The Crown's Erin Doherty Shares Why Leaving Her Role as Princess Anne Is Like 'Mourning'

Erin Doherty says Princess Anne taught her "bravery"

Erin Doherty. Photo:  Town & Country/Richard Phibbs

Erin Doherty is saying goodbye to Princess Anne.

The Crown actress, who portrays Queen Elizabeth's only daughter in the third and upcoming fourth seasons of the Netflix drama, opened up about the difficulty of leaving the role as the cast is again replaced by actors suitable for their aging characters.

"I genuinely have thought about this woman for hours and probably months," Doherty told Town & Country in a cover story. "Months and months and months of contemplating her mind-state, so it is kind of like mourning someone at the end."

However, Doherty will carry an impact from Princess Anne with her.

"I hope that it’s a commitment to being honest. Perhaps not brutally so, but just knowing that honesty is the best way to proceed. I get in my head about not wanting to upset people, trying to make them happy, " she said. "Now I think, they're probably better off knowing how I'm genuinely feeling, and we’ll have a better relationship going forward. I do believe that’s come from Anne."

ERIN DOHERTY for town & county
Erin Doherty.  Town & Country/Richard Phibbs

The actress, 28, added, "I hear myself saying things and I'm like, 'Oh no!' But it is better for it in the end, and I would never have had the courage to do that. She's given me some form of bravery."

Erin Doherty.  Town & Country/Richard Phibbs

Like Anne, an equestrian who competed in the 1976 Olympics, Doherty doesn't shy away from competition. In fact, she gave up playing soccer ("We'd win, like, 10-0 – we were that team. I bloody loved it," she told the magazine) in order to pursue acting.

"I think it’s why I’m so devoted to it now, because I’m like, well, I made a choice, and I stand by it," she said. "I do have very black and white ideas about things. I'm in or I’m not. It's a love for it – if I could swim in it, I would, if I could bathe in it, I would."

Princess Anne
Princess Anne; Erin Doherty. Anwar Hussein/Getty; Netflix

Doherty previously told Town & Country that perfecting her character's updo was "its own beast" — that could sometimes take up to two hours to replicate.

"Literally, I would sit in the chair, people would come in and go and come in and go, and I sat still in the same place," the actress said. "But it was so necessary for her character because it felt like her hair and her fashion were the way that she was able to express herself in the confined, controlled environment that she grew up in."

However, Anne revealed she spends much less time on her signature hairstyle.

"Actually I read an article the other day about the, I don’t watch Netflix and The Crown, but the actress was talking about how long it took them to do their hair like I did," Queen Elizabeth's only daughter said in an ITV documentary marking her 70th birthday. "And I'm thinking, 'How could you possibly take that long?' I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes."

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The winter issue of Town & Country is on sale starting November 12. The new season of The Crown premieres on November 15 on Netflix.

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