When is The Crown season two released on Netflix? Who's in the cast? What's going to happen?
Claire Foy and Matt Smith will star in Netflix's royal drama for the final time before new actors replace them as the Queen and Prince Philip
Netflix’s The Crown, the drama series charting the early days of Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as British monarch, is returning to our screens in 2017.
The show is the streaming service's most expensive series ever produced – but what will we be getting for our money when The Crown season two airs?
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Get clued up on season two below.
Updated 5th December 2017
When is the Crown season two released on Netflix?
The show returns just in time for a Christmassy binge on Friday 8th December.
Is The Crown season two as good as season one?
What do I need to remember from The Crown season one?
Check out our guide to the history of The Crown here.
Is there a trailer?
Yes. Ten years into her reign, Queen Elizabeth seems to be feeling the pressure, while a rift between herself and her husband emerges. Check out our breakdown of the new trailer here.
Since the first trailer, a number of other teasers featuring new footage have been revealed.
In one, Matt Smith and the cast break down Prince Philip's role in season two, explaining that the Queen's husband will be "centre stage" as the series explores the fractures in their relationship.
Who's who and who's new in the cast of The Crown season two?
Former Doctor Who star Matt Smith and Claire Foy will be back for their final run out as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip – they will be replaced in season three as the show moves forward in time to tell the story of the Queen's later reign.
Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret), Victoria Hamilton (the Queen Mother) and Jeremy Northam (Anthony Eden) are also expected to return.
Michael C Hall as US president John F Kennedy
Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret
New arrivals include period piece veteran Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited) as Lord Snowdon, and Dexter’s Michael C Hall, who will play John F Kennedy. Jodi Balfour (Quarry) is also signed on to play Jackie Onassis.
Matthew Goode in Downton Abbey
Sadly, it seems unlikely that John Lithgow’s Winston Churchill will be back, following his resignation at the end of season one. He has not been on set this year.
John Lithgow as Winston Churchill
Gone too is King George VI actor Jared Harris, who has confirmed to RadioTimes.com that he will not be returning to the show, not even in right royal flashbacks.
What is going to happen?
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Foy teased that series 2 will “pretty much pick up where we left off”, and span seven to eight years, taking us up to around 1964.
The new series will examine British political controversies through the eyes of the Queen, including the Suez Crisis in 1956, which cost Prime Minister Anthony Eden his job. Season two will also explore the Queen's relationship with his successor Harold MacMillan.
Showrunner Peter Morgan has confirmed that the focus will be shifting slightly away from the Queen this time round, as other royals take centre stage. This series will hone in on Prince Philip, delving into his past, his continuing relationship with his wife (and monarch), and his son.
“We start to focus on Charles as a young boy and his education, and on Philip and his back story,” Morgan told People magazine.
In the period covered by season two, Philip embarked on a world tour between 1956 and 1957, including taking the newly commissioned Yacht Britannia to the Antarctic Circle. Photographing the local wildlife, he eventually published a book with shots from his expedition, called Birds from Britannia.
The Queen, and their children, remained at home.
Princess Margaret's tempestuous love life will continue to play out in both public and private, with her relationship with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones (later to be Lord Snowdon) forming a key part in the story of Elizabeth and her sister.
The season, in short, is not short of scandal – even if the producers consider a cakewalk compared to later storylines featuring a certain Princess Diana...
Is this really Claire Foy and Matt Smith's final season in The Crown?
Yes. Foy and Smith will both depart the show following this season, as The Crown moves into the latter stages of the Queen’s life. Olivia Colman has been revealed as Foy's replacement, although the casting for Prince Philip is yet to be confirmed.
Colman said she would love to reunite with her Broadchurch co-star David Tennant – although given that he is busy filming Amazon's Good Omens, that might be more of a dream than a reality.