The Crown’s Claire Foy never intended to play Lady Margaret as ‘sympathetic’

A Very British Scandal: Claire Foy stars in BBC trailer

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A Very British Scandal, which will conclude on Tuesday night, follows a dramatised version of real-life events surrounding the scandalous marriage and then divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll during the 1960s. The Crown actress Claire Foy portrays the role of Lady Margaret Campbell, while Paul Bettany plays her on-screen husband, Ian Campbell.

The period drama focuses on one of the most publicised and brutal legal cases to date.

Claire plays Lady Margaret, who was a British socialite and was well known for being scandalous in the press.

She was often branded the Dirty Duchess by the newspapers and loved to be in the limelight.

Claire, who famously played Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, went on to add that Lady Margaret was “very different” to anything she had played before.

Speaking in an interview with and other press, the actress opened up what it was like to play the Duchess.

Claire began: “You would look at her and think, she doesn’t look like she’s massively impressive as a person, she just looks like a woman in a dress at a certain period of time. 

“There’s a difference in the period, in the sense that at that period of time, she was the height of class, fashion, beauty and interest, everyone was fascinated by her.”

The 37-year-old went on to admit she never wanted her character to come across as “sympathetic”.

“I mean, I think she’s amazing,” Claire explained. “I never intentionally tried to set her out to be that [sympathetic].

“I think my intention was to be really honest about who she was as a person.

“I think there’s sometimes can be a slight inclination towards people with lots of money in class and things like that of holding them on a pedestal.

“For all the things they have in their life, whatever that may be. They aren’t things to be worshipped and adored and lauded.”

“I think you see them basically as the people that they are, incredibly privileged and incredibly spoiled,” she added.

Claire recalled how Lady Margaret was the “apple of her dad’s eye” and she thought she could manipulate men.

However, when she met her husband Ian, he was one person she couldn’t manipulate, and she didn’t understand why.

Their relationship soon took a turn and they ended up in court embroiled in a very messy divorce.

“That keeps her interested for a while,” Claire explained. 

“And I’ve always firmly believed that regardless of who she was, which was a deeply flawed woman who put her trust in the wrong people. 

“She was incredibly gullible, incredibly vulnerable and really not streetwise in any way, shape or form.”

Claire went on to claim Lady Margaret had a “real pathological problem with lying”.

“Like, there are tapes that you can listen to where you can hear the clocks in her brain,” Claire said.

“But like a four-year-old child, she was bad at it. But she doesn’t see the connection.”

A Very British Scandal continues on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.

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