Fans of Netflix's The Crown might find themselves wondering if they've started playing the wrong episode when they sit down to watch season 5, as they will at first be greeted by a very different Queen than they imagined - one played once again by Claire Foy.


However, there's nothing wrong with the episode. In fact the new season - which introduces Imelda Staunton as the Queen and the third actress to play the role - actually starts with Foy making a surprise cameo appearance.

The black and white intro to episode 1 shows a programme called The Queen in Scotland, documenting the Queen's visit to John Brown's yard on Clydeside in 1953, where she launched HMS Britannia.

In a speech for the ship's launching ceremony, Foy's Elizabeth says: "I am delighted to join you in Clydebank today for the launch of this, the latest royal yacht. I hope that this brand-new vessel, like your brand-new queen, will prove to be dependable and constant, capable of weathering any storm. I now take great pride in naming this ship Britannia."

Claire Foy in The Crown Season 1
Claire Foy as the Queen in The Crown season 1. Alex Bailey/Netflix

She adds that she wishes "success to her and to all who sail in her" before launching a bottle of Empire Wine. Following the singing of Rule Britannia, the footage then fades into colour and settles on an image of the older Queen, played by Staunton.

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This opening scene sets up a major storyline for season 5 which sees the royal yacht in need of repairs, but new Prime Minister John Major asks Her Majesty to seek alternative funding arrangements rather than having them be Government-funded.

This is the second time Foy has returned to her role as Elizabeth II, after also making an appearance in a flashback during the eighth episode of season 4.

Ahead of the fifth season's debut, new Prince Philip actor Jonathan Pryce argued that Foy and her Philip co-star Matt Smith "had it easy" in comparison to himself and Staunton, suggesting that in the early years, a lot of people saw it as simply a costume drama, whereas the Queen and Prince Philip are "so well known in the years we are playing them".

The Crown season 5 will be released on Netflix on Wednesday 9th November 2022, while seasons 1-4 are available now. Sign up for Netflix from £6.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.


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