Before The Crown, a whole generation had yet to be exposed to the backgrounds of some of the less talked about members of Britain’s royal family—Princess Anne, played by the formidable Erin Doherty, was undoubtedly one of them.
And when the Princess’ no-frills attitude and insurmountable confidence played out onscreen, Doherty’s acting prowess helped to provide an entirely new perspective on the Queen’s only daughter. So much so that even Doherty was surprised.
“I was like, ‘Who is this woman?!’ And the more research I did I was like, ‘As if! She’s so cool!'” Doherty, 29, tells marie claire Australia.
But burying herself into the role of such an historic figure, not to mention on one of Netflix’s most popular TV shows of all time, didn’t come easy.
“I was in Princess Anne’s frame of mind for like two years,” she explains. “I’d never experienced that. That amount of time can really swallow you up—I was just desperate to be thinking any other way by the end”.
She continues: “All of us on The Crown felt it, and it’s natural, after two years, you’re like, ‘I just want to be in anyone else’s shoes right now.’
“It takes a lot out of you and there’s so much social pressure on the royal family already that you do just pick that up and start to wear that—I think we’re all just so happy we can chuck it over our shoulders and move forward.”
And that, she certainly is. After completing filming on The Crown, Doherty dove head first into a completely different series, Amazon Prime’s psychological thriller Chloe.
Instead of playing a confident, powerful royal family member, Doherty plays the quiet, desparate to please character Becky.
Set in the modern day, it follows Becky’s addiction to Instagram, unravelling its ability to feed into the never-ending desire to be seen, liked and even revered. But when Chloe, the woman behind an account she compulsively follows, suddenly dies, it sets of a chain reaction that changes Becky for good—quite literally.
“I threw myself into Becky,” Doherty recalls.
“I was happy to walk into whatever she had to give me and it was just a joy to play around with different stuff.”
Doherty found that the nuances of Becky’s online life represented a scarily similar phenomenon that she’s noticed not only in her own life, but in many others’.
“There is an absolute danger with social media and how it can be so overwhelming and all consuming, and I think this show does its job in exposing that.”
To prepare for the role, Doherty meticulously studied Instagram every morning and every evening, which she increasingly found to be less about work and more about herself.
“I was to hard to get myself off it [Instagram] at the end of the job,” she explains.
“I would do it consistently throughout filming to get myself into the character of Becky, but afterwards it took me a long time to stop reaching for it.
“It wasn’t even a choice, it was muscle memory, it was in my bones at that point. That’s the dark side, the addiction that comes with it and how powerless you can feel to it.”
There’s no doubt this role was a huge transition for Doherty after her years on The Crown, and it tested her in a completely different way. But the rising British star remains humble as ever.
When we ask if she’s getting used to the fame now tied to her as a result of playing both Princess Anne and Becky, she tells us it’s the “biggest compliment” when people approach her in the street.
“Theres something about being on a tube when people are looking at you trying to work out how they know you,” she laughs, “but I love chatting about it, I’ve been talking about it all day and I’m still not sick of it!”
Chloe premieres on Friday, June 24—Stream it on Amazon Prime, live and on demand with a 30 day FREE trial. Sign up here.