One of Netflix’s most popular shows The Crown is a lavish drama centred around the evolution of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II spanned over six decades of her life. Since the lead character is a woman, many find it perfect drama which moves into modern times. But did you know Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth in the first two seasons of the blockbuster series, was paid less than male co-star Matt Smith?

Yes, if the headlines are to be believed Smith, who plays Claire’s husband Prince Philip, was paid more than the lead, Vanity Fair reported on Tuesday.

Interestingly, producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries also promised pay equity on the show from now on. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” Mackie said.

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The show broke records as one of the most expensive series ever made. It has costed approximately $7 million per episode to produce, and that “all the money is on the screen”.

“The revelation came during a panel discussion about the series at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday, when The Crown producers Suzanne Mackie and Andy Harries were asked whether series star Claire Foy was paid more than co-star Matt Smith…,” the report said. “…the show, one of the most expensive in television history, had a budget of $7 million per episode, while Foy was paid an estimated $40,000 per episode.” The producers confessed this while speaking at a conference in Jerusalem.

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The British actress has been widely acclaimed for her performance in the series, leading her being regarded as a breakout star.

Even Queen Elizabeth herself would find it absurd to pay the male counterparts more than the lead female character. When would this pay disparity go away from the industry?

“It should be noted that Foy will not get the chance to earn a fairer paycheck on The Crown. Since every role is being re-cast for the period drama’s third season, which will begin filming in July and jump ahead to the 1970s,” Vanity Fair noted. Olivia Colman plays an older version of the queen in the third season.

The revelation is “just the latest instance of Hollywood’s egregious wage gap”, the publication added. “Only this one stings even more than usual—perhaps because the entire series is centered on a woman’s power”.

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The two critically acclaimed seasons are already online. Also the much-awaited third season is in the making. Olivia Colman will take over the part of the Queen, replacing Emmy nominee Claire. Helena Bonham-Carter will play Princess Margaret. However, it is not yet announced as who will step in for Matt Smith as Prince Philip.

Meanwhile, Twitteratis  expressed their outrage at the pay disparity, especially since the show rests on Foy’s shoulders, and she has won a Golden Globe for her power-packed performance.

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