Claire Foy in The Crown

Everything We Know about ‘The Crown’ Season 5—And The Real Events Behind It

The Crown season is upon us yet again, with arguably its most anticipated series to date, because now we’re taking a trip back to the ‘90s. True to The Crown fashion, its fifth season will see more changes in its cast, with Imelda Staunton taking over as the monarch. But what does her real-life counterpart’s recent passing mean for the show’s filming? Just what can we expect for Series Five? Here is everything that we know so far.

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An all-new cast

Gillian Anderson, Emma Corrin, and Olivia Colman in The Crown (2016)

As mentioned, Imelda Staunton will be taking the lead for Series Five, with Jonathan Pryce following a step behind her as Prince Philip. They will be further joined by Dominic West, who will now be playing King Charles III (and who himself was recently involved in a cheating scandal like his counterpart on the show. Yikes), and the stunning Elizabeth Debicki as the late Princess Diana, whose striking resemblance to the late noble has not gone unnoticed.

In an interview with The Mirror, Tenet star Debicki shared, “[Diana is] a dream role. She is such a remarkable human being and she really does still live in the hearts of so many people. I’m overwhelmed, I’m terrified and I’m excited. I can’t wait to start.”

Other actors who are expected to join this season’s new Royal Family include:

  • Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Marcia Warren as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles (now Queen Consort)
  • Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne
  • James Murray as Prince Andrew
  • Emma Laird Craig as Sarah, Duchess of York
  • Sam Woolf as Prince Edward

Speaking to fans through a video Netflix released during #TUDUM, Staunton shared her excitement about taking on the role of the late Queen, all while praising the actresses who came before her.

“I’m delighted to be here, inheriting the role of Queen Elizabeth from two outstanding actresses—most recently, the wonderful Olivia Colman, and who could forget the actress who originated the part, Claire Foy? I will do my utmost to maintain the very high standard that they set. Hopefully I look calm, collected and capable. My stomach, meanwhile, is doing somersaults.” 

Unlike most shows, which give their cast members the opportunity to “grow into” their characters, The Crown uniquely switches its ensemble every two seasons. For its first two seasons, viewers were introduced to the Royal Family and the first years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign with Claire Foy and Matt Smith playing the late sovereign and her husband and consort, Prince Philip, respectively. Joining them were Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret; Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary; Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and King George VI’s wife; Ben Miles as Group Captain Peter Townsend; Greg Wise as Louis Mountbatten; Jared Harris as King George VI; and Alex Jennings as The Duke of Windsor.

In Season Three, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies took over and were joined by Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret; Marion Bailey as Queen Elizabeth; and Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten. Season Three also saw the introduction of Emma Corin as a young Princess Diana, alongside Josh O’Connor as Charles, Prince of Wales. The season covered their “courtship” (if you could call it that) and the early years of their tumultuous marriage.

Considering that Staunton did play Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and fueled such hatred in me as a young child, I think she’ll do a great job with this role, too. 

The timeline

Emma Corrin and Josh O'Connor in The Crown (2016)

Like the end of Season Two, The Crown’s latest season ended with its traditional “family photo,” but this time during the Christmas of 1990, with everyone’s personal lives essentially falling apart behind the scenes and Emma Corrin’s Diana looking tearfully into the camera. Although we have yet to receive concrete confirmation about a timeline, based on the released trailer so far and, well, the chronology of the show, it’s safe to assume that the show will probably pick up at 1992, which is often regarded as the Queen’s “annus horribilis.” It will most likely cover the divorces of her three children, then Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s very public fallout and divorce, and later on, the Princess’s tragic passing. If they choose to span out this season’s timeframe for at least a decade, as it often does, we may also see both the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret’s consecutive passings, in addition to the Golden Jubilee celebration.

The Trailer

Season Five’s trailer opens with a voiceover reading the official announcement from Buckingham Palace regarding Princess Diana and then Prince Charles’ separation. The camera pans to the two getting ready for what we can assume are separate interviews. Diana’s interview, is of course, a direct reference and hint at the dramatization of her now-infamous 1995 Panorama interview, which her son Prince William has gone on record stating “should never be aired again.” 

In his statement, which you can watch in the tweet above, the current Prince of Wales said that “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia, and isolation that I remember from those final years with her. But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived. She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions.”

If you may recall, it was during this interview that the late princess declared that there were “three” people in her marriage with King Charles III. The third person, Camilla Parker Bowles, is now the now reigning Queen Consort. In a recent investigation conducted by the BBC called the Dyson Report, it was revealed that the former Princess of Wales had given the interview based on false pretenses, thinking that palace staff were working against her and spying on her because of forged documents presented to her by a journalist. 

Series six updates

Showrunner Peter Morgan has confirmed the temporary suspension of Season Six following the Queen’s passing. In an exclusive interview with Deadline, he explained that this was out of respect: “The Crown is a love letter to her and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect. I expect we will stop filming out of respect too.”

What we do know, however, about the reportedly final season is that three actors have been cast to play the roles of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Sixteen-year-old actor Rufus Kampa is set to play the prince in his early teen years, while Ed McVey, 21, will portray him as an older teenager. As for the Princess of Wales, nineteen-year-old Meg Bellamy is set to play her on the show. 

(Featured image: Netflix)

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Danielle Baranda
Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.