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Netflix responds to rumours The Crown's Olivia Colman to be replaced by Harry Potter's Imelda Staunton

Adam Silverstein

From Digital Spy

When Olivia Colman ends her reign as the Queen in The Crown, word on the rumour-mill is that she's going to be replaced by another legendary actress: Vera Drake and Harry Potter star Imelda Staunton.

According to the Daily Mail, the 63-year-old is in line to take over the role of Elizabeth II for seasons five and six of the Netflix drama once Colman steps down after season four. The third season was released last weekend.

Photo credit: David M Benett - Getty Images

A Netflix spokesperson told Digital Spy that Staunton's casting is only a rumour for now, saying: "We are currently filming season 4 of The Crown but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation."

Claire Foy portrayed the young monarch in the first two seasons before Colman took over.

A huge star of stage and screen, Staunton has actually got history playing royalty before. She was the Queen Mother in BBC Two's 2003 drama Cambridge Spies for a couple of episodes.

A year later, Staunton received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in Mike Leigh's gritty film Vera Drake, about a working-class woman in 1950 who performs illegal abortions.

Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Related: Did *that* moment in The Crown season 3's finale actually happen?

Her other roles include Mrs Blatherwick in Nanny McPhee and Dolores Umbridge in two of the Harry Potter films: Order of the Phoenix and Deathly Hallows – Part 1.

And most recently, she turned up with her husband Jim Carter to join the original actors in the Downton Abbey movie, playing Lady Maud Bagshaw.

Still, we've got (at least) one more season of Olivia Colman's Queen first – and it already sounds about as explosive as expected.

The Crown is available to watch on Netflix.

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