The Crown season five isn’t far away now, which is good news for those of us who binged our way through the Princess Diana and Charles storyline last season as there’s plenty more drama inspired by real-life storylines to get through.
Season four’s eight episodes documented the unravelling of the duo’s marriage drumming up more viewers than the actual Royal Wedding, with 29 million people tuning into the series just in the first week of release.
Margaret Thatcher’s time in power was also brought to the small screen expertly by Gillian Anderson and, while the Iron Lady won’t be as relevant when the show returns, seasons five and six will cover the aftermath of Thatcher’s time in power and Diana’s death.
Season four notably whipped up controversy with the way it covered Charles and Diana’s marriage, with the dramatisation of their arguments gaining the most attention. The Palace even went so as to request a disclaimer be added to the show’s intro to let viewers know it’s not a 100% historically accurate retelling of events.
Netflix denied their request. “We have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events,” said the streamer’s statement. “As a result, we have no plans – and see no need – to add a disclaimer.”
Emma Corrin agreed with the decision. The Princess Diana actress told Variety: “It is very clearly a dramatised version of events. This is fictitious in the same way people don’t mistake Succession for what actually happened with the Murdochs.”
Though she did add that she understands it “comes from a place of sensitivity and protectiveness of the royal family and Diana.”
We expect the drama off-screen to continue for as long as the drama on-screen continues, especially as we get even further into Charles and Diana’s story.
Sadly for fans (though maybe not the Royal family) that won’t be for much longer as creator Peter Morgan has confirmed that The Crown season six will be the final season of the show.
According to Morgan, the idea was always to finish The Crown before it got too close to the present day. “As we started to discuss the storylines for series five, 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, series six will not bring us any closer to present-day – it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
The Crown season 5 release date: When is The Crown’s air date?
Deadline has confirmed filming isn’t set to begin until June 2021. Variety also later confirmed that production won’t start until July at North London’s Elstree Studios. This means The Crown season five won’t air until 2022.
The gap isn’t unprecedented. Whenever the Queen has been recast there has been a longer 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 in 2018.
The Crown season 5 cast: Who stars in it?
It’ll come as no surprise that the cast is undergoing a change. The Crown cast was also revamped after the first two seasons; Claire Foy starred as the Queen before Olivia Colman took over as Her Majesty, and Matt Smith starred as Prince Philip before Tobias Menzies took over the role from season three. Vanessa Kirby starred as Princess Margaret before Helena Bonham-Carter took on the role.
Now the cast is undergoing a change again to reflect the change in time. Here’s who plays who for seasons five and six:
- Queen Elizabeth II – Imelda Staunton
- Prince Philip – Jonathan Pryce
- Princess Margaret – Lesley Manville
- Princess Diana of Wales – Elizabeth Debicki
- Princes Charles – Dominic West (as reported by Variety)
- Camilla Parker Bowles – Olivia Williams
There are a few roles yet to be cast like the Queen Mother, the remaining royal ‘children’ like Princess Anne, Andrew and Edward as well as Prime Minister John Major as we move from Thatcher to the next Tory PM. Major was elected in 1992.
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth (Harry Potter, Flesh and Blood, Downton Abbey)
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.
During a chat with Eamonn and Ruth today, Imelda Staunton revealed how she is preparing to play the Queen in season five of The Crown 👑— This Morning (@thismorning) October 21, 2020
Stream #ThisMorning live from 10am on the ITV Hub 👉https://t.co/Q7IV485mUn pic.twitter.com/3YlYfJYSES
Speaking to Radio Times, 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 (Phantom Thread)
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 (Two Popes)
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.”
Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana (The Great Gatsby, Tenet)
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.”
After winning a BAFTA for her 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 her 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.
Who will play Camilla and Charles?
Olivia Williams (The Nevers) has also now been cast as Camilla Parker Bowles.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Affair star Dominic West is in “final talks” to play the current heir to the throne in season five, however the news has not yet been confirmed. As for other actors who should replace Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, we’ve suggested Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen, The Split’s Stephen Mangan and Wolf Hall’s Damian Lewis for the part – Netflix, take note!
Who could play Tony Blair?
With season five of The Crown covering the 90’s, Labour prime minister Tony Blair, who spent 10 years in No. 10, is about to get the Netflix treatment. While official casting for the role hasn’t been announced, The Sun reported in April that Netflix had approached Andrew Scott for the role, however the Fleabag star is “unavailable” to make the current filming dates for season five.
The Crown season 5 time period: What events will be included?
Netflix hasn’t released an official synopsis but we can work out the time period from the usual timeframe jumps we get between seasons. We ended season four of The Crown in Christmas 1990 just after Thatcher resigned. Season five will focus on the beginning of the ’90s, with John Major taking over as PM.
If we’re correct, then these are the potential events in Royal history that season five could cover:
- November 1990 – John Major is officially appointed Prime Minister by the Queen following Margaret Thatcher’s resignation.
- December 1990 – Princess Eugenie is christened.
- 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 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 Norther 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.
- June 1997 – The auction of dresses owned by Princess Diana raise over £2 million for charity.
- July 1997 – The IRA declares a ceasefire.
- August 1997 – Princess Diana dies in a car crash in Paris.
- September 1997 – The Queen makes a nationwide broadcast tribute to Diana the day before her funeral is held at Westminster Abbey.
- November 1997 – The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
The Queen has 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.
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.
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: When will the trailer be released?
A trailer and promotional material is usually released in the weeks leading up to the official release date. We’re a way off seeing anything as filming isn’t set to begin until June 2021.
You can watch seasons 1-4 of The Crown right now on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, visit our TV Guide, or find out about upcoming new TV shows 2020.