- Imelda Staunton is taking over from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown” season five.
- She told Entertainment Tonight that she was “very inconsolable” when she learned of her passing.
- The monarch died on September 8 at the age of 96 after a record-breaking 70 years on the throne.
Imelda Staunton is the latest actor to play Queen Elizabeth II in”The Crown,” and will make her debut in the highly anticipated fifth season of the Netflix drama, which premieres on November 9.
However, unlike her predecessors, Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, Staunton has had the unique experience of portraying what she describes as a “more familiar” version of the late monarch.
Staunton also happened to be filming scenes for the sixth and final installment of the royal drama on the day the Queen died at the age of 96 following a record-breaking 70 years on the throne, which she told Entertainment Tonight left her “inconsolable.”
The Oscar-nominated actor said of learning of the Queen’s passing while on set: “Everyone was extremely sad and I know I was very inconsolable that evening.”
“My reaction surprised me,” she continued. “Of course, I would feel something. But having lived with her very closely for two years, it felt strange.”
The actor, who is perhaps best known to audiences for portraying the terrifying Dolores Umbridge in the “Harry Potter” films, went on to add that the monarch’s passing was a “great sadness” for the entire team working on the show, especially those who have been with it since it began in 2016.
“I feel for the crew who had been working on it from day one. I think there was a great sense of sadness, no doubt. I think [Peter’s] love letter to the Queen started a long time ago… I think it’s gone on a long time. So, it’s obvious that he is very passionate about this family. So, I think he has such respect for this world.”
Production on the series was temporarily paused for 10 days out of respect for the late royal, and Staunton said she was “very grateful for that time off to sort of settle back down.”
The day after her death, Peter Morgan — who adapted “The Crown” from a stage play into an Emmy-winning hit show — paid his respects to the Queen in a statement and confirmed that a hiatus would take place.
“‘The Crown’ is a love letter to [the Queen] and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect,” his statement read. “I expect we will stop filming out of respect too.”
Meanwhile, Staunton has also defended the drama ahead of the release of the new season. Speaking to Deadline, she said it is “understandable” that hostility towards the series has grown in recent weeks as “people still feel a bit… like their nerve endings are still a little bit raw” after the Queen’s death.
The actor, 66, went on to say that she does not think the show is “undignified,” explaining: “We think it’s honest and true and respectful. Peter Morgan’s been writing about the Queen since Helen Mirren [was in ‘The Queen’].
“He obviously adores this family in many ways, and he’ll show both sides of the characters, for good or for worse. He’ll show them and make no judgment, he’ll leave that up to the audience.”
Filming for season six resumed in late September and is still ongoing, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed to Insider.