Spoilers for The Crown season 3 ahead. It's well-established that Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and other stars of The Crown seasons 1 and 2 are essentially gone from the production at this point. "After two seasons, that's it, I'm gone," Foy told Vulture as early as 2016. "They're getting rid of all of us." But considering how beloved the actors were from the first seasons and the fact that Foy won just about every award imaginable for her performance, it might make sense for the show to at least reference her existence. So do we see her at all throughout the season?
Through the use of the Queen's image on a postage stamp, the trailer directly addresses the change from actor Claire Foy to Olivia Colman, or, as the Queen's private secretary says, "From young woman, to—" "Old bat?" snarks Elizabeth. "Settled sovereign," he replies.
"A great many changes. Nothing one can do about it. One just has to get on with it," she explains, which might as well be a knowing nod to every single viewer to accept the casting changes and, well, move on.
But! Later on in a subsequent episode, the Queen is flicking through photos at her country house, and lo and behold: There's Claire Foy and Matt Smith as Elizabeth and Philip again, in photos with their young children! Elizabeth sighs, "We were so young," in another fun little callback to the fact that the actors have changed in season 3.
Foy, for her part, has made clear that there are no feelings about the recast, saying in 2018:
That’s it, I’m on the bench...We always knew when we signed up to it, and also not to be funny but it’s also a real plus. As an actor there’s nothing worse than the sound of 'seven years.' I’m sure to some people it sounds amazing but to us it’s like, seven years of playing the same person? And this is a tough job, you know? It’s long, a good nine-month-er. And that’s a lot of your life that you sign over to it. I’m going to miss it terribly. But I just can’t wait to see where it goes, I just can’t wait.
Otherwise, there are no flashbacks that contain Foy—there are flashbacks to the two princesses as young girls, though, so it's not like the show ignores her past. In other words, there's no footage that includes Foy, which makes sense in favor of concentrating on the characters as they are now. Several of the new cast (in my humble opinion) don't look very much like their younger counterparts—particularly Helena Bonham Carter as Margaret—so it makes sense that the work on the creators' part is to make sure we accept these new "versions."
There's also one important way Claire Foy's role as Queen Elizabeth changed Olivia Colman's: For seasons three and four, Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth was paid more than Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip, following the public and embarrassing revelation that Claire Foy earned less in her role than Matt Smith did for his.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.