The Crown has a considerable reputation for thrusting fledgling stars into the spotlight. For the first series, producers cast a little-known Claire Foy as the Queen, shaping her career in the process – Foy is now a major Hollywood talent. The move saw both Foy and her co-star, Matt Smith, embroiled in a row over the cast’s gender pay gap in 2018. The casting of one of The Crown’s most prominent characters, Lady Diana Spencer, has been announced by the period drama’s creators. Netflix released an announcement through Twitter on Tuesday evening, saying that unknown actress Emma Corrin will take the role of the young future Princess of Wales.Cambridge University-educated Corrin said in a statement: “I have been glued to the show and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is surreal. “Princess Diana was an icon and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. To explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity and I will strive to do her justice!”Corrin will be joining Olivia Colman, who will play the Queen in seasons three and four; and Josh O’Connor, whose most recent credits include The Durrells, as her on-screen future husband Prince Charles, who will appear as a student in the forthcoming series. Camilla Parker Bowles will be played by Call The Midwife star Emerald Fennell.The Netflix hit is a major career jump for the 23-year-old, who has previously racked up only two screen credits since graduating. This year she played Esther Carter in ITV’s Grantchester, and will appear alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Keira Knightley in Misbehaviour, a forthcoming comedy about the 1970 Miss World competition, which was protested by feminists. Her theatre credits are mostly limited to student productions in Cambridge. Corrin is expected to make her Crown debut in 2020, when the fourth series arrives. Season three is expected to appear on the streaming platform later this year and will span the years 1964 to 1976.Season four will take place laterand perhaps stretch into the mid-Eighties, following the ascent of Margaret Thatcher – who is rumoured to be played by Gillian Anderson – as she wins the 1979 general election. Plot details for seasons three and four are yet to be released. However, The Crown has always taken its cue from history. Lady Diana first met Charles, Prince of Wales in 1977, when she was just 16. As the Eighties dawned, she met the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Duke of Edinburgh in November 1980. The pair wed the following summer.