It’s almost time to bid farewell to Netflix's royal drama The Crown, and it certainly looks set to go out with a bang.

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Season 6, production on which has begun, will cover the period following season 5’s focus on Prince Charles and Diana’s divorce, beginning with the 1997 death of Princess Diana and continuing on into the 21st century.

The principal cast of season 5 will be returning for the final season, including Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Dominic West as Charles, Prince of Wales and Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales.

Ever since season 1 aired in 2016, The Crown has drawn plenty of criticism for its fictionalisation of real historic events.

Season 5 received backlash before it even aired due to reports it contained a scene in which Charles meets with then-Prime Minister John Major to plot against the Queen, which Major himself blasted as a “barrel-load of nonsense”. Read about the real history behind the royal drama here.

However, Debicki previously told Entertainment Weekly that the show's creator Peter Morgan will approach the death of Diana with care in upcoming scenes.

"I'll say that Peter [Morgan, creator] and the entire crew of this job do their utmost to really handle everything with such sensitivity and truth and complexity, as do actors," she said.

She continued: "The amount of research and care and conversations and dialogue that happen over, from a viewer's perspective, something probably that you would never ever notice is just immense. From that very first meeting [with] Peter, I knew that I'd entered into this space where this was taken seriously [in] a deeply caring way. So that's my experience of the show."

Want to know what else is happening in The Crown season 6 and which new cast members will be joining? Read on for everything you need to know.

The Crown season 6 release date speculation: When will it air?

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

In line with previous seasons, The Crown season 6 will likely arrive in 2023:

  • Season 1 - 2016
  • Season 2 - 2017
  • BREAK
  • Season 3 - 2019
  • Season 4 - 2020
  • BREAK
  • Season 5 - 2022

However, Netflix hasn't confirmed when it will arrive, so watch this space for updates.

Season 6 began filming in September 2022, and is still ongoing.

Creator Peter Morgan previously planned for season 5 to be the show's last, but announced a U-turn after changing his mind.

In a Tweet from the official Netflix account back in 2020, Morgan explained: "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 continued: "To be clear, season 6 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 6 cast: Who's in it?

Aside from a handful of exceptions, the majority of The Crown cast have stuck around for two seasons before making way for a new crop, so that's:

  • Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
  • Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Dominic West as Charles, Prince of Wales
  • Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles
  • Claudia Harrison as Anne, Princess Royal
  • James Murray as Prince Andrew, Duke of York
  • Emma Laird Craig as Sarah, Duchess of York
  • Sam Woolf as Prince Edward
  • Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed
  • Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed
  • Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair MP
  • Lydia Leonard as Cherie Blair
The Crown Season 5
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown. Netflix

It's been reported that Rufus Kampa and Ed McVey will play 15-year-old William and young adult William respectively. Meg Bellamy will reportedly play Kate Middleton.

In October, it was reported that the production is casting for Prince Harry between the ages of 16 and 20, with the role set to be a substantial one.

There will likely be other new faces scattered throughout the final season, too.

The Crown season 6 timeline: What events will it cover?

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

Deadline reported that season 6 will take audiences into the early 2000s, but up to what point exactly, we don't yet know.

Netflix hasn't released an official synopsis, but we can make some educated guesses about what will be covered:

Diana and Dodi Fayed's deaths (1997) - the pair were killed in a car accident in Paris on 31st August, 1997. They were being chased by paparazzi at the time. Following the tragedy, the Queen initially remained at Balmoral in Scotland with Charles, William and Harry. Controversially, the Buckingham Palace flag wasn't flown at half-mast, which drew extensive criticism from the public, but the Queen did eventually deliver a televised address.

Queen and Prince Philip's golden wedding anniversary (1997) - the pair celebrated 50 years together. "He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years," said the Queen in a speech at Banqueting House in London.

William and Kate's relationship (2001 onwards) - the pair met and began dating during their time at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. It remains to be seen if The Crown will cover their wedding in 2011.

Death of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret (2002) - the pair both died in 2002, just weeks apart.

Queen's Golden Jubilee (2002) - Elizabeth was the first British monarch since Queen Victoria to sit on the throne for 50 years. To celebrate the occasion, she traveled a colossal 40,000 miles that year, visiting people across the country and the world.

Prince Charles and Camilla's marriage (2005) - the pair had a civil ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall, before a marriage blessing at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Tony Blair's time in office (1997 - 2007) - he entered the frame at the very end of The Crown season 5 following Labour's landmark general election win in 1997. He reportedly had a strained relationship with the Queen, although neither addressed the speculation. The Iraq War was declared in 2003 following the events of September 11th, 2001.

How many episodes are in The Crown season 6?

Seasons 1-5 of The Crown all have 10 episodes apiece, so we'd expect season 6 to stick to that number.

Is season 6 really the final season of The Crown?

As it stands, season 6 is the final chapter of The Crown, but there has reportedly been talk of a prequel series.

Back in April this year, Deadline said that Netflix was in "early-stage conversations with The Crown producer Left Bank."

"Not yet in development nor near greenlight stage," added the streamer.

The publication said the series would likely take place during the pre-World War II era or during Queen Victoria's reign.

Back row - Senan West, Will Powell, Dominic West, Elizabeth Debicki,Theo Fraser Steele, Claudia Harrison, Sam Woolf, James Murray, Front row - Marcia Warren, Imelda Staunton, Jonathan Pryce, Lesley Manville
The case of The Crown. Keith Bernstein/Netflix

Will The Crown cover Harry and Meghan's relationship?

For those hoping Peter Morgan has plans to explore the former royals' relationship in future seasons, we'd advise against holding your breath.

When the season 6 announcement was made, this is what he had to say: "To be clear, season 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan addressed the pair specifically: "Meghan and Harry are in the middle of their journey, and I don't know what their journey is or how it will end. One wishes some happiness, but I'm much more comfortable writing about things that happened at least 20 years ago."

So, in 20 years time then...?

The Crown seasons 1-5 are available to stream now on Netflix. 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? Visit our TV Guide or Streaming Guide.

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