"The Crown" is seeking a royal pardon after controversy erupted about the salary gap between stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith.



Last week brought the revelation that Foy was paid less than Smith, even though she plays the titular role of Queen Elizabeth II and he plays Prince Philip.



Smith received a higher salary because he was more famous when Season 1 started (he had played "Doctor Who"). Foy went on to win a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards for her performance.



Left Bank Pictures, which produces the Netflix drama, said, "Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen," but that wouldn't do much for Foy, since the entire cast is changing over. Olivia Colman takes over the role starting in Season 3. Outraged fans called upon Smith to donate the disparity to the Times Up legal defense fund.



Now, Left Bank has issued an apology to both stars:



"We want to apologize to both Claire Foy and to Matt Smith, brilliant actors and friends, who have found themselves at the center of a media storm this week through no fault of their own. Claire and Matt are incredibly gifted actors who, along with the wider cast on 'The Crown' have worked tirelessly to bring our characters to life with compassion and integrity."



"As the producers of 'The Crown,' we at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues."



"We understand and appreciate the conversation which is rightly being played out across society and we are absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias and for a rebalancing of the industry's treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that these issues are tackled, and as a leading production company we want to make our contribution to the debate. As company policy we are engaged in conversations with ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Times Up UK; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice."