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Netflix’s The Crown paid its queen less than its prince

Claire Foy was the star of the show, but her paycheck didn’t reflect that.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Apparently, not even the queen is immune to the gender wage gap.

The executive producers of The Crown, Netflix’s gilded drama about the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, told an audience at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem that Claire Foy, who portrays the queen, was paid less for her work on the series than Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip on the show. Variety reports:

Asked whether Foy was paid the same as Smith, the producers acknowledged that he did make more due to his “Doctor Who” fame, but that they would rectify that for the future.

How much more Smith was paid than Foy is unclear, but Foy reportedly made $40,000 per episode, according to a 2017 Variety report.

When The Crown premiered in 2016, Smith was the more recognizable star thanks to his 2010-2013 tenure as the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who. That sort of clout comes into play when negotiating a contract, so the pay discrepancy between Smith and Foy before the show premiered isn’t that surprising. But considering Foy’s Queen Elizabeth is the anchor and driving force of the show, it’s baffling that Smith would still be paid more than her in the second season.

Foy’s performance in The Crown has garnered her a BAFTA nomination for the Best Leading Actress on Television, two Golden Globe nominations (and one win) for Best Actress — Television Drama series, an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and four Screen Actors Guild nominations, with two wins as the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.

Suzanne Mackie, one of the show’s producers, did assure the audience that the discrepancy will be resolved in the show’s third season. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” she said.

Foy, however, will not be able to cash in on that promise: The series is replacing its leads for season three, when Olivia Colman will step into the role of Queen Elizabeth II.

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