Everyone watches The Crown. Okay, not everyone, but it feels like it—it’s said that over 29 million people watched season four. Previously, 73 million people in total tuned in to seasons one through three. Why? Part of it is the acting—so far, it’s been nominated for 39 Emmys and won 10. Part if it is the lavish visuals—rumor has it that The Crown is the most expensive show ever made for the streaming service. But part of it is also delicate balance of dramatizing the British royal family’s private lives while, at the same time, refusing to stray far from real-life events. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we’re insatiably interested by literal palace intrigue.
Recently, Netflix released their first picture of Elizabeth Debicki playing Princess Diana—sending the internet into a tizzy over their uncanny resemblance. It’s par for the course: Throughout its multiple seasons, the creators of The Crown have taken great care in casting talent that captures the complicated essence of their royal personas. Claire Foy, for example, was critically lauded for her reserved, poised portrayal of a coming-of-age Queen Elizabeth. Meanwhile Josh O’Connor mastered the aristocratic manner of Prince Charles in seasons three and four.
Below, we’ve chronicled a master list of the cast compared to their real-life counterparts, from season one all the way to season six.
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II (Seasons 1 and 2)
When she became queen at just 25 years old, Queen Elizabeth II was seen by many as the new modern face of the monarchy. And while we now picture her as a sweet old monarch with a regal white coif and a fabulous collection of hats, it turns out she was once kind of a babe. Claire Foy played the queen in the first two seasons of the show.