The Crown 's Erin Doherty on the Unexpected Hobby That Kept Her 'Sane' After Her Princess Anne Role

Stephanie Petit
·3 min read

Vera Anderson/WireImage Erin Doherty

Erin Doherty shared that her mental health did a "dip" this year after leaving The Crown.

Keeping with their tradition of replacing actors to fit their character's ages, Doherty said goodbye to Netflix's royal drama after two seasons as Princess Anne. Then shortly after filming wrapped on season four, the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"We'd just finished filming the fourth season the week before everything shut down," the actress, 28, told Grazia Daily in a new interview. "The brakes got put on everything, and my mental health did dip. As an actor, I didn't have a purpose. I'd gone from zero to 200 miles per hour and then back to zero. I glimpsed red carpet life, and then it was gone again."

She continued, "To sit in my own thoughts was a difficult process at first, because you tune in with where your body and your mind and your soul and your spirit are. Part of that process is going, 'Right, I really need to look at this, because I don't feel very happy about that,' or, 'I really haven’t addressed these issues that may have been there since childhood.' "

To keep herself busy, Doherty learned how to juggle.

"As in, I’ve got juggling balls in my bag," she told the outlet. "It's kept me sane. I just needed to focus on something."

RELATED: The Crown's Erin Doherty Shares Why Leaving Her Role as Princess Anne Is Like 'Mourning'

Anwar Hussein/Getty; Netflix Princess Anne; Erin Doherty

Doherty said she's still coping with leaving behind the character of Queen Elizabeth's only daughter.

"And now, it’s not part of my life any more. It’s the biggest shock," she explained. "I said it out loud for the first time only a few weeks ago. I had the breakthrough of my body and brain connecting that I’m not going to play this woman any longer. I realized I had to let go of her. It's a sad thing."

John Sciulli/Getty Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Josh O'Connor and Sam Phillips

But Doherty, who is set to star in Netflix's Rebel Ridge alongside Star Wars' John Boyega next, is excited to see what the next Princess Anne actress does with the role.

"I feel really weird about it, but I’m genuinely excited to watch someone else do it," she said. "I want to watch the show: I haven’t been able to watch it for two years now, because I just can’t watch me. I’m excited to hand over the wonderful gift that is Princess Anne and let someone else roll with it."

RELATED: The Crown Skipped One of the Biggest Royal Scandals — Princess Anne's Real-Life Kidnapping!

Doherty previously told Town & Country that perfecting Princess Anne's signature updo was "its own beast" — that could sometimes take up to two hours to replicate.

"Literally, I would sit in the chair, people would come in and go and come in and go, and I sat still in the same place," the actress said. "But it was so necessary for her character because it felt like her hair and her fashion were the way that she was able to express herself in the confined, controlled environment that she grew up in."

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However, the royal revealed she spends much less time on her signature hairstyle.

"Actually I read an article the other day about the, I don’t watch Netflix and The Crown, but the actress was talking about how long it took them to do their hair like I did," Anne said in an ITV documentary marking her 70th birthday earlier this year. "And I'm thinking, 'How could you possibly take that long?' I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes."