Claire Foy takes on a very different royal

“People told such dreadful things and said such dreadful things about her in court and such awful names. She had such a conviction in her choices and behaviour and understanding what happened in their marriage that she just absolutely was not going to take any of that on herself ever.”

Such is the venom within the exchanges between the Duke and Duchess, it virtually echoes Edward Albee’s 1962 play (and Mike Nichols 1966 movie) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in regards to the disintegration of a wedding over the course of a night. Unsurprisingly maybe, Foy reveals that Albee’s play was a artistic touchstone.

Claire Foy as the Duchess of Argyll whose private life was aired in court.

Claire Foy because the Duchess of Argyll whose non-public life was aired in courtroom.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was a real kind of thing for us in the dynamic of their relationship and how we could, not try and emulate it at all, but try and make interesting choices like they did in the play,” Foy says. “Maybe with different actors [you would have to take it more seriously], but, unfortunately, Paul and I are completely ridiculous people. We both love laughing, and we also want to enjoy our work.

“There was a limited time to shoot the whole thing, there’s never enough time, never enough money, those sorts of classics, but we really just enjoyed each other’s company. I’m just so grateful that we could have fun and a friendship while we were making it because it just meant that it was always interesting to come to work.”

The Duchess of Argyll was on no account the primary celeb, although when the checklist of her alleged affairs was learn in courtroom, she may need been one of many first girls “doxxed”, that’s, uncovered as a goal through the malicious launch of personal data.

The very particular context of the Duchess’s expertise, Foy says, is that she didn’t remorse her actions. “The affairs being exposed, and her love letters being exposed, and the photographs being exposed. For her, there was no shame in that action,” Foy says. “The idea that she might have thought she’d done wrong, that’s not what her response was.


“Her response, instead, was ‘how can this be allowed?’ Her innermost thoughts and the things she held dearest in her heart are these romantic relationships; it’s her self-esteem, who she is, what she identifies as [about] being desired and admired. That is a large portion of her character and who she is. To have that exposed, [she asked] ‘how can that be allowed?’ It was heartbreaking to her. And to watch someone that [she] loved go to any means, that there is no line of dignity, or nothing is sacred, [was] just mortifying.

“And then to have people like a prosecuting divorce lawyer speak words that a lover has spoken to you. It’s wrong,” Foy provides. “It’s not that she was ashamed by what was being said … she was ashamed this was happening, that this was allowed to happen and that her husband was allowed to break into her house and steal her property, and then it was permissible in court.”

Because A Very British Scandal and The Crown move by the realm of Britain’s higher class within the Nineteen Sixties, comparisons are inevitable, though the 2 girls are tangibly a universe aside. As a lot as Elizabeth II was stitched up service, reserve and omniscient energy, the Duchess of Argyll is a examine in messy temperament. In some ways she just isn’t the story’s villain. But equally, at instances it’s troublesome to see the important heroism – or something redeeming – in her character.


“It was really amazing to play someone who behaved, basically, like a child,” Foy says, laughing. “Everything was everyone else’s fault. She was emotional, very able to scream, and shout and cry. In her book, she cries at a drop of a hat. She’s saying she’s crying all the time. I don’t think she was. I think she was able to live her life without tears the majority of the time, but pretty emotionally on the edge, but then also not emotionally eloquent.”

Equally, Foy says, it’s “delicious, really because you get to watch someone make awful choices, awful life choices. I love acting, and I hope I play lots of varied, different characters, but [she] was painful to play sometimes; someone that can’t help themselves. They can’t stop themselves.”

A Very British Scandal is streaming on Amazon Prime Video from Friday, April 22.

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