The Crown’s royal protocol adviser has said Imelda Staunton “mastered the mannerisms” of the late Queen to the point where he had to pinch himself to remember it was not her.
The actress portrays the former monarch in the fifth and sixth series of the Netflix drama, following in the footsteps of Viola Prettejohn, Claire Foy and Olivia Colman who played younger versions of Queen Elizabeth in the show.
Part two of the final season, which is set to be released on Thursday, will see the Queen reflect on the future of the monarchy as she reaches her Golden Jubilee, Charles and Camilla getting married, and a romance blossoming between William and Kate.
A first look at the epic conclusion. The final episodes of The Crown premiere December 14. pic.twitter.com/eXSBywiPqX
— Netflix (@netflix) November 28, 2023
Reflecting on his favourite portrayals of the Queen over the years, royal adviser Major David Rankin-Hunt said: “I was very fond of Olivia. She was very good.
“And Claire Foy was brilliant and a lovely person, but obviously I wasn’t around in the 50s and 60s.
“So because of the period in which I served, I suppose I’d have to say Imelda, because Season 5 and 6 are my period, so I know that they reflect the Queen that I knew more accurately.
“She’s superb. She’s mastered her mannerisms to the point I have to pinch myself that it isn’t the real her.”
Rankin-Hunt began working for the royal household in 1981, remaining there for more than 30 years.
He was brought in from season one to help consult on areas including the language used, costumes worn and details of the events.
“My role is to provide authenticity, so that viewers looking at a scene in the Royal Palaces see a reflection of what it’s like to live and work there,” he explained.
“It’s all about presenting an authentic picture of the Queen and her homes and all those who live in those palaces, whether they be members of the royal family or indeed the royal household.”
Discussing what it was like to work on the show following the late Queen’s death last September, he said: “I didn’t have an issue working on The Crown but I was very upset when the Queen died.
“But I was encouraged by the fact that so many people were really upset when she died. I wasn’t expecting the depths of concern and sadness at her demise.
“And I think to a lot of people on The Crown, because they’d been working on the production for such a long time, they felt some sort of link with the Queen.
“With The Crown there’s a very real sense of responsibility throughout the seasons to portray the Queen in such a way that doesn’t betray her.
“That’s a responsibility that every actor coming in to play her has taken on board.”
The Netflix series has dramatised majors events throughout the last six series including the late Queen’s coronation in 1953, the birth of her children and later her grandchildren and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed.
Rankin-Hunt said he feels the scripts were “beautifully written” and that there were “some very poignant moments” which reminded him of certain events and people.
He added: “I think the research department, headed by Annie (Sulzberger), have worked extremely hard to find the answers to so many questions.
“And I think that the stories were very entertaining, which is why the series was so very popular.”
Part two of the sixth and final season of The Crown will debut on Netflix on December 14.