The Crown is issuing a royal apology. Just days after producers created an uproar with word that Matt Smith received better pay than his queenly co-star Claire Foy, production company Left Bank Pictures apologizes to both for a “media storm” that was “no fault of their own.”

It started last week with comments from executive producer Suzanne Mackie, who confirmed that Doctor Who alum Smith earned a bigger salary for his two-year contract than Foy, despite the nature of her role and the pair’s comparable screentime. Some have argued that Smith’s international profile justified a higher pay quote – at least in Season 1 – while others have called on the actor to donate part of his salary to achieve parity with Foy. Mackie added at the time that “going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.”

Neither Smith nor Foy have commented on the matter, but Left Bank clearly hoped to avoid embarrassing the pair any further, issuing a statement of apology (via Deadline):

We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own. Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on The Crown have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity.

As the producers of The Crown, we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues.

We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a re-balancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes.

We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate. So, we are now going to be in talks with the Time’sUp UK campaign and ERA 50:50; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice.

That said, Seasons 3 and 4 of the Emmy-winning Netflix drama will explore a later period of Queen Elizabeth’s life with Broadchurch alum Olivia Colman taking over the role. The third season is also reported to feature Helena Bonham Carter in the role of Elizabeth’s sister Margaret, while rumors that Paul Bettany would step in for Matt Smith as an older Philip fell through. Netflix is expected to announce Smith’s replacement before filming on Season 3 begins this July.

It remains to be seen if either Foy or Smith weigh in on the debate, but should our beloved Queen have at least been given a chance to balance the scales in Season 2?

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