At long, long last The Crown season 5 is upon us, taking viewers through the events that affected the royal family from 1991 to 1997.


Season 5 features a whole new cast, with Imelda Staunton taking over from Olivia Colman as the Queen, and Dominic West as Prince Charles, a role previously played by Josh O'Connor.

As has become customary for the royal drama, the new instalment has drawn plenty of criticism for the way it blurs fact with fiction.

Before season 5 even aired, reports that it contained a scene in which Charles met with then-Prime Minister John Major to scheme against the Queen, as well as suggestions of a rumoured Prince Philip affair, were met with scorn. Major himself blasted it as a "barrel-load of nonsense" ahead of its release, while Dame Judi Dench also criticised its historical accuracy.

Since season 5 has aired, however, many have pointed out how it portrays Camilla Parker Bowles and Charles in a much more positive light than previously expected. Something to which Olivia Williams, who plays Parker Bowles in the show, had alluded before it was released.

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The actress told and other press that the palace “shouldn't be frightened” of what the Netflix series portrays, as the show is about the crown first and foremost – and not individual members of the royal family.

So, what exactly does The Crown season 5 cover? Here is all you need to know about the new instalment.

The Crown season 5 release date and time

The Crown season 5 landed on Netflix on Wednesday 9th November 2022 at 8am BST.

The fourth season of the Netflix drama was released back in 2020, so there has been two years between seasons.

The gap isn't unprecedented. Whenever the Queen and the rest of the characters have been recast there has been a long break between seasons.

When Claire Foy handed the reins (or is that reign?) over to Olivia Colman after the first two seasons, there was a similar hiatus with no new episodes between 2017 and 2019.

How many episodes are in The Crown season 5?

Jonathan Pryce as Prince Phillip and Natascha McElhone as Penny Knatchbull in The Crown season 5
Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip and Natascha McElhone as Penny Knatchbull in The Crown season 5 Keith Bernstein/Netflix

There are 10 episodes in The Crown season 5, the same as the previous four seasons.

The episode titles are available below.

  1. Queen Victoria Syndrome (55 minutes)
  2. The System (49 minutes)
  3. Mou Mou (52 minutes)
  4. Annus Horribilis (53 minutes)
  5. The Way Ahead (49 minutes)
  6. Ipatiev House (58 minutes)
  7. No Woman's Land (51 minutes)
  8. Gunpowder (55 minutes)
  9. Couple 31 (52 minutes)
  10. Decommissioned (51 minutes)

The series begins in 1991 and ends in the spring of 1997.

Who stars in The Crown season 5?

The cast of The Crown season 5.
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Will Powell as Prince Harry, Senan West as Prince William, and Dominic West as Prince Charles in The Crown season 5 Netflix/Keith Bernstein

The Crown season 5 and 6 cast has already been confirmed by Netflix after all roles have been recast as was the case before the previous two seasons.

This means goodbye to Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Josh O'Connor, Emma Corrin and more.

The new actors will reflect the changing age and times. Here are those who have been cast in the roles below.

Read more: How similar to The Crown cast look like their real life counterparts

Imelda Staunton as 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 Courtesy of Netflix

Imelda Staunton is the third actress to take on the role of the Queen in The Crown following on from Olivia Colman. “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.”

“I have loved watching The Crown from the very start,” Staunton told The Hollywood Reporter after being cast. “As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts. I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”

Staunton has already admitted playing the Queen will have an "extra challenge".

"I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I’m now doing the Queen that we’re a little more familiar with," she told People. "With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I’m playing one that people could say 'she doesn’t do that,' 'she’s not like that,' and that’s my personal bête noire."

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.

Speaking to Radio Times magazine, Colman expressed her support for Staunton. “Imelda is extraordinary and she’s going to do it all much better than me. I can’t wait to watch what she does," she said. Colman added she "wouldn't dare" pass on any advice on tackling the role.

In a virtual conversation put on by Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Colman reflected on her time as the Queen, admitting how hard a role it was to play.

“Because behind closed doors, we don’t know what she’s like,” she said. “I had a little bit of play with that. But definitely… the hardest part I’ve done is someone who’s real. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m quite pleased now to be able to move on to something else.”

Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon

Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon in The Crown season 5
Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon in The Crown season 5 Netflix/Keith Bernstein

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 – who was reportedly the producer's first choice for the role.

“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.

She added: “Furthermore, to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy.”

The Olivier Award-winning actress recently opened up about the “pressure” of playing Princess Margaret, revealing that she was “reading all the books” and rewatching The Crown in preparation for the role.

Helena Bonham Carter said she was "so chuffed" by Manville's casting, explaining: “it’s like handing a baton."

"It’s like this race that we’re all running, and Vanessa Kirby was incredibly enthusiastic and kind and generous and gave me lots of tips,” Bonham Carter said. “I said, help how do I do this! Because you can get a bit overwhelmed by all the research. And you know it’s conspicuous, you know people are going to watch it, which is a great gift.”

She added: “Lesley, I feel like I should hand her the cigarette holder that I used, as a baton. Over to you, woman."

Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown
Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in The Crown Netflix

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 in a statement. “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.”

The season will also tackle the Duke of Edinburgh's friendship with Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey, played by Natascha McElhone.

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales

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

Also confirmed for season five is Elizabeth Debicki as The Crown’s Princess Diana, who will later reprise the role for season six. The actress, known for The Night Manager and Tenet, is following in the footsteps of Emma Corrin, who originated the role in season four.

"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 absolutely hooked from episode one," Debicki said in a statement.

“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,” she told the Mirror.

Speaking later to Gotham magazine she said Diana is "like a symbol – like a magical person."

Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown season 5.
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in The Crown season 5. Netflix

After winning a BAFTA for their portrayal of Diana, Corrin spoke about handing the role over to Debicki. "I would be so willing to [chat with her] if she wanted to reach out, but that’s a decision she has to make for herself," she told Vulture. Corrin did have some advice for their successor. "Make it your own. Put blinkers on for the rest of the world and for the pressure. Grab onto things that resonate with you, that you relate to, or that you empathize with. And always trust the script. It won’t let you down," she said.

Speaking about the season to Entertainment Weekly, Debicki added that she is "so fortunate to have this huge time span of years in which to play the character. It's my hope that people feel that there's an enormous evolution in her as the season progresses.

"For me, it's a journey into a human finding a part of themselves that is profoundly strong — there's a piece that has survived so much and can flourish."

Who will play Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles?

The Crown season 5
The Crown season 5 Netflix

Olivia Williams (The Nevers) has also now been cast as Camilla Parker Bowles, taking over from Emerald Fennell.

Meanwhile, The Affair star Dominic West has been confirmed to play the current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, in seasons 5 and 6.

Who will play Tony Blair and Cherie Blair?

Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel has been cast in the role of Tony Blair, who was the Labour leader and PM who rose to power in 1997.

Meanwhile, Gentleman Jack star Lydia Leonard has been cast in the role of the Labour PM's wife, Cherie Blair.

Who else will star in The Crown season 5?

The Queen's other children have also been cast for the fifth and sixth seasons.

Claudia Harrison will portray Anne, Princess Royal, while James Murray will take on the role of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sam Woolf will portray Prince Edward.

Elsewhere, Emma Laird Craig will portray Andrew's wife, Sarah Ferguson, while Natascha McElhone will portray royal family friend Penelope Knatchbull, Lady Romsey.

Finally, Andrew Havill will portray the Queen's private secretary for the 1990s, Robert Fellowes.

Who has been cast as Prince William?

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

It was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that Dominic West's own son Senan West will take on the role of Charles and Diana's eldest son and future heir to the throne, Prince William.

The role will be 13-year-old Senan's first on-screen role but he clearly impressed producers with his audition to play the Prince.

Prince William will be portrayed by various actors as the character ages: 16-year-old Rufus Kampa and 21-year-old Ed McVey.

A new first-look photo from the sixth series of The Crown has been released, showing Elizabeth Debicki on holiday as Princess Diana with her sons William and Harry, who are portrayed by Rufus Kampa and Will Powell in the scene.

The Crown season 5 time period: What events will be included?

The Crown season 5.
The Crown season 5 Netflix

The series will begin in 1991 during the premiership of Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) and will conclude in the spring of 1997.

The official plot synopsis reads: "With the new decade in its stride, the Royal Family are presented with possibly their biggest challenge to date; as the public openly question their role in '90s Britain.

"As Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton) approaches the 40th anniversary of her accession, she reflects on a reign that has encompassed nine prime ministers, the advent of mass television and the twilight of the British Empire. Yet new challenges are on the horizon. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the transfer of sovereignty in Hong Kong signals a seismic shift in the international order presenting both obstacles and opportunities. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing closer to home.

"Prince Charles (Dominic West) pressures his mother to allow him to divorce Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), presenting a constitutional crisis of the monarchy. Rumours circulate as husband and wife are seen to live increasingly separate lives and, as media scrutiny intensifies, Diana decides to take control of her own narrative, breaking with family protocol to publish a book that undermines public support for Charles and exposes the cracks in the House of Windsor.

"Tensions are set to rise further as Mohamed Al Fayed (Salim Daw) arrives on the scene. Driven by his desire for acceptance of the highest order, he harnesses his self-made wealth and power to try and earn him and his son Dodi (Khalid Abdalla) a seat at the royal table."

Therefore the events that appear in this period are as follows (but aren't all covered in the series) are as follows.

  • January 1991 – The Gulf War begins.
  • February 1991 – Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombs explode at London’s Paddington and Victoria stations.
  • February 1992 – The Queen commemorates her Ruby Jubilee.
  • March 1992 – The Duke and Duchess of York (Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson) announce they are to separate after six years of marriage.
  • March 1992 – Princess Diana’s father – John Spencer, 8th Early Spencer, dies from pneumonia at the age of 68.
  • April 1992 – Princess Anne announces her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips.
  • June 1992 – Princess Diana’s controversial biography, Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton, is published.
  • August 1992 – The Daily Mirror publishes intimate photographs of the Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson) and Texan businessman John Bryan.
  • November 1992 – Windsor Castle is damaged in a fire, causing millions of pounds worth of damage, shortly after which the Queen describes the year as an Annus Horribilis.
  • November 1992 – Prime Minister John Major announces that the Queen is to be taxed from 1993 onwards, marking the end of 60 tax-free years for the monarchy.
  • December 1992 – Princes Charles and Princess Diana announce their plans to separate.
  • December 1992 – Princess Anne marries Commander Timothy Lawrence.
  • April 1993 – Stephen Lawrence is killed in South London.
  • April 1993 – The Queen announces that Buckingham Palace will open to the public for the first time.
  • November 1993 – Princess Diana sues the Daily Mirror over photographs taken of her whilst at a gym.
  • December 1993 – Princess Diana announces her withdrawal from public life and the Queen speaks of her hopes for peace in Northern Ireland.
  • January 1994 – Princes Charles retires from competitive polo.
  • July 1994 – Tony Blair wins the Labour Party leadership election.
  • October 1994 – Prince Philip attends a ceremony in Israel where his late mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, is honoured for sheltering Jewish families from the Nazis during World War II.
  • March 1995 – The Queen and Prince Philip visit Northern Ireland for the first time since the IRA and Loyalist ceasefire before the Queen arrives in Cape Town for the first royal visit to South Africa in 50 years.
  • May 1995 – Britain celebrates the 50th anniversary of VE Day.
  • June 1995 – John Major resigns as leader of the Conservative Party to reassert his authority, and wins the leadership election a month later.
  • November 1995 – The Queen Mother has a hip replacement operation, becoming the oldest patient to undergo such surgery at the age of 95.
  • November 1995 – A Panorama interview with Princess Diana airs on BBC One, in which the Princess of Wales addresses Prince Charles’ affair, her own adultery, her depression and bulimia and the future of the monarchy.
  • December 1995 – The Queen writes to Charles and Diana, urging them to divorce as soon as possible.
  • April 1996 – Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson divorce.
  • August 1996 – Prince Charles and Princess Diana complete their divorce proceedings.
  • May 1997 – Labour Party leader Tony Blair is elected as Prime Minister, beating incumbent John Major.

The Queen said herself that 1992 was an "annus horribilis" aka a horrible year, and she wasn't wrong. Princess Anne divorced Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson split and, not long after, Fergie was papped on holiday with American businessman John Bryan – and that's all before we even get to the Windsor Castle fire.

Oh, and it's also the year Charles and Diana finally announced their separation. The couple's divorce wasn't until 28th August 1996 though, so we'd expect that to fall more into season six.

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

Andrew Morton's book Diana: Her True Story was also published. Morton, a journalist, had already planned to write the book, but Diana heard about his plans and got in touch to give him her side of events. The famous Diana tapes were sent to Morton revealing what she really thought of her marriage troubles, the royal family and Charles. At the time the book rocked the country. More importantly, Diana denied all involvement. Morton even protected her, telling the Independent he felt "she trusted [him" so revealing she was his source would have "been a betrayal". Years later, long after Diana's death the truth – and the tapes – came out.

On 31st August, 1997 , Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed were both killed in a car accident in Paris. The only survivor was Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones. Diana was lying on the backseat of the car at the time of the crash while the vehicle was being pursued by paparazzi attempting to grab a photograph of her.

Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed and Salim Dau as Mohamed Al-Fayed.
Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed and Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed. Netflix

We expect The Crown season five will cover up until Charles and Diana's divorce, leaving Diana's death for the sixth season. Deadline reported the final season will "take the story up to the early 2000s".

The Crown season six could also then cover Prince William and Kate meeting at university in 2001 and the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother in 2002, the same year as the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

The Crown season 5 trailer

A trailer was released as part of Netflix's TUDUM event.

The full official trailer was released on 20th October 2022, highlighting the 1992 fire at Windsor Castle, the controversial BBC Panorama interview that Diana did with Martin Bashir, and the turmoil facing the entire House of Windsor.

You can watch the full trailer above.

When is The Crown season 6 released?

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown.
Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales in The Crown Netflix/Keith Bernstein

The Crown season 6 is expected to be released in late 2023.

Fans might still be reeling from season 5, but that hasn’t stopped thoughts turning towards the next and final instalment.

Well, there’s good news on this front. Season 6 is most certainly in the works and filming began in August 2022.

The sixth and final chapter will continue to focus on the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II and feature the same main cast as season 5.

However, there’ll be some new additions, notably Kate Middleton (newcomer Meg Bellamy), who will appear during the early stages of her relationship with Prince William.

Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy.
Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy.have been cast as Prince William and Kate Middleton, respectively Kim Hardy/Diana Field Photography

As detailed above, Senan West will appear towards the end of season 5 as the Prince, while in season 6, the role will be portrayed by multiple actors as the character ages: 16-year-old Rufus Kampa and 21-year-old Ed McVey.

The series will begin in 1997 and is expected to deal with the final days of Diana, Princess of Wales and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, as well the deaths of Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 2002.

It is currently unknown at which point the series will conclude.

What will The Crown season 6 cover?

The series's final season will depict the events surrounding Princess Diana's death, though the car crash which killed her and then-boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed will not be depicted.

Deadline did report that the crew were said to be "on edge" about shooting the sensitive scenes, with a source close to the production telling : "We've been dreading getting to this point.

"The countdown is two weeks and while we’re calmly carrying on it’s fair to acknowledge that there’s a certain anxiety, a palpable sense of being slightly on edge. I mean, there's bombshell sensitivity surrounding this one."

Before season 5 aired, a first-look image of Imelda Staunton showed the star as the Queen, a role she originally was meant to play only in season 5, before Morgan confirmed season 6 would go ahead in the end.

"As we started to discuss the storylines for season 5, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons," he said in a statement tweeted by Netflix.

"To be clear, season 6 will not bring us any closer to the present-day – it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail."

You can watch seasons 1-5 of The Crown right now on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.


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