10 Things to Know About 'The Crown's Charles and Diana Actors Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin
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Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin – the actors who take center stage as Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in the new season of The Crown – are guests on tonight's episode of The Graham Norton Show, which airs 11pm EST on BBC America. To whet your appetite, check out a cute preview clip from the episode below, then find out more about these rising stars!
1. Corrin honed her acting skills while studying Education, English, and Drama at Cambridge University.
According to the actress, balancing her studies with performing in student productions wasn't as stressful as you might think. “People at Cambridge weirdly thrive off the pressure of deadlines,” she told Wonderland last year. “It’s such a high-pressure environment that people naturally gravitate towards having somewhere else to vent that energy. Having been in a tech rehearsal all day and then having to go home at 10pm and write an essay, you’re so stressed but also loving it because you’re so busy.”
2. O'Connor trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which has a super-impressive list of alumni.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Jeremy Irons, Sir Patrick Stewart, Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie, Naomie Harris, Miranda Richardson and fellow The Crown star Olivia Colman all learned their craft there. O'Connor told The Independent that it was a rigorous experience, with lessons “7am to 7pm, five days a week, sometimes six,” but that he had "an incredible three years [there] with an incredible group of actors."
3. Corrin didn't think she had a chance of being cast as Lady Diana.
She told Elle that she wasn't even supposed to be auditioning for the show; she was simply called in to read Diana's lines in a chemistry test involving Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles (played by Killing Eve executive producer Emerald Fennell). "They asked me to go on camera which I thought was weird," Corrin recalled. "I remember going outside, calling my agent and being like, ‘Maya, something changed in that room. I think they were interested. The director wanted to work with me and they wanted me to go on tape.’ It was absolutely surreal, looking back. I don't know how I didn’t go a bit insane. I think I probably did go a bit insane."
4. O'Connor says that in real life, he knows next to nothing about the British Royal Family.
“It’s quite useful,” he told Esquire, “because if anyone tries to trick you into saying anything about the real Royal Family, I can’t, because I don’t know anything. When we went over to the Golden Globes, people were asking us about Harry and Meghan and I had to say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Because I really don’t.”
5. Corrin is a relative newcomer, but The Crown isn't quite her first TV or movie role.
She previously appeared as Miss South Africa in Misbehaviour, this year's comedy-drama film about the 1970 Miss World Competition, and had a recurring role as nightclub dancer in the Epix crime series Pennyworth. She also guested in an episode of popular British period drama series Grantchester as character Esther Carter.
6. O'Connor has twice won the Best Actor prize at the British Independent Film Awards.
He won in 2017 for God's Own Country, in which he plays a closeted gay farmer coming to grips with his sexuality, and in 2019 for Only You, a romantic drama about a young couple struggling to conceive a child.
You can watch his cute acceptance speech when he won for God's Own Country below.
7. Corrin got a shock on set when Olivia Colman suddenly switched into character as Queen Elizabeth II.
"Obviously, Olivia is the biggest ray of sunshine ever," Corrin told Town and Country magazine. "She just went stone cold horrible. It was so hard to not take it personally."
8. O'Connor also has plenty of previous TV experience.
You might recognize him as Lawrence Durrell from The Durrells, Marius Pontmercy from the BBC's adaptation of Les Misérables, PC Bobby Grace from Ripper Street, or maybe James from season two of Peaky Blinders.
9. Corrin has a dog who shares Lady Diana's maiden name.
And as you'll see in this Instagram snap, Spencer is completely adorable.
10. And O'Connor is also a Doctor Who alum.
He plays a soldier named Piotr in the 2013 episode "Cold War" starring Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman. Coincidentally, O'Connor's The Crown co-star Tobias Menzies (who plays Prince Philip) guests in the very same episode!
Are you looking forward to seeing Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin as Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer?