On the eve of The Crown’s mid-season premiere at the Oslo Opera House, we sit down with Meg Bellamy, Ed McVey and Luther Ford (who play Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Prince Harry respectively) to discuss their life-altering breakout roles
The young stars of the final season of The Crown have barely been in Oslo for 24 hours and already they have found something they are universally emphatic about: Svanen, a cocktail bar that dates back to the late 1800s. “Best cocktails I’ve ever had,” says Luther Ford, who plays Prince Harry in the final episodes of the Netflix series. “They were honestly insanely good,” agrees Ed McVey, who plays Prince William. The standout was the Tomato and Strawberry, a gin-based cocktail described as ‘savoury, mellow and fruity’. “Genuinely delicious,” says Meg Bellamy, who plays Kate Middleton. “Like the best bruschetta you’ve ever had,” concludes McVey.
It’s the sort of unbridled enthusiasm you’d expect from three young actors smack dab in the centre of their very first press tour. To call this an inflection point in their lives – all three actors are in their early 20s – feels like an understatement. Since The Crown launched in 2016, some 73 million Netflix accounts have tuned in. Their episodes haven’t even dropped yet (the final instalment lands on the streamer on December 14th) and already they have fans clamouring for selfies. Moving forward, it’s entirely possible that their lives will be divided into BC and AC – before and after Crown.
While this is their first time in the Norwegian capital – the trio are in town to present the series finale at the Oslo Opera House in just a few hours – Bellamy already has a notable Scandinavian connection. When she landed the coveted role of Middleton, she was working as a performer at Legoland in Windsor. “I did some singing shows, I was a ninja at one point,” she says. “A multifaceted kind of actor,” quips McVey. “Weren’t you a big snake at some point?”
Bellamy, 21, came across the casting call for Kate on Twitter, later seeing other aspiring Middleton’s documenting their audition processes on TikTok. Thousands of hopefuls threw their hat in the ring and months into the process, Bellamy began to lose hope, even after a successful chemistry read with McVey. “We both had kind of not heard for a while, so we were kind of thinking maybe it’s not going to go our way,” she says. “Everyone I knew who had blond hair and blue eyes and their blond hair, blue eyed brother was sending in tapes for Will,” McVey says. “It is a bit weird going into a room with 17 other people who look exactly like you, and way more like William than you look.”
Ultimately they both got the call. Bellamy cryptically informed her Legoland boss that she had booked a “big role” and would have to hang up her costume. Some of her colleagues surmised that she was in Sex Education or Bridgerton. One girl, whose sister had also auditioned, guessed correctly, at which point Bellamy let out a laugh that was a little too loud.
Casting Prince Harry, meanwhile, proved a little more challenging. “They couldn’t find Harry for ages,” says McVey. “They were scraping the barrel,” jokes Ford who at the time was studying filmmaking. Though he unquestionably fits the physical type, Ford “didn’t go to drama school and hadn’t meant to be an actor.” His brother’s girlfriend sent him the info for the open call, to which he responded, “Why not?” To his surprise, he landed the role.
For McVey and Ford, there was plenty of source material to draw from when preparing to embody Prince William and Prince Harry. “William and Harry are the first royals that have been documented [online] since birth, so you can really watch them grow, which, as an idea, is really weird,” says McVey. “The best bit for me was ageing my character, because I age about six or seven years – 16 to 24 or 25. For a guy, a lot changes over that time physically and psychologically.” They worked with movement and voice coaches to get the distinctive accents and gait just right. Watching the series, the resemblance is uncanny.
Bellamy, meanwhile, had a different sort of challenge. “It was helpful to know as much as possible about the post-uni year – that’s the year that I play her, and she doesn’t know if she’ll marry William or what her life will look like,” she says, noting that this period in Middleton’s life, while still tabloid fodder, was less documented. “Obviously, I do know.”
As for what the actors plan to be doing on the day the episodes drop and their lives change forever? They haven’t quite decided. “We might be doing live TV on the day,” says McVey. “Oh, I kind of hope so, we’ll be distracted,” says Bellamy. “Isn’t it elongated? Like, it’s not just one day,” says Ford. “But that day is the reviews as well,” Bellamy notes. Will they read the reviews? “Of course I will,” says McVey.
They don’t seem to have put too much thought into what it will be like to be ‘stopped on the street famous’. “It could be nice,” muses Ford. “Like if someone came up to you and said, ‘that was cool’.” McVey, meanwhile, has a solid plan for if it all gets to be too much: “Move to Oslo!”