Date of Birth
April 16, 1984
Stockport, England, UK
Claire Elizabeth Foy
5′ 3¾” (1.62 m)
Ivy Rose Moore
Claire Elizabeth Foy was born on 16 April 1984 in Stockport, Greater Manchester. She has said that her mother, Caroline, comes from a “massive” Irish family; her maternal grandparents come from Dublin and Kildare. She grew up in Manchester and Leeds, the youngest of three children. Her family later moved to Longwick, Buckinghamshire, for her father’s job as a salesman for Rank Xerox. Her parents divorced when she was eight. She has a younger half-sister through her father’s second marriage. Foy was educated at Aylesbury High School from the age of 12 and later attended Liverpool John Moores University, studying drama and screen studies. She also trained in a one-year course at the Oxford School of Drama. She graduated in 2007 and moved to London’s Peckham district to share a house with five friends from drama school.
⋄ When I got the audition for “Macbeth”, it’s awful to say it but I can see what leads her to do what she does. Her husband’s destiny has been proclaimed and she says “You’ve got to meet it.” Which women do all the time.
⋄ [about her “Macbeth” co-star, James McAvoy] The funny thing is you would never ever ever think the man is this movie star. He’s just so down to earth. He could turn round to me and go “Your accent is shocking!” I have to remind myself to actually stop looking at him.
⋄ I am always so envious of people who do whatever they want.
⋄ I wouldn’t have been able to go to drama school when I was 19. I don’t think I was even conscious of life… I was like a zombie. But when I finished uni’ I just realized… just go and do it, stop being a knob.
⋄ If I was working nine to five, acting would be my hobby… I always feel like maybe I should do an Open University degree. But I’m never going to.
⋄ I’m lucky I have a fast metabolism… my whole family does… everyone’s got a lot of nervous energy so we burn it off.
⋄ I’ve worked in supermarkets, put tags in baseball caps and provided security during Wimbledon, but I never thought acting would be something I’d be any good at, or make a living from.
⋄ I love home, any home really – my mum’s, and of course my own. I love eating food there and chilling in bed with a cup of tea.
⋄ I hate having to pose for photos. It’s just so embarrassing. Everyone is expecting you to know what to do because you’re an actor, but I haven’t a clue.
⋄ On her perception of the royal family after starring in The Crown (2016): I wouldn’t say it changed, but it definitely deepened it, and gave it a human slant that I’d never considered before. I thought she was just the Queen and he was Prince Philip, and that was just who they were, without thinking about them as a mother or a father or daughter. So, it’s been really interesting to try and understand them as human beings. And when you see what they’ve been through, it’s relatively easy, to be honest. I have a huge amount of respect and understanding for them.
⋄ [on portraying Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown] I do think she’s like everybody else, but she’s not able to express emotions in the same ways as we do. Her duty and her job means she’s not able to be open about her feelings in the way that we all can with our family and with our marriages. Her family was the most important thing to her, and all of a sudden she had to sacrifice them to her job. Once I understood this, she was no longer a disembodied figure and a real person that I could portray her truthfully on the screen.
⋄ [on the royal family] They’re a diverse group of characters. Some of them are quite out there. And if you just take Princess Margaret for example, she was one of the most beautiful women of that era; she was like a movie star in lots of ways. She was very like Elizabeth Taylor. She lived an incredibly exciting life. I think that was because her sister was obviously doing the harder graft, but especially at that time they were glamorous and exciting and beautiful, and the younger generation now are no different I suppose. They represent continuity and a way of life.
⋄ Acting isn’t about what I’m doing. It’s about listening. What is the other person saying? Is my character moved to speak? If they do say something, why do they say it? I lean heavily on my fellow actors, and I’m very lucky to be on set with talented people. I would be terrible delivering monologues I think.
⋄ I think generally British people are more culturally cynical about the things that involve our own country. Especially the royals. And in any country, if you’re close to something, you view it differently, but it will be interesting to see.
⋄ My granddad, one of 13, is from Dublin, my nan, one of 11, from Naas, and they met, hilariously, at a dance in west London. I do think about generational things. I think how quickly my nan and grandad’s life – coming to London where the Irish were completely stigmatized and they just worked themselves to the bone – six kids in a two up, two down. And then suddenly my mum – the eldest – went to university.
• Studied drama and film studies at Liverpool John Moores University, and then did a one year course at the Oxford School of Drama, graduating in 2007.
• Was considered one of the 55 faces of the future by Nylon Magazine’s Young Hollywood Issue (May 2010).
• Attended Aylesbury High School.
• Had juvenile arthritis from the ages of 12 to 15.
• Younger sister of Gemma Foy (b. 1979) and Robert Foy (b. 1982).
• Is a lifelong avid fan of Bruce Springsteen.
• Is just 13 years younger than Victoria Hamilton, who played her mother on The Crown (2016).
• Childhood celebrity crush was Stephen Gately of Boyzone.
• Won the 2018 Emmy Award in the Lead Actress in a Drama Series category for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown.
• Is the fourth actor to take on the role of ‘Lisbeth Salander’ from the ‘Millennium’ book series by Stieg Larsson.
• By her own admission when she won the Emmy for her performance in The Crown (2016) she had expected Sandra Oh to win for Killing Eve instead.
• She plays a supporting role in the 2011 Nicolas Cage film Season of the Witch.
• She grew up as the youngest of three children.
• She made her stage debut in the play The Miracle.