Alongside its huge budget and fascinating source material, a large part of the success of Netflix's The Crown comes down to its spectacular casting.

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Season 5 dramatises real-life events from 1991 to 1997 including Charles and Diana's divorce, the breakdown of both Princess Anne and Prince Andrew's marriages, the catastrophic fire at Windsor Castle, and 'Tampongate'.

Bringing the real history behind the royal drama to life is a brand new cast, with Imelda Staunton taking over from Olivia Colman as the Queen.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Debicki takes over from Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.

Discussing taking over from Corrin and the challenges of the new season, Debicki said: "The challenges were plentiful. The entire making of the show was a challenge, but one that was actually really enriching. It's so easy to back away from evolution or having to grow or learn, to do things differently or change and it's really uncomfortable because it's scary. This show presented an opportunity to constantly re-confront the challenge.

"In the end I really loved that and I learned so much. I learned so much from the other actors and the directors, and from being in a kind of contact with this amazing, remarkable person. It was such a gift."

Meanwhile, Staunton said of her role: "There's such a vast canvas that [creator Peter Morgan] has to cover, and you realise that in this royal jigsaw you are just one part of it.

"Yes, it's The Crown, but it's a jigsaw of many, many parts; it's a thousand-piece jigsaw as opposed to a 250-piece jigsaw. He has many colours to paint and I don't think one can go, 'I want to do this and I want to do that.' That's not what this is about.

"This is about the whole and I quite like just being part of a whole. I wasn't really party to what he wanted to include or to leave out. I'm very happy just to get on with what I’ve got to do."

Want to know who joins them in The Crown season 5 cast and who they play? Read on.

The Crown season 5 cast: Full list of actors and characters

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown
Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown Netflix

The cast of The Crown season 5 features a large ensemble of actors.

  • Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
  • Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Jonny Lee Miller as Prime Minister John Major MP
  • Dominic West as Charles, Prince of Wales
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles
  • Claudia Harrison as Anne, Princess Royal
  • Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Natascha McElhone as Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey
  • Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed
  • Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed
  • Timothy Dalton as Group Captain Peter Townsend
  • Prasanna Puwanarajah as Martin Bashir
  • Bertie Carvel as Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Flora Montgomery as Norma Major
  • Andrew Havill as Robert Fellowes
  • James Murray as Prince Andrew, Duke of York
  • Emma Laird Craig as Sarah, Duchess of York
  • Theo Fraser Steele as Commander Timothy Laurence
  • Sam Woolf as Prince Edward
  • Senan West as Prince William of Wales
  • Will Powell as Prince Harry of Wales
  • Amir El-Masry as young Mohamed Al-Fayed
  • Lydia Leonard as Cherie Blair
  • Humayun Saeed as Dr Hasnat Khan

Also expect to see some flashback appearances from Claire Foy as a young Queen Elizabeth II, Alex Jennings as Edward, Duke of Windsor, and Lia Williams as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor.

For more on may of these, see below.

Imelda Staunton CBE plays Queen Elizabeth II

Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown season 5.
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown season 5. Jay Brooks for Radio Times magazine

Who previously played the character? The role of the Queen was played by Claire Foy in the first two seasons of The Crown, while Olivia Colman took over for the third and fourth runs. Foy had a cameo in the fourth season for a flashback sequence.

What major events await the character? The 1990s were a tumultuous time for the House of Windsor, with Queen Elizabeth II dealing with multiple of her children's marriages falling apart, a fire at Windsor Castle, big political changes and a rise in republicanism.

Where have you seen Imelda Staunton before? A renowned actress of stage and screen, Staunton has appeared in numerous costume dramas and was Oscar-nominated for her turn in Vera Drake. She has also appeared in the Harry Potter franchise as Dolores Umbridge, the Downton Abbey films, Return to Cranford, Pride and more.

Elizabeth Debicki plays Diana, Princess of Wales

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales for The Crown season 5.
Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales for The Crown season 5. Jay Brooks for Radio Times magazine

Who previously played the character? Lady Diana Spencer/Princess Diana was portrayed by Emma Corrin in the fourth season of The Crown.

What major events await the character? Diana sees her marriage to Charles come to a close as she explores her identity within and outside of the Royal Family. Additionally, the prospect of romance emerges with new men in her life.

Where have you seen Elizabeth Debicki before? The Australian actress is best known for her film roles in The Great Gatsby, Widows, Tenet, The Burnt Orange Heresy, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Debicki also stars in the television series The Night Manager opposite Tom Hiddleston.

Sir Jonathan Pryce CBE plays Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Jonathan Pryce plays Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown.
Jonathan Pryce plays Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown. Jay Brooks for Radio Times magazine

Who previously played the character? Matt Smith played the Duke of Edinburgh in the first and second seasons before Tobias Menzies took over in the following two seasons.

What major events await the character? In the 1990s, Philip did his best to support the Queen and also rescue the marriage of Charles and Diana. The series will tackle his friendship with Penny Knatchbull, Lady Romsey.

Where have you seen Jonathan Pryce before? A renowned actor of stage and screen, Sir Jonathan Pryce has starred in numerous shows and films, including Brazil, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Two Popes, Tomorrow Never Dies, The Age of Innocence, Wolf Hall, and Game of Thrones.

Lesley Manville CBE plays Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon

Margaret smoking a cigarette, with a sad expression on her face
Lesley Manville as Margaret in The Crown season 5. Netflix Netflix

Who previously played the character? Princess Margaret was portrayed by Vanessa Kirby in the first two seasons before Helena Bonham Carter took over for the third and fourth runs.

What major events await the character? The Queen's younger sister faced continuous health woes in her final years, before dying in 2002. The fifth season will also see her reunion with her former lover, Group Captain Peter Townsend.

Where have you seen Lesley Manville before? A renowned actress of stage and screen, Manville is known for her collaborations with director Mike Leigh, her work on the BBC comedy Mum, her Oscar-nominated turn in Phantom Thread, and Mrs Harris Goes to Paris.

Jonny Lee Miller plays Prime Minister John Major

Jonny Lee Miller as John Major in The Crown
Jonny Lee Miller as John Major in The Crown season 5 Netflix

Who is John Major? A Conservative politician who serves as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1990 to 1997, succeeding Margaret Thatcher as the country's leader.

Where have you seen Jonny Lee Miller before? Miller is best known for his roles in the films Trainspotting and its sequel, the films Hackers, Mansfield Park, The Flying Scotsman, Dark Shadows, Melinda & Melinda, Byzantium and the series Elementary.

Dominic West plays Charles, Prince of Wales

Dominic West as Prince Charles in The Crown.
Dominic West as Prince Charles in The Crown. Jay Brooks for Radio Times magazine

Who previously played the character? In addition to child actors Billy Jenkins and Julian Baring in the first two seasons, the role of Prince Charles was portrayed as an adult by Josh O’Connor in the third and fourth seasons of The Crown.

What major events await the character? Charles sees his marriage to Diana implode entirely and his romance with Camilla Parker Bowles exposed to the British public.

Where have you seen Dominic West before? West is best known for his television roles in The Wire, The Affair and his BAFTA-winning turn as Fred West in Appropriate Adult. He has also appeared in films including Chicago, 300, Punisher: War Zone, John Carter, The Square, Tomb Raider, and Colette.

Andrew Havill plays Robert Fellowes

Who is Robert Fellowes? The Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II from 1990 to 1999 who is the brother-in-law of Princess Diana, being married to Lady Jane Spencer.

Where have you seen Andrew Havill before? A veteran British character actor, Havill is known for his performances in costume dramas including Nicholas Nickleby, The Iron Lady, Hyde Park on Hudson, The Imitation Game, The King, Downton Abbey, and The Duke.

Marcia Warren plays Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in The Crown season 5.
Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in The Crown season 5. Netflix/Keith Bernstein

Who previously played the character? Victoria Hamilton portrayed The Queen Mother in the first two seasons before being replaced by Marion Bailey for the third and fourth runs.

What major events await the character? The Queen Mother deals with old age and huge changes in the royal family.

Where have you seen Marcia Warren before? Warren is a double Olivier Award-winning stage actress and has also appeared in the BBC sitcom No Place Like Home and the ITV sitcom Vicious.

Olivia Williams plays Camilla Parker Bowles

Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown
Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown Netflix

Who previously played the character? Emerald Fennell portrayed Camilla in the third and fourth runs of The Crown.

What major events await the character? Camilla will find her life changed forever when her love affair with Charles is exposed to the nation.

Where have you seen Olivia Williams before? The British actress is best known for her roles in Emma, The Postman, Rushmore, The Sixth Sense, Lucky Break, An Education, and The Father.

Claudia Harrison plays Anne, Princess Royal

Claudia Harrison as Anne, Princess Royal in The Crown season 5
Claudia Harrison as Anne, Princess Royal in The Crown season 5 Netflix

Who previously played the character? The role of Princess Anne was portrayed as an adult by Erin Doherty in the third and fourth seasons of The Crown.

What major events await the character? Anne's marriage to Captain Mark Phillips ends and she marries her partner, Commander Timothy Laurence.

Where have you seen Claudia Harrison before? Harrison has previously been seen in The Cat's Meow, The IT Crowd and Murphy's Law.

James Murray plays Prince Andrew, Duke of York

James Murray as Prince Andrew, Duke of York in The Crown season 5
James Murray as Prince Andrew, Duke of York in The Crown season 5 Netflix

Who previously played the character? Tom Byrne portrayed the Queen's second son Prince Andrew in The Crown season 4.

What major events await the character? The Duke of York will see his marriage to Sarah, Duchess of York collapse.

Where have you seen James Murray before? Murray is best known for his television roles in Primeval, Defiance, Cucumber, and McDonald & Dodds.

Theo Fraser Steele plays Commander Timothy Laurence

Theo Fraser Steele as Commander Timothy Laurence in The Crown season 5.
Theo Fraser Steele as Commander Timothy Laurence in The Crown season 5. Netflix/Keith Bernstein

Who is Commander Timothy Laurence? A navy officer whos served as an equerry to the Queen, Laurence becomes Princess Anne's lover and later her second husband.

Where have you seen Theo Fraser Steele before? Steele has appeared in the series Hex and The Thick Of It as well as the films The Golden Compass and Mrs Brown.

Emma Laird Craig plays Sarah, Duchess of York

Who previously played the character? Jessica Aquilina portrayed Sarah Ferguson in The Crown season 4.

What major events await the character? Sarah, Duchess of York will see her marriage to the Duke of York collapse.

Where have you seen Emma Laird Craig before? Craig is a relative newcomer, having previously had a minor role in EastEnders.

Sam Woolf plays Prince Edward

Sam Woolf as Prince Edward in The Crown season 5.
Sam Woolf as Prince Edward in The Crown season 5. Netflix/Keith Bernstein

Who previously played the character? Angus Imrie portrayed Prince Edward in The Crown season 4.

What major events await the character? Edward formed a production company Ardent Productions and enters into a relationship with his future wife, Sophie Rhys-Jones.

Where have you seen Sam Woolf before? Woolf previously appeared in small roles in Strike, Call the Midwife and Humans.

Flora Montgomery plays Norma Major

Jonny Lee Miller as John Major and Flora Montgomery as Norma Major in The Crown
Jonny Lee Miller as John Major and Flora Montgomery as Norma Major in The Crown Netflix

Who is Norma Major? The wife of Prime Minister John Major and an English philanthropist.

Where have you seen Flora Montgomery before? The Northern Irish actress has previously starred in The Bill, Urban Gothic, Pulling Moves, Midsomer Murder, the film The Discovery of Heaven and the film Basic Instinct 2.

Natascha McElhone plays Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey

Natascha McElhone as Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey in The Crown
Natascha McElhone as Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey in The Crown Netflix

Who is Lady Romsey? The second cousin of Charles, Prince of Wales and a close friend of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Where have you seen Natascha McElhone before? The British actress is a Hollywood star best known for her roles in the films Ronin, The Truman Show and Solaris. McElhone also appears in the television series Californication, Designated Survivor and The First.

Senan West plays Prince William of Wales

Senan West as Prince William in The Crown season 5.
Senan West as Prince William in The Crown season 5. Netflix

Who previously played the character? Lucas Barber-Grant portrayed Prince William in The Crown season 4.

What major events await the character? William will endure the collapse of his parents' marriage and also goes to boarding school.

Where have you seen Senan West before? Senan is the son of Prince Charles actor Dominic West. This is his first major acting role.

Will Powell plays Prince Harry of Wales

Will Powell as Prince Harry in The Crown season 5
Will Powell as Prince Harry in The Crown season 5 Netflix/Keith Bernstein

Who previously played Prince Harry? Arran Tinker played the character in the fourth season.

What major events await the character? Harry will endure the collapse of his parents' marriage.

Bertie Carvel plays Tony Blair MP

Lydia Leonard as Cherie Blair and Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair in The Crown season 5
Lydia Leonard as Cherie Blair and Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair in The Crown season 5 Netflix

Who is Tony Blair? The Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party who goes on to become one of the most prominent British Prime Ministers in recent history.

Where have you seen Bertie Carvel before? Carvel is an Olivier Award-winning stage star who is also known for his television roles in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Doctor Foster, and Dalgliesh.

Lydia Leonard plays Cherie Blair

Who is Cherie Blair? An English barrister, writer and the wife of Tony Blair.

Where have you seen Lydia Leonard before? The British actress is best known for her roles in Jericho, Apple Tree Yard, Quacks, Absentia, Gentleman Jack, Flesh and Blood, Red Election, and Ten Percent.

Salim Dau and Amir El-Masry play Mohamed Al-Fayed

Salim Daw as Mohamed Al Fayed in The Crown season 5
Salim Dau as Mohamed Al-Fayed in The Crown season 5. Netflix

Who is Mohamed Al-Fayed? A self-made Egyptian-born businessman who begins to move among the circles of high society in the United Kingdom.

Where have you seen Salim Dau before? Portraying Al-Fayed in the 1990s, Dau is known for his turns in Gaza mon amour, Fauda, and Tyrant.

Where have you seen Amir El-Masry before? Portraying Al-Fayed in flashback scenes, British-Egyptian actor El-Masry is best known for his Scottish BAFTA win for his turn in the film Limbo. He has also starred in the BBC/HBO drama Industry, Amazon's Jack Ryan series, and will appear in SAS: Rogue Heroes.

Khalid Abdalla plays Dodi Fayed

Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed in The Crown season 5
Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed in The Crown season 5 Netflix

Who is Dodi Fayed? An Egyptian film producer and the son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi goes on to become the final boyfriend of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Where have you seen Khalid Abdalla before? The Egyptian-British actor is best known for his turns in United 93, The Kite Runner, Green Zone, and the documentary The Square.

Timothy Dalton plays Group Captain Peter Townsend

Timothy Dalton as Group Captain Peter Townsend in The Crown
Timothy Dalton as Group Captain Peter Townsend in The Crown Netflix

Who previously played the character? Ben Miles portrayed the character in the first and second seasons.

What major events await the character? Townsend will have a sure-to-be emotional reunion with his old love, Princess Margaret.

What else has Timothy Dalton been in? Of course, Dalton is best known for his two turns as James Bond in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, in addition to film roles in The Lion in Winter, Flash Gordon, The Rocketeer, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Hot Fuzz and The Tourist. Dalton has also had television roles in the likes of Jane Eyre, Doctor Who, Penny Dreadful, and Doom Patrol.

Humayun Saeed plays Dr Hasnat Khan

Humayun Saeed as Dr Hasnat Khan in The Crown
Humayun Saeed as Dr Hasnat Khan in The Crown Netflix

Who is Dr Hasnat Khan? A British-Pakistani heart and lung surgeon who becomes the lover of Diana, Princess of Wales.

What else has Humayun Saeed been in? A Pakistani actor and producer, Saeed has appeared in numerous Pakistani films and television series.

Prasanna Puwanarajah plays Martin Bashir

Prasanna Puwanarajah as Martin Bashir in Season 5 of The Crown
Prasanna Puwanarajah as Martin Bashir in Season 5 of The Crown Netflix/Keith Bernstein

Who is Martin Bashir? A BBC journalist who famously interviewed Diana, Princess of Wales on an episode of Panorama.

What else has Prasanna Puwanarajah been in? Puwanarajah has appeared in Mum, Line of Duty, Three Families, and Ten Percent.

Alex Jennings plays Edward, Duke of Windsor

Alex Jennings as Edward, Duke of Windsor and Lia Williams as Wallis Simpson in The Crown season 1.
Alex Jennings as Edward, Duke of Windsor and Lia Williams as Wallis Simpson in The Crown season 1. Netflix

Who is Edward, Duke of Windsor? Formerly King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor previously abdicated the British throne and was replaced by his younger brother, King George VI, the Queen's father. The Duke chose his love for Wallis Simpson over duty.

Who else has played the character in The Crown? Jennings played the role in the first two seasons before Sir Derek Jacobi played the character in his final days in season 3.

What else has Alex Jennings been in? Jennings has appeared as Prince Charles in Peter Morgan's The Queen, The Wings of the Dove, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Babel, Belle, and The Lady in the Van. He has also starred in the series Victoria, A Very British Scandal, and Small Axe.

Lia Williams plays Wallis, Duchess of Windsor

Lia Williams as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in The Crown season 1.
Lia Williams as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in The Crown season 1. Alex Bailey/Netflix

Who is Wallis, Duchess of Windsor? The American divorcee who King Edward VIII chose to abdicate the throne for to marry.

Who else has played the character in The Crown? Williams played the role in the first two seasons before Geraldine Chaplin played the character in season 3.

What else has Lia Williams been in? Williams can also be seen in Seaforth, The Russian Bride, Doc Martin, The Missing, Kiri, His Dark Materials, and The Capture.

Andrew Steele plays Andrew Morton

Andrew Steele as Andrew Morton in The Crown season 5
Andrew Steele as Andrew Morton in The Crown season 5. Netflix/Tudum

Who is Andrew Morton? A journalist and biographer who writes a tell-all book about the troubles facing Diana, Princess of Wales.

What else has Andrew Steele been in? Steele has appeared in Bad Sisters, Outlander and Free Rein, while he also appeared in the 2018 drama The Royals.

Oliver Chris plays Dr James Colhurst

Oliver Chris as James Colthurst in The Crown.
Oliver Chris as James Colthurst in The Crown. Jemal Countess / Getty Images

Who is Dr James Colhurst? A doctor and a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales who aids in the publication of a tell-all book by Andrew Morton.

What else has Oliver Chris been in? Chris has appeared in A Very British Scandal, Trying and Motherland.

Jude Akuwudike plays Sydney Johnson

Jude Akuwudike as Sydney Johnson in The Crown season 5.
Jude Akuwudike as Sydney Johnson in The Crown season 5. Netflix

Who is Sydney Johnson? The former valet to Edward, Duke of Windsor who goes on to be a friend and advisor to Mohamed Al-Fayed.

What else has Jude Akuwudike been in? Akuwudike has appeared in films such as Sahara, The Tempest, Beasts of No Nation, Eyimofe, and Benediction. On television, Akuwudike has appeared in acclaimed series such as Cucumber, Chewing Gum, Kiri, Fortitude, In the Long Run, Moving On, and Gangs of London.

Other supporting actors

Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown
Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles and Daniel Flynn as Andrew Parker Bowles in The Crown Netflix

Other supporting characters appear in the series.

  • Jamie Glover as Patrick Jephson
  • Alastair Mackenzie as Commander Richard Aylard
  • Elliot Cowan as Norton Knatchbull, Lord Romsey
  • Edward Powell as Nicholas Knatchbull
  • Elodie Vickers as Alexandra Knatchbull
  • Timothée Sambor as young Prince William of Wales
  • Teddy Hawley as young Prince Harry of Wales
  • Chayma Abdelkarimi as Samira Kashoggi
  • Ahmed Ghozzi as Adnan Kashoggi
  • Abdelatif Hwidar as Aly Aly Fayed
  • Moemen Heshan as young Ali Fayed
  • Mohamed Kamel as Ali Fayed
  • Said Chatiby as young Salah Fayed
  • Semo Salha as Salah Fayed
  • Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Monique Ritz
  • Hanna Alström as Heini Wathén
  • Joshua Kekana as young Sydney Johnson
  • Daniel Flynn as Andrew Parker Bowles
  • Ben Warwick as Jonathan Dimbleby
  • Martin Turner as Lord Chamberlain
  • Richard Dillane as King George V
  • Candida Benson as Queen Mary
  • Adam Buchanan as young Edward, Prince of Wales
  • Aleksey Diakin as Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
  • Anja Antonowicz as Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia
  • Anastasia Everall as Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
  • Julia Haworth as Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia
  • Amy Fourman as Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia
  • Tamara Sulkhanishvili as Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
  • William Bilestsky as Tsesarevich Alexei of Russia
  • Anatoly Kotenev as President Boris Yeltsin
  • Maria Shimanskaya as Naina Yeltsina
  • Gediminas Adomaitis as Yakov Yurovsky
  • Michael Jibson as Steve Hewlett
  • Olwen Fouéré as Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo
  • Phil Cumbus as Charles Spencer, Earl Spencer
  • Nicholas Gleaves as John Birt
  • Richard Cordery as Marmaduke “Duke” Hussey
  • Hadyn Gwynne as Lady Susan Hussey
  • Blake Ritson as Andrew Gailey
  • Stephen Cavanagh as Michael Robinson
  • Gerard Fletcher as Tony Poole
  • Ben Lloyd-Hughs as Mark Bolland
  • Erin Richards as Kelly Fisher
  • Adam Damerell as Alastair Campbell

The Crown seasons 1 to 5 are available to stream on Netflix. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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