TV’s Prince Philip is weighing in about the pay gap controversy on The Crown.
News broke in March that Smith, who played Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, earned more than Claire Foy, who played The Crown‘s titular monarch, for the two seasons they worked together on the Netflix series. While promoting his new film Mapplethorpe at the Tribeca Film Festival, Smith commented on the situation.
“Claire is one of my best friends, and I believe that we should be paid equally and fairly and there should be equality for all,” Smith told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday. “I support her completely, and I’m pleased that it was resolved and they made amends for it because that what’s needed to happen. Going forward, I think we should all bear in mind that we need to strive to make this better and a more even playing field for everyone involved — but not just in our industry, in all industries.”
As noted by THR, it’s unclear what Smith means by “resolved” and “made amends.” There’s been no word that Foy was compensated after the fact, but an executive at Left Bank Pictures, the production company behind The Crown, previously stated that “Going forward, no one will be paid more than the queen.” (The role will be played by actress Olivia Coleman in the next season, with Outlander actor Tobias Menzies playing Philip.)
A representative for Left Bank did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Left Bank producers had cited Smith’s visibility as a former Doctor on Doctor Who as part of the reason for the salary disparity; the company ended up issuing an apology to both actors for finding themselves “at the the centre of a media storm … through no fault of their own.” For her part, Foy told EW she wasn’t surprised that it became such a big story. “I’m not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, ‘Oh, that’s a bit odd.’ But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for.”
The actress still has great love for the show, which brought her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. “I’ll be asking to see it earlier than it’s available,” she said. “I can’t wait to see it. I think Olivia Colman’s amazing.”