There’s a surprising and relatable moment in the third season of The Crown where Princess Anne’s character sings along to David Bowie’s “Starman” while driving. To be fair, there have been many moments throughout the series where the viewer finds themselves surprisingly connecting with dramatized moments of the lives of one of the most famous families on the planet, but this one is especially poignant.
It’s also drawn attention to Erin Doherty, the actress playing the Queen’s only daughter. The 27-year-old is getting huge accolades for her performance, which co-star Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles) pointed out is especially impressive given her character sounds exactly like the real Anne… but Erin’s actual voice is nowhere near similar!
“For me, ultimately, it was about the voice because it is so different from mine,” Erin recently told Town and Country. “I had to make sure that was on point. So I walked around speaking as her, trying not to look too crazy. And honestly, the more I did it, naturally it became a subconscious thing.”
To get Anne’s voice just right, Erin did copious amounts of research, watching everything she could where she could hear the Princess Royal speak. She also put it in action in public!
“I watched so many YouTube videos of her when she was younger, just trying to get the voice right mainly because it’s not only so different to mine, it’s just so different,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in a different interview. “I’d just walk around London listening to her voice, and I would practice it. I’d go into coffee shops and order coffee in her voice, just trying to make it feel normal, trying to live in it a bit. That was my tactic.”
Erin was born and raised in Crawley, England. She went on to study at the Guildford School of Acting and later took a three-year theatre program at the Bristol Old Vic, according to Screen Daily. She first became known to UK viewers when she appeared in BBC’s Call the Midwife in 2017, and she played Fabienne in BBC’s Les Misérables earlier this year. The Crown is her breakout role, and people should get ready to see much more from her.
Erin was playing an incredible woman who went on to become the busiest member of the Royal Family. In 2018, she racked up 447 appearances in the UK and 71 overseas alone, according to The Times. That was more than any other royal in that year, and it also happens to be more than Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harrycombined. She's definitely a royal younger fans could stand to know much more about!
“What I love about her is that she is so brutally honest with her feelings,” she told the publication, saying she would be terrified if Anne didn’t like her portrayal. “But I genuinely like to think that we’ve done her justice. I feel like a lot of people, like me, will learn so much about her, and fall in love with her as much as I have. I think she’s this incredibly strong, powerful, determined woman, and I really do believe that people are going to be like, ‘Oh, my God, I never knew this about her.’”
Erin also never knew that Anne survived a kidnapping attempt!
On March 20, 1974, Anne and her then-husband Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace when their car was forced to stop on the Mall. Ian Ball jumped out of the vehicle that was blocking them and began firing a gun. Anne’s personal security officer was shot in the process, along with her chauffeur and a journalist who tried to intervene. Ian then approached Anne and said he was kidnapping her and was going to ransom her and give the money to the UK’s National Health Service and told her to get out of the car. “Not bloody likely!” she replied.
“That blew my mind!” Erin told Harper’s Bazaar. “Especially because she would have been like 24, 25, and the fact that someone had a gun in her face and said, ‘Right, you’re gonna be kidnapped now,’ and she just said ,’No!’ I don’t know how she did it. That says a lot, I think. That did inform the performance because if you’re grounded and stable and confident enough to tell someone no when they have a gun in your face, I feel like you’ve got things sorted, pretty much.”
You can see Erin as the Princess Royal in Season 3 of The Crown, which is on Netflix now.