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Haverhill actor to be catapulted to a worldwide audience in the new series of The Crown

An actor who first trod the boards with the Haverhill based Centre Stage Company is to reach a global TV audience today when series four of The Crown, premiers on Netflix.

Tom Byrne (whose real surname is Bailey) is playing Queen Elizabeth II's second son, The Duke of York, better known as Prince Andrew.

His on-screen mother and father are played by Oscar-winner, Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies and his older brother Prince Charles is portrayed by Josh O'Connor.

Tom Byrne as Fred and Rachel Winters as Fanny in the RSC's production of A Christmas Carol. Picture by Manuel Harlan
Tom Byrne as Fred and Rachel Winters as Fanny in the RSC's production of A Christmas Carol. Picture by Manuel Harlan

Tom, who hails from Kedington and attended the village primary school before going on to Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill, had initially auditioned for the part of Prince Charles, but having failed to get that, instead bagged the role of Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew has this year been in the media spotlight for his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

It was something that Tom, 26, who currently lives in Brixton, London, commented on in an interview with the London Standard.

Tom Byrne. Contributed picture
Tom Byrne. Contributed picture

“People are going to bring their perceptions of Prince Andrew to watch The Crown anyway, I didn’t need to bring my own judgement to it,” he said.

“I thought the best thing I can do is to switch that part of my brain off. It just wasn’t useful to me to engage with that stuff - particularly as I was only playing him as a 20-year-old.”

His involvement in The Crown has also offered Tomanew perspective on the royal family, and in the interview he said henow feels “a lot more empathy for the institution of the royal family than I did before.

"That’s what the show has done - it’s taken these kind of alien people, who are impossible to empathise with, and humanised them.”

A graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Tom uses his grandmother’s surname for acting.

Tom's first role with the Centre Stage Company saw him cast in the Wizard of Oz in 2003 as the mayor of Munchkin City.

He went on to impress in roles that included the Artful Dodger in Oliver at age 11 and two years later Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone, alongside his younger brother Will.

After leaving Samuel Ward Academy he went to Hills Road Sixth Form in Cambridge and the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts for one year.

The fourth seriesof The Crown will cover the period from 1977 to 1990.

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