Fans of Doc Martin, a popular series that can be found on Netflix and in full on Acorn TV, will notice something familiar when watching Netflix’s The Crown, and that is Dame Eileen Atkins, who plays Doc Martin’s Aunt Ruth Ellingham. Atkins can be seen on The Crown playing Queen Mary, the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. Although her appearance in The Crown is remarkably different, it’s Atkins’ unique voice that gives her away.
Netflix’s The Crown seems to have gathered many of the top-notch British actors (and a few Americans too) for the cast of the series that will allegedly go five seasons, the Inquisitr reports. So it’s no surprise that there will be overlaps with other popular shows in the U.K., including Downton Abbey. Matthew Goode, best known to Downton Abbey fans as Henry Talbot, will play the love interest of Princess Margaret, Antony Armstrong-Jones, who will become Lord Snowdon.
Movie Pilot broke down the cast of Netflix’s The Crown and shared the pedigree of Dame Eileen Atkins, who steals quite a few scenes as Queen Mary. They note that Atkins often plays a dominant, in control woman, and that is also true on Doc Martin, where she is Doc Martin’s aunt, but she is also Dr. Ruth Ellingham, a noted psychiatrist, who brings her no-nonsense opinions to everything she does.
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And Dame Eileen Atkins also brings a no-nonsense approach to Queen Mary, according to Movie Pilot.
“Dame Eileen Atkins has the role of Queen Mary, Elizabeth’s grandmother and the last link to the Victorian era. Mary is smart, strong willed, distant, but devoted to her duty as a former monarch and advisor to a future one.”
And sure, Queen Mary, played by Dame Eileen Atkins, will only be in one season of the Netflix series The Crown (spoiler alert: she outlives her son, Bertie, but not by much), but the manner of Queen Mary has influence through much of the demeanor and decision-making of Queen Elizabeth II, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In The Crown, the king dies suddenly (well, not suddenly, as modern eyes can see that having a lobe of your lung removed in the 1940s was likely a sign that your days are numbered), and the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II absorbs as much as she can from Queen Mary, as played by Atkins. She explains that when Elizabeth faces a conflict in her life, perhaps between family and the monarchy, the crown must always come first.
“The crown must win. The crown must always win.”
But Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary is never better than when she is dealing with her other son, David, who abdicated in order to be with the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson, who was twice divorced and American. David was given the title of Duke of Windsor after he passed the crown to his brother, Bertie (the subject of the movie with Colin Firth, The King’s Speech). Queen Mary blames the Duke of Windsor with killing the king, as the stress of the crown was not supposed to be his (truly, it was the two pack a day cigarette habit that likely caused his early demise).
But the Duke of Windsor is best when he delivers one-liners, even to his mother. He has snippy names for the whole family, which were created with his wife, Wallis. Queen Mary calls Wallis “that woman.” David, the Duke of Windsor, tells his niece, Queen Elizabeth, that England does queens much better than they do kings.
“Generally we’re better at queens than kings in this country.”
While fans of Doc Martin will certainly miss Atkins on The Crown, she will be back on the next season of Doc Martin, where she is still trying to get the farm B&B to work with Al Large.
Did you recognize Doc Martin’s “Aunt Ruth” as Queen Mary on Netflix The Crown?
[Featured Image by Joel Ryan/AP Images]