Season four of The Crown starred Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles for the final time, as season five will usher in a brand new cast, including Imelda Staunton taking up the mantle as Queen Elizabeth II, while Lesley Manville is also confirmed to play Princess Margaret.
However, it’s not yet known who will play Camilla, the second wife to Prince Charles, in the period set to be covered in seasons five and six.
At the start of 1991, Camilla Parker-Bowles was 43-years-old, a year older than her future spouse, Prince Charles (have a read of our predictions for who will play Prince Charles in season five).
This means that we’ll need an actress who can convincingly play Camilla in both her 40s and 50s, while also maintaining some kind of continuity with Fennell’s version of the character.
Here are our predictions.
If anyone can do strong-willed and no-nonsense, it’s Katherine Kelly, whom viewers will likely recognise from Netflix police procedural drama Criminal.
She’s the right age for the role of Camilla in The Crown season five; she’s known for playing authoritative characters; and she has also appeared in a slate of acclaimed dramas, including Cheat, Emmy-winner The Night Manager, Happy Valley, and a scene-stealing turn in Doctor Foster, so would be perfect for The Crown’s version of Camilla.
Bodyguard’s Keeley Hawes has popped up in what seems like every major UK drama series in recent years, and given her period drama credentials, it’s certainly no stretch to imagine her appearing in a stately home as Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown.
She’s also already got a connection to the Netflix royal biopic, having starred alongside Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles for seasons three and four) in The Durrells.
Her other high-profile projects have included Mrs Wilson, Honour, The Hollow Crown, Ashes to Ashes, Line of Duty, Summer of Rockets, and the upcoming 1980s AIDS drama series It’s A Sin.
The Oscar-winning Hollywood icon and Titanic star may be a long shot, but if anyone can snag Kate Winslet, it’s Netflix, which combines prestige with (very) deep pockets.
Winslet is the right age for the role, and is by no means the first Oscar-winner to appear in the series – let’s not forget the casting coup that was Olivia Colman, whose Oscar win for The Favourite was the talk of The Crown set.
What’s more important, however, is Winslet’s proven track record of portraying emotional scenes and complex characters, which will be particularly necessary in The Crown season five which will focus on Charles and Camilla’s extramarital affair.
The only potential spanner in the works is the public’s perception of Winslet as a glamorous leading lady; in The Crown, she would need to provide a down-to-earth contrast to Princess Diana’s character, and the ‘Di-mania’ that swept the globe.
The award-winning actress Emily Watson bears a resemblance to Emerald Fennell, the previous actress to play Camilla Parker Bowles, which would certainly help create a sense of continuity. She also has form when it comes to royal dramas – she previously played The Queen Mother in A Royal Night Out.
Watson has previously starred in Chernobyl, King Lear, Little Women (2017), Apple Tree Yard, On Chesil Beach, The Theory of Everything, Gosford Park, and Breaking the Waves, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.
Helen McCrory previously starred in another, award-winning royal biopic, when she played Cherie Blair in the Oscar-winning Helen Mirren film The Queen. Previous roles have seen her perfect the role of a strong-minded, well-spoken aristocrat, so is it too much of a leap to see her play Camilla in The Crown?
The English actress certainly has the look to play the part, and has previously played stiff-upper-lip types in her varied onstage and on-screen.
Norris has starred in the likes of Spooks (as Ros Myers), Kingdom, Wire in the Blood, Luther, Innocent, Cold Feet, and Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.
Maxine Peake can play everything from chilly QC (in Silk) to frumpy middle-aged woman indulging her paediatrician’s foot fetish (in the recent lockdown series Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads), so it’s not really a stretch to imagine her turning her talents to Camilla. She’s also the right age to play Camilla from early forties to fifties.
Her on-screen credits have included The Bisexual, Shameless, Funny Cow, The Theory of Everything, Three Girls, The Village, while she also delivered an acclaimed onstage performance as Hamlet (released on-screen in 2015).
Descended from both real-life acting royalty (her mother is the late Diana Rigg) and Scottish aristocracy (her father is a Laird), it’s no wonder that Stirling has made a name for herself playing well-heeled roles – so starring as a member of the royal circle would be an easy transition.
The actress has previously featured in such projects as Life, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Tipping the Velvet, Snow White & the Huntsman, The Bletchley Circle, The Detectorists, and Wild Bill.
The oldest actress among our picks, but she has both the look and the versatility as an actress to take on the role of Camilla Parker Bowles.
Lancashire is probably best known for her roles as Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley, and as Caroline in Last Tango in Halifax. She’s also starred in MotherFatherSon, Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Yesterday, and will appear in the upcoming film adaptation of the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
The Crown season four is streaming now on Netflix. The Crown season 5 is expected to air in 2022. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.