Heritage

Why Are We So Fascinated by the British Royal Family?

The stars of The Crown weigh in.
IMAGE Alex Bailey/ Netflix
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The stars of The Crown on Netflix, a new period drama that chronicles the early days of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, share why they think everyone is so royally obsessed.

John Lithgow (Winston Churchill)

"It's hard to define, but I think it has something to do with the fact that they maintain a certain mystery. They almost represent the unknowable soul of a country. We really learn very little about them, despite how much is reported about Kate and William or the children or Elizabeth and Philip. There is so much we don't know, and that is the great drama of our series...And by extension, metaphorically, it's about all of us. Our private and our public side. There's no more private family than than the royal family, people who can really only be themselves with each other. The rest of us just spend our time fascinated by them.

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Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth II)

"They're a diverse group of characters. Some of them are quite out there. And if you just take Princess Margaret for example, she was one of the most beautiful women of that era; she was like a movie star in lots of ways. She was very like Elizabeth Taylor. She lived an incredibly exciting life. I think that was because her sister was obviously doing the harder graft, but especially at that time they were glamorous and exciting and beautiful, and the younger generation now are no different. They also represent continuity and a way of life."

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Jared Harris (King George VI)

"Mystery. They're very good at maintaining the mystery, and it has a connection as well—there is a connection to America's past through British history, having thrown that off, but I'm sure there's still a curiosity about it. We like to know where we came from."

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Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret)

"I think there are two reasons. First is the magical, mythological quality to the history, of kings and queens and Henry VIII and the beheadings and Charles I and Queen Elizabeth. These are amazing characters. I was always fascinated with them growing up, what that status gives you as a human being, what that means. You do become a myth, in a way. And that's combined with the fact that they're the last public figures that we don't know anything about privately. You have no idea who they really are. The gates of Buckingham Palace are closed. And this series opens those gates, goes well beyond the deepest corridor of it and turns it inside out. You get to see these people play out their lives in a way that has never been seen before."

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Matt Smith (Prince Phillip)

"It's a good question. It's one I've been asking myself, to be honest with you. I think it's something to do with the historical influence. There's something interesting about the depth of history that's involved and the fact that it is so different culturally and aesthetically. They've endured."

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This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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