The Crown Season Four curtain closes on a Britain in which Margaret Thatcher is struggling against growing threats to her power and Charles and Diana's marriage continues to unravel publicly. It was the end to a batch of episodes, richer with gripping interpersonal and emotional drama than some of its more politically-focused predecessors, that proved well worth the year-long wait fans endured. Unfortunately, that break may pale in comparison to how long we twiddle our thumbs until Season Five of the acclaimed Netflix series, which will follow the royal family into the late 1990s and early 2000s, arrives.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming season so far.
Who is in the cast for Season 5?
It feels like just yesterday we had to give a little royal wave goodbye to Claire Foy as the Queen in The Crown, but just like that, the sun has set on Olivia Coleman’s take on the role. At the close of Season Four, Coleman passes Queen Elizabeth's crown to Imelda Staunton for the final two seasons of Netflix's beloved historical drama. And now, Netflix has revealed a first look at Staunton in the role, looking like a dead ringer for the monarch.
But with a new era of The Crown comes a new batch of hurdles. "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," Staunton explained. "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."
So far, also joining the cast is Elizabeth Debecki as Princess Diana, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, and Dominic West as Prince Charles. Oddly enough, it sounds like there will be two Dianas moving forward. Debicki will step into the role for seasons five and six, but because of Emma Corrin's massive popularity, it is rumored that she will be returning for flashbacks. (Turns out all Dianas are popular.) Early photos from the Scotland set of The Crown, snagged by People, reveal Debicki in character, walking outdoors with the new actors playing her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Debicki was sporting one of Princess Diana's favorite looks: jeans and a chic, oversized blazer. More on-set photos show Debicki in a replica of an iconic floral dress worn by Princess Di, flanked by West and two young actors as their sons. In these images, we see the royals prepping to board a private flight.
"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 when her casting was announced.
Netflix has revealed a first look at its new Charles and Diana by releasing stills of Debicki and West in character. The images show Debicki lounging on a couch in Diana's trademark haircut, and West standing moodily on a country estate.
The Crown has also cast Natascha McElhone as Penny Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who became close friends with the royals after she married Norton Knatchbull the 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma (the grandson of Lord Mountbatten, who was Prince Philip's uncle). Knatchbull and Prince Philip bonded over their shared love of carriage driving, and ultimately became very close friends. Knatchbull was the only non-family member at the Prince's small, Covid-restricted funeral, save for his personal secretary. Household staff nicknamed her "And Also," because whenever Prince Philip listed guests who were to be invited to a royal function, he would end the list with, "And also Penny."
The Prince's close personal friendship with Knatchbull, who was 32 years his junior, often raised eyebrows. Knatchbull was known by British tabloids as Prince Philip's "keeper of secrets," while Caroline Graham of Mail on Sunday described her as "the second most important woman in the Duke of Edinburgh's life." A source told The Sun, “The highly personal relationship is unlikely to be welcomed as a storyline by the Queen or the rest of the Royal Family.”
There's another royal watching The Crown closely: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, who revealed to Town & Country that she has offered her services to the show as a royal advisor. Ferguson wrote to executive producer Andy Harries, saying, "Why can't I help my character?" Harries declined the offer, but Ferguson won't stop watching The Crown. In an interview on ITV's Love Your Weekend, Ferguson said, "I long to know who's going to play me." Ferguson also opened up about her decades-long battle with how tabloids and popular culture have depicted her, saying, "Every day they either write something I've either done or said, and I haven't. You can't argue with it, so you just get on with it."
While the show had initially declared that Season Five would be its last, creator Peter Morgan announced in July that the final cast would get two seasons, just like the previous casts. As he told Deadline: “As we started to discuss the storylines for series 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. To be clear, series 6 will not bring us any closer to present—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
When will Season 5 be released?
Season Five has begun filming, but won’t air on Netflix until 2022. We would have had to wait this long with or without the pandemic, though. “It's a normal schedule for us because what happens is, as you've noticed, we filmed The Crown in two-season chunks, so we had Claire Foy for two seasons, we've now got Olivia Colman for two seasons,” said Peter Morgan. "And there was a gap year in there in which I frantically do a draft of all the scripts, and then I rewrite the scripts and polish the scripts after that—but at least we have a roadmap of where we're going for the two seasons. And I said that there was no way that I could possibly do that and be showrunning the seasons if they were in production. You do need a gap year to get ahead with the writing.”
What will Season 5 cover?
Season Five is expected to cover the Queen's "annus horribilis" year in 1992, when the royal family faced numerous scandals, including the separation of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the report of an affair between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the publication of topless sunbathing photos of Duchess Sarah Ferguson, and a catastrophic fire at Windsor Castle. The season will also touch on Princess Diana's bombshell BBC Panorama interview, which has come back into the news this year, following recent revelations about reporter Martin Bashir's deceptions.
Seasons Five and Six will follow the Royal drama from the 1990s to the early 2000s. This is a period that spans the ruin of three of Elizabeth’s children’s marriages—Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, and Prince Charles all got divorced in this stretch of time. It will also arrive at Princess Diana’s tragic 1997 death in a Paris car crash, and possibly the 2002 death of Princess Margaret, as well. The series will not, however, arrive anywhere near present day or cover any recent news such as Prince Andrew’s connection to Jeffrey Epstein or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle giving up their royal titles. As creator Peter Morgan told the Hollywood Reporter:
“I'm much more comfortable writing about things that happened at least 20 years ago. I sort of have in my head a 20-year rule. That is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance. Often things that appear absolutely wildly important today are instantly forgotten, and other things have a habit of sticking around and proving to be historically very relevant and long-lasting. I don't know where in the scheme of things Prince Andrew or indeed Meghan Markle or Harry will ever appear. We won't know, and you need time to stop something being journalistic. And so I don't want to write about them because to write about them would instantly make it journalistic. And there are plenty of journalists already writing about them. To be a dramatist, I think you need perspective and you need to also allow for the opportunity for metaphor.”
And now, back to aimlessly scrolling Netflix until 2022.
You Might Also Like