummeted after his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein came to light, followed by a car-crash interview he gave to the BBC in 2019.
The role was also seen on casting website Spotlight, advertised as a “very good role” for an actor in his mid-30s to early-40s. Although Prince Andrew was mostly a peripheral figure in season four of The Crown, season five will likely cover his failed marriage to Sarah Ferguson, which ended in divorce in 1996.
However, a representative for The Crown has vehemently denied that there’s any issue casting the prince. “There is absolutely no struggle to cast any role for season five of The Crown, and it is normal practice for productions to advertise in Spotlight,” the rep told The Hollywood Reporter.
Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties following an interview with BBC Newsnight in which he tried to explain his relationship with Epstein. The interview — branded “disastrous” and “excruciating” — came about after Virginia Roberts (now named Virginia Giuffre) made claims that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew three times between 2001 and 2002 at the age of 17. Andrew denied the allegations and said that at the time of one of the occasions it was reported to have happened, he had taken his daughter, Princess Beatrice, to a party at restaurant chain Pizza Express.
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