Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman will take on the role of Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix's The Crown Mark Davis/Getty Images

Netflix has announced its selection of British actress Olivia Colman to play the lead in the future seasons of its hit drama The Crown. Based on the original plan to replace the actress playing Queen Elizabeth II in order to portray an older monarch, the studio will be replacing Golden Globe-winning actress Claire Foy at the end of season 2.

Colman will take over the role for seasons 3 and 4 following which Netflix will once again cast a new actress.

The Crown covers a decade or so of Elizabeth's life in each season, and the 43-year-old is expected to play the part of the Queen from around 1963 onward.

The Crown casting follows Colman's casting in Broadchurch, Fleabag, The Lobster and Hot Fuzz. She most recently earned a 2017 Golden Globe for her supporting role in The Night Manager.

"What's so beautiful about Claire is her youth," series creator Peter Morgan explained of the plan to replace the cast, in an interview with Variety ahead of the season one premiere. "You can't ask someone to act middle-aged. Someone has to bring their own fatigue to it. The feelings we all have as 50-year-olds are different than the feelings we all have as 30-year-olds. That informs everything we do."

Season 1 of The Crown covered the period between Elizabeth's marriage to Philip in 1947 to the disintegration of Princess Margaret's engagement to Peter Townsend in 1955.

Season 2 is expected to follow the Queen and the other royals from around 1957 through 1964. This will include Her Majesty's Armed Forces fighting an illegal war in Egypt and the downfall of Harold Macmillan as prime minister.

According to Morgan, the new season is also expected to lay the focus on Prince Philip (played by Matt Smith) and his childhood along with his relationship with the young Prince Charles.

Season 2 of The Crown releases on Netflix on 8 December and along with Foy and Smith, will see the return of Victoria Hamilton, Vanessa Kirby, Nicholas Rowe, Pip Torrens, Jeremy Northam, Ben Miles, and Billy Jenkins. Downton Abbey's Matthew Goode will join the series as Princess Margaret's husband Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Dexter's Michael C Hall will play American President John F Kennedy, with Quarry's Jodi Balfour taking on the role of First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith The Crown
Claire Foy and Matt Smith will be replaced in the third season of Netflix series The Crown Netflix