James Murray laughs when I ask how he felt about being cast as in .
‘I was quite insulted,’ he says. ‘I thought, what me – Prince Andrew’? But then they told me that I’d nailed it in the audition…’
Murray milks the most out of his cameo as the Scan**l-strewn Windsor prince. A scene with ’s Queen Elizabeth in which her allegedly favourite son is bemoaning having his marital implosion with Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson pictorially splashed across a tabloid spread is a hoot.
‘Sucking Sarah’s toes Mummy!’ Andrew roars, hilarity mixed with horror. It’s such comedy gold, surely that scene had them both corpsing?
‘Yes, we had to film that scene lots,’ says Murray. ‘I was quite aware that Imelda is full of humour and that material was imbued with the potential to corpse. And we did – loads!’
In our Zoom chat, Murray is squeezed between the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, as brought to life by Marcia Warren and Claudia Harrison. How did they take to royal life? Could they become accustomed to being to the manor born?
‘There was one day when we were filming at Lancaster House and we were wearing frocks and we had the tiaras and I thought… this is nice, this is nice,’ smiles Harrison. ‘But we’d make terrible royals, all the appointments they have to do.’
‘Yes, they work terribly hard – they open chalk-works!’ adds Warren, looking mock appalled.
But did any of the cast take to royal perks a little too keenly? Murray plants his tongue firmly in cheek: ‘ [West, who plays Prince Charles] does rather like being bowed to, he really does!’
The latest series of The Crown has, of course, been caught up in controversy over its depiction of events, with writer Peter Morgan facing accusations of playing fast and loose with facts and delving into private lives that some consider off limits.
So, do we take The Crown too seriously or not seriously enough? ‘Too seriously,’ says Murray, without missing a beat. ‘We’re doing a drama not a documentary.’
Harrison agrees, adding: ‘I think there’s nuance in the debate around the show now and I think people will come to it with an open heart and mind. The British public are a lot more intelligent than they’re given credit for.’