Meg Bellamy, Ed McVey, and Luther Ford Take The Crown

Season 6 of The Crown welcomes the next generation of royals: Ed McVey as Prince William, Meg Bellamy as Kate Middleton, and Luther Ford as Prince Harry.

Meg Bellamy and Luther Ford sit on either side of Ed McVey, on the back of his chair.

Fresh Heir

Styling by Katie Felstead
20 December 20238 min read

Ed McVey, Meg Bellamy, and Luther Ford found themselves right at home when they pulled up to the sprawling North London house where Zoe McConnell would be photographing them for Queue. Most twentysomethings might not blend in well with the scenery of a rococo-style mansion, decorated with ornate wallpaper, velvet drapery, a stone fountain in the exquisitely manicured garden, and a mosaic-tiled underground spa. McVey, Bellamy, and Ford, however, had recently wrapped filming in country estates, on the grounds of centuries-old universities, and on replicated sets of the most regal of British homes, Buckingham Palace. 

The actors play the new generation of royals in Peter Morgan’s Emmy-winning series, The Crown. McVey portrays a young Prince William grieving the loss of his beloved mother, Diana, meeting his future wife at university, and honoring the duty that comes with being the heir apparent. Ford plays the teenage Prince Harry, the jokester younger brother who is coming of age and accepting his role in the royal family. And Bellamy steps into the role of Kate Middleton, William’s university crush and eventual wife. 

Ed McVey, Meg Bellamy, and Luther Ford found themselves right at home when they pulled up to the sprawling North London house where Zoe McConnell would be photographing them for Queue.

Luther Ford, Meg Bellamy, and Ed McVey

Luther Ford, Meg Bellamy, and Ed McVey stand around a fountain.

Luther Ford, Meg Bellamy, and Ed McVey

Not only are the young actors new to The Crown, which completes its sixth and final season, but they are also new to the screen. Bellamy, who grew up in Leeds in the north of England, and McVey, who was raised on a farm in the southwest county of Devon, both found themselves drawn to drama at a young age, participating in plays and musical theater throughout adolescence. Bellamy’s most memorable performance saw her take on the canonical girl-next-door role of Sandy in Grease. “I didn’t really know that you could do acting,” Bellamy says. “I just thought they were people on your TV and then you had to do it like a secure degree. As soon as I knew it was possible, I knew that I wanted to give it a go.” McVey found being cast in the Noël Coward play Cavalcade to be the moment he found his confidence and decided to pursue acting as more than an extracurricular. “It was the first time where I really got emotionally involved in a role and had a proper narrative arc to carry on throughout the play. That was the first time I thought, There’s something in the craft of this, in building a character and getting emotionally involved, that I enjoy doing.”

McVey left Devon for London to attend drama school, Bellamy pursued acting while working at Legoland, while Ford, raised in London, save one year spent in Scotland, headed to university to study filmmaking. “I never studied drama, never had an acting class,” Ford says. “I think we’d done Macbeth when I was 13, in secondary school, and I played Lady Macbeth. Versatile.” Back then, Ford was far more interested in being behind the camera than in front of one, after spending his childhood making films with friends on a V.H.S. camcorder. “We would be acting in them out of necessity. I loved doing it, but I never expected to pursue it as a career in itself. I remember we would come up with a little story, film it, and then put the tape in and watch it immediately. We were just happy with that instant gratification of thinking of an idea and then being like, ‘Shall we watch it now?’” 

Ed McVey holds a red flower up to his eye.

Ed McVey

The whole ducking down thing and trying to get away, trying to hide yourself, was so useful.

Ed McVey

All three actors came to The Crown via social media when casting director Kate Bone posted an open call for the roles of Prince William, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton on Twitter. Bellamy heard about it from a neighbor, Ford through his brother’s girlfriend, and McVey through a friend, all of whom saw in the actors what the casting team at The Crown would come to see through their self-submitted tapes, auditions, read-throughs, and chemistry tests. “I did it on a whim,” recalls Ford of his decision to submit a tape. “There was a slightly delusional side of me that was like, Well, maybe. You never know. I think you do have to be a bit delusional with acting. You have to believe in something because someone’s going to do it. Maybe it’s going to be you.” 

After McVey and Bellamy successfully got through a few rounds of auditions, they received phone calls not to be told they’d been offered the role, but instead asking them to come to a full cast read-through. Reading for William and Kate, the pair instantly formed a connection. “I met Meg at the read-through,” says McVey, “and I was told later on that it was obvious to the people around us that there was something right about what was going on, and it just felt so natural and so easy.” 

Meg Bellamy wears a black hat and ensemble and rides a small bike.

Meg Bellamy

I . . . ran to the delivery parking lot of Legoland, sat behind [a truck], and tried to hear. It was the best day ever. 

Meg Bellamy

Bellamy was at her then-job at Legoland in Windsor (just two-and-a-half miles down the road from Queen Elizabeth’s beloved Windsor Castle) when she received the news. “I had missed the call. Kate Bone sent a voicemail saying, ‘Oh, no rush, but call me back when you can.’ I rushed, obviously, and ran to the delivery parking lot of Legoland, sat behind [a truck], and tried to hear. It was the best day ever.” 

Once cast, the actors had the immense feat ahead of them of preparing to portray a few of the most famous people on earth. All three credit the outstanding research team behind The Crown for providing them with the materials to set them up to succeed. McVey and Ford had a trove of photos and video footage to refer to in their preparations to play William and Harry in their late teenage and early twentysomething years. The physicality of the characters came to the actors in different ways. “I met with a marine,” says Ford. “I was taught how to march, which isn’t related to anything that happens in the show, but we talked a lot about his physicality and the physicality of a royal in terms of just the way you hold yourself.”

Luther Ford wears a purple suit and peeks out from a silvery curtain.

Luther Ford

I think we’d done Macbeth when I was 13, in secondary school, and I played Lady Macbeth. Versatile.

Luther Ford

For McVey’s transformation into William, movement coach Polly Bennett conjured two images: “We had this image of a soggy cake,” McVey describes, “like an unbaked cake in the belly. It’s a bit collapsed and flat. And then as you get older, that cake starts to bake and firm up, and you’re able to come out of yourself. Then towards the end of this series, the cake is baked and you’re like, I know who I am.” A less surprising image Bennett shared with McVey was that of a crown. McVey explains, “We had this really beautiful idea of a crown hovering just above the head, and trying to make it be as far away from your head as possible. The whole ducking down thing and trying to get away, trying to hide yourself, was so useful.”

Bellamy was in a more unusual situation in her preparations to play William’s love interest, Kate Middleton, in the early days of their courtship. “There’s not a lot of footage of her within the time period that I’m playing her. In fact, nothing in terms of hearing how she speaks. So it was a lot of listening to certain vowels and then pitching it to age it younger. Same with almost de-royal-ifying her in the sense that maybe she stands slightly straighter now. That’s how I would if I was in the public eye all the time. Maybe she holds herself slightly differently. Removing those layers was a really interesting part that I hadn’t considered.”

Luther Ford, Meg Bellamy, and Ed McVey stand by a fountain.

Luther Ford, Meg Bellamy, and Ed McVey

McVey and Ford found working through rehearsals to create an onscreen brotherhood to be a natural, nurturing process. Of Ford, McVey says, “He’s enigmatic, he just draws you in. He was really making me laugh. That was so important because that’s such a big part of their relationship, especially in the early days. From actor to character, so many things were in sync, where I wanted to take care of him.” Ford found an older brother in McVey as much as McVey had found a younger brother in Ford. “He was so supportive,” says Ford. “I immediately felt like the younger brother because I was asking him for advice and he was very generous. It was organic to the point that I find him occasionally annoying like a brother. And I could annoy him, so that’s a good sign. We started it together and we finished it together.” 

Ford was the first to wrap his day at the Queue photoshoot, then McVey. When Bellamy finished and changed back into the clothes she’d arrived in, she found her castmates having a hot drink outside the house under the gray London skies. They piled into the last car and gave the driver the address of a favorite London pub. They may have looked natural among the backdrop of opulence, but it was clear the trio would find themselves much more at home in the booth of a pub with cracked vinyl seats and sticky floors, catching up and enjoying the company of the only other people who experienced all that they have, together.