The Crown season five leaves the 1980s firmly behind with a brand new decade, and a brand new cast headed up by Imelda Staunton, as the “fairytale” promised by Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding comes crashing down around the British royal family.
Season five will cover the 1990s, which proved to be a tumultuous time for the royals, including three failed marriages, Princess Diana’s tell-all Panorama interview, a fire at Windsor Castle, and the Queen’s “annus horriblis”.
Series creator Peter Morgan has hinted that the show will come to an end in the mid-Noughties in season six, meaning that season five will probably delve into the first half of the 1990s, perhaps ending just before Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
As with season three when Olivia Colman took over the royal mantle from Claire Foy, The Crown will once again see another changing of the royal guard, with a new cast portraying the British royal family as we head into a difficult decade for “The Firm”.
The Crown cast for season five includes Staunton as The Queen, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, with further announcements in due course.
Read on for your guide to The Crown season five.
When will The Crown season 5 be released?
Season five of The Crown is expected to arrive on Netflix in 2022, with season six expected in 2023. But the two-year wait between seasons is not unexpected; there was also a two-year gap the last time the casts were changed over at the end of season two.
The Crown season 5 cast
The Crown season five will feature the show’s third and final cast, portraying older versions of the royal family.
Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter franchise, Flesh and Blood) will play Queen Elizabeth II herself, taking over from Olivia Colman and Claire Foy.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to confirm Imelda Staunton as Her Majesty The Queen,” The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan told Deadline. “Imelda is an astonishing talent and will be a fantastic successor to Claire Foy and Olivia Colman.”
Speaking on This Morning in October 2020, Staunton said that she had already started working on the role by listening and watching archival footage of the monarch, ahead of filming in summer 2021.
During a chat with Eamonn and Ruth today, Imelda Staunton revealed how she is preparing to play the Queen in season five of The Crown ????
— This Morning (@thismorning) October 21, 2020
The Crown depicts the duty-bound Queen and her flamboyant younger sister, Princess Margaret, as two sides of a coin; and for season five, the role of Margaret will be played by acclaimed actress Lesley Manville.
The Oscar-nominated Phantom Thread star (who was reportedly the producers’ first choice for the role) will be following Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Kirby, who both played Princess Margaret in previous seasons.
“I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret, the baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don’t want to let the side down,” Manville said.
Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret in the fifth season of The Crown. pic.twitter.com/R5aZEBOW0t
— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) July 2, 2020
She added: “Furthermore, to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy.”
Also confirmed for season five is Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, who will later reprise the role for season six, when The Crown will end. The actress, known for The Night Manager and Tenet, is following in the footsteps of Emma Corrin, who originated the role in season four.
Debicki said: “Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many. It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me hooked from episode one.”
In an interview with The Mirror, she added: “It’s a dream role. She is such a remarkable human being and she really does still live in the hearts of so many people. I’m overwhelmed, I’m terrified and I’m excited. I can’t wait to start.”
Meanwhile Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) will take over from Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies in the part of Prince Philip.
“I am delighted to be working with Netflix again,” he said. “The positive experience I had making The Two Popes has given me the confidence to tackle the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip. To be doing so with Peter Morgan and in the company of Imelda and Lesley will be a joy.”
While it’s been reported by Variety that Dominic West (The Affair) is in talks to play Prince Charles, that’s yet to be officially confirmed (in the meantime, check out our guide to who should replace Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles).
When will The Crown season 5 begin filming?
Speaking in October 2020, series lead Imelda Staunton told This Morning that The Crown season five would begin filming in July 2021.
Earlier in the year, Staunton told Entertainment Weekly that her research for the role is “ongoing” – but she anticipates filming on season five being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that so many TV productions have been on pause.
“I think everything in the world is going to get pushed on, isn’t it?” she said. “So who knows? I’ve been chipping away at it quietly.”
Deadline previously reported that filming for season five is set to begin in June 2021, and that a pause was always planned in between seasons five and six to account for the cast changeover.
After all, seasons one and two were filmed together and released in 2016 and 2017; and seasons three and four were filmed together and released in 2019 and (hopefully) 2020.
What will happen in The Crown season five?
The Crown season four carried us up until the end of Margaret Thatcher’s time in Number 10 Downing Street, in 1990. This means that season five will begin with a new decade, and a new British Prime Minister: John Major.
Major was Prime Minister from 1990 until May 1997, which would prove a neat stopping point for season five if the show’s creator, Peter Morgan, intends to cover Princess Diana’s tragic Paris car crash and death in season six (she died in August 1997).
The early 1990s proved extremely eventful for the British royal family: Princess Anne got divorced; Prince Andrew separated from Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson; and Princess Diana and Prince Charles also separated, kicking off ‘The War of the Waleses’ and shattering the public’s “fairytale” image of the couple.
Andrew Morton’s 1992 biography of Diana proved particularly scandalous, revealing Princess Diana’s bulimia.
Three years later, Diana gave an explosive interview to Martin Bashir on BBC One’s Panorama, in which she famously spoke about Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles: “There were three of us in the marriage.”
Find out more about Charles and Diana
Did you know Prince Charles dated Diana’s sister Sarah Spencer?
It turns out there was a lot more to Charles and Diana’s marriage than we thought.
Princess Diana and Princes Charles’ Australia tour went down a storm, but left a sour taste in the mouths of some…
You can watch seasons 1-4 of The Crown right now on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, visit our TV Guide, or find out about upcoming new TV shows 2020.