The Crown Still Roils the Royals

New season explores the most tumultuous chapter in the Queen's reign

New season explores the most tumultuous chapter in the Queen’s reign

For four seasons now, viewers have watched the quasi-fictionalized life of Queen Elizabeth II play out in glossy Netflix drama The Crown. In the first two seasons, Claire Foy portrayed the Queen, with Olivia Colman taking over the role as the middle-aged monarch in the third and fourth seasons, as focus shifted to the younger generation of Windsors and their scandals. 

This week brings the fifth and penultimate season, introducing a whole new cast of A-list actors: Imelda Staunton as the Queen, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles, Jonny Lee Miller as British PM John Major, Salim Daw as Mohamed Al-Fayed and Khalid Abdalla as Dodi Fayed. 

The CrownNetflixAs those names indicate, this season promises to be the most explosive yet, chronicling the messy split between Charles and Diana, the latter’s scorched-earth tell-all TV interview, the Queen’s notorious “annus horribilis” and so much more.  

The timing of the new instalment—just weeks after the Queen’s death and the start of King Charles III’s reign—is inopportune to say the least, creating headaches for Buckingham Palace as The Crown exhumes the most painful and embarrassing chapter of his past to remind the public of incidents he certainly wishes would remain buried. 

The CrownNetflixIn fact, season five has generated controversy before it’s even premiered, thanks to a scene that reportedly depicts Charles meeting with Major, imploring the PM to force his mother’s abdication so that he can be king. Both palace insiders and Major himself insist that never happened, and he took the rare step of issuing a statement that lambasted the show’s storyline as “damaging and malicious fiction” and “a barrel load of nonsense.” 

The fifth season of The Crown premieres Wednesday, November 9 on Netflix