“Pinch me, please,” Bellamy wrote of the announcement on Instagram. “I will strive to do Kate justice.”
At this point, The Crown has launched the careers of several of Britain’s most respected young actors, with casting directors Nina Gold and Robert Sterne renowned for finding little-known talents capable of morphing into the Windsors on screen in a way that verges on uncanny. Take Emma Corrin, who joined Peter Morgan’s series as Diana, Princess of Wales fresh out of Cambridge University with only a handful of small parts to their name. “It was like: ‘One day I want to go to the moon—that would be fun,’” they told British Vogue of the surreality of auditioning for the gig in the magazine’s October 2020 issue. Within a year, they would have scooped a Golden Globe for their performance.
Perhaps no other role in The Crown franchise will have been quite as difficult to cast as that of the Duchess of Cambridge, though—making the announcement that recent school leaver Meg Bellamy would be starring as a young Kate Middleton truly internet-breaking. According to Deadline, which broke the news of the casting, Bellamy responded to an open call for submissions for the coveted part, despite having no professional experience. The 19-year-old—who earned an A* for drama at St Crispin’s School, per The Telegraph—studied in Wokingham, not too far from the village where Kate lived with her family as a girl.
“Pinch me, please,” Bellamy wrote of the announcement on Instagram. “I will strive to do Kate justice.” The Berkshire native will portray the mother of three during her years at St Andrews University between 2001 and 2005, when her relationship with Prince William began. The pair studied History of Art together (although William would later change his degree to Geography, reportedly on Kate’s advice). Appearing as her future husband? Ed McVey, a Drama Centre London graduate who most recently served as an understudy in Camp Siegfried at the Old Vic. His brilliantly nonroyal comment on landing the role: “I’m absolutely buzzing.”
Of course, Netflix has yet to reveal precisely which moments from the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s relationship will be captured in the series, but given how little is known about the early days of William and Kate’s romance, the few moments that the press did manage to capture may well feature. That includes the night when William first began to see Kate as more than a friend during a charity fashion show (specifically after she wore that infamous sheer dress) and the skiing trip to Klosters when the world first realized the pair had become an item.
The sixth—and final—installment of The Crown will also cover an earlier period in William’s life, with actor Rufus Kampa appearing as a teenaged version of the Prince. While season five will depict the collapse of the Wales marriage (and Diana’s subsequent rebellion), it’s only season six that will bring to life the fallout from the Princess’s death in 1997—and the damage it did to both her sons’ psyches and the royal family’s image. Start reading up on Windsor history now ahead of the next installment’s release this November.
This post was originally published on Vogue UK