The Crown season 3: Everything we know about series 3 of the royal drama

Find out who's in the cast and what's planned in season 3 of The Crown.

By Sophia Moir Published: 10 April 2019 - 5.10pm
Drama Netflix

Matt Smith

The Crown is one of Netflix's most watched shows, and the big-budget drama is set to return for its third season with an all-new lead cast.

Series 3 of the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning show will cover Queen Elizabeth II's life and reign from 1964 through to the early 1970s.

Here, we reveal who will replace Claire Foy and Matt Smith, and everything else we know about The Crown season 3 on Netflix.

When is The Crown season 3 on Netflix?

The Crown season 3 is streaming on Netflix now.

The good news is the third and fourth series have been filmed back-to-back, so fingers crossed we won't have to wait as long for season 4. We expect there to be the usual ten episodes in the next two seasons.

Is there a trailer?

Yep, you can watch the show's official trailer below:

What will happen in season 3 of The Crown?

The Windsors after the birth of Prince Edward

Although the plot for seasons 3 and 4 are being kept firmly under wraps, as it's based on historical events we can make some assumptions.

Season two of The Crown ended with the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. The Queen was shown having her fourth and final child after confronting her husband Prince Philip over whether he was indeed the ‘mystery man’ the press speculated to have attended shamed osteopath Stephen Ward’s sex parties.

We can only imagine that Elizabeth’s doubt and concerns over her husband will continue into season three. By this point, Charles and Princess Anne (pictured above in an archive photo) will also be teenagers, so surely we will see how they fit into the Swinging Sixties as well as how their individual relationships with their parents will develop.

We also expect to see Prince Charles' investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969, as the event was recreated in the streets of Caernarfon in the autumn of 2018.

Princess Margaret with her children in the 1960s

The tumultuous breakdown of Princess Margaret's marriage and eventual divorce with photographer Lord Snowdon (pictured above with their children) will likely also covered in depth.

Meanwhile, politically it will cover the Wilson era as the Queen welcomes Britain’s Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson to the Palace between 1964 and 1970, and then again from 1974 to 1976.

The series will also feature Edward Heath, Conservative PM from 1970 to 1974, and we may see the beginnings of the apparently tense relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, Tory leader from 1975 and Prime Minister from 1979.

And after much speculation, the producers of The Crown have confirmed that both Camilla Parker Bowles and Princess Diana will make appearances.

Are the original cast of The Crown returning for season 3?

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix drama, The Crown

Netflix has confirmed that Claire Foy, who played the Queen for series one and two of The Crown, will not be reprising her role, and that new lead cast members will be brought in.

Matt Smith, who was widely praised for his uncanny performance as Prince Philip in series one and two of The Crown, will also be replaced for season three, as will Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret.

However, if there are any flashback scenes, we can only imagine these will feature the original cast. Some scenes in series two were flashbacks from series one, and featured former cast members including John Lithgow as Sir Winston Churchill and Jared Harris as King George VI.

Who's in the cast of The Crown season 3?

Olivia Colman and Queen Elizabeth II

Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth II​

Academy Award winner Colman, 45, replaces Claire Foy in the lead role, as the series steps forward in time to cover the next chapter in the monarch's life.

The streaming service shared the first image of Colman in the role with a single word post on Twitter - "patience".

As well as her Academy Award for her performance in The Favourite, the British actress has many other gongs to her name including two Golden Globes, three Baftas and four BIFA Awards. 

She is perhaps best known for starring in popular British shows such as Broadchurch, The Night Manager and Peep Show, as well as movies such as The Lobster and Murder on the Orient Express.

Tobias Menzies is Prince Philip

Tobias Menzies and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh - the husband to Olivia Colman’s Queen Ellizabeth II - in the third and fourth seasons of The Crown. 

After rumours that Paul Bettany and Hugh Laurie had been cast as the consort, Menzies was confirmed to be taking over from Matt Smith earlier this year.

Bettany later confirmed that he had to pull out of talks because of a diary clash.

The British actor is best known for his roles in Outlander, Game of Thrones, The Night Manager and The Terror.

A first look image of Menzies in the role of Prince Philip was shared on Twitter with the word "ambition".

Helena Bonham Carter is Princess Margaret

Helena Bonham Carter and Princess Margaret

It was confirmed that 53-year-old British actress Helena Bonham Carter will take over from Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret in seasons three and four of The Crown.

A CBE and ex-partner of directors Kenneth Branagh and Tim Burton, Helena has starred in a host of mainstream and arthouse movies since the 1980s.

Some of her most memorable roles in recent years include playing Edith Ellyn in 2015’s movie Suffragette, the Fairy Godmother in 2015’s Cinderella and as Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies.

She already has a royal role on her CV - Helena played Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, in the Oscar-winning 2010 movie The King's Speech.

The first look of Bonham Carter in the role of Princess Margaret featured the word "hope", perhaps in relation to her marriage.

Josh O'Connor is Prin​ce Charles

Josh O Connor as Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

British actor Josh O'Connor will be playing Prince Charles in the third season of The Crown. Mainly known for playing 'Larry' in the ITV hit The Durrells, Josh will be playing Charles between the years of 1964-1970 - when the young Prince of Wales was aged 16-22.

He earned international acclaim for his leading role in British drama God's Own Country, which won multiple awards including the Manner Jury Award at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. 

"I am thrilled to be joining The Firm for the next instalment of The Crown," said Josh.

"Seasons 3 and 4 will follow some of the most turbulent events in the Prince of Wales’s life and our national story and I’m excited to be bringing to life the man in the midst of it all.

"I’m very aware it’s a formidably talented family to be joining, but reliably informed I have the ears for the part and will fit right in."

Marion Bailey is the Queen Mother

Marion Bailey and the Queen Mother

Taking over from Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the British actress - known for roles in Allied, Mr Turner and Vera Drake - said it was "wonderful" to be joining the series.

Marion said: “It’s a brilliant show and we have a tough act to follow but what a gift to be playing the fascinating and greatly loved Queen Mother.

"[I'm] thrilled to be on board and working with such a top-notch team."

Erin Doherty is Princess Anne

Erin Doherty and Princess Anne

The actress - who appeared on Call The Midwife before being cast in The Crown - was confirmed to be joining the show as Princess Anne in July 2018.

In a statement, Doherty said she was 'priviliged' to be playing the the second child, and only daughter, of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

Of Anne, Princess Royal, Doherty said: "She is a woman of great strength and heart."

Ben Daniels is Lord Snowdon

Ben Daniels and Lord Snowdon

British actor Ben Daniels is confirmed to be taking over the role of Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon. The role was played by Matthew Goode in season 2.

Daniels is a film, television and theatre actor, and has been nominated for a number of awards - including Oliviers - for his theatre work.

He's no stranger to Netflix, having played Claire Underwood's love interest, photographer Adam Galloway, in House of Cards.

A first look image of Daniels in the role has also been shared, along with the word "hurt", perhaps also alluding to the state of his marriage.

Jason Watkins is Prime Minister Harold Wilson

Jason Watkins and Prime Minister Harold Wilson

Bafta-winning British actor Jason Watkins will play Prime Minister Harold Wilson in The Crown season three.

Watkins is perhaps best known for his TV work, starring in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, Taboo, W1A and Line of Duty.

The versatile actor also starred alongside Suranne Jones in the play Frozen in the West End.

Emerald Fennell is Camilla Parker Bowles

Emerald Fennell and Camilla Parker Bowles

The British actress, known for roles in Call The Midwife and The Danish Girl, will be playing Prince Charles' future wife.

Fennell is also an established screenwriter and author, and took over from Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the head writer of Killing Eve season 2.

Fennell said in a statement that she absolutely 'loved' Camilla, confessing: “I’m absolutely over the moon, and completely terrified, to be joining so many hugely talented people on The Crown.

"I absolutely love Camilla, and am very grateful that my teenage years have well prepared me for playing a chain-smoking serial snogger with a pudding bowl haircut.”

Emma Corrin is Lady Diana Spencer

Emma Corrin and Lady Diana Spencer

Actress Emma Corrin was announced to be playing the part of Lady Diana Spencer in April 2019.

Best known for her guest role in ITV's Grantchester, Corrin said in a statement to Netflix: “Beyond excited and honoured to be joining The Crown for its fourth season.

"I have been glued to the show since the first episode and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is just surreal. Princess Diana was an icon, and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring.

"To be given the chance to explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity, and I will strive to do her justice!”

Further casting include The X-Files actress Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who the Sunday Times reports, will appear in series 4. Her boyfriend is the show's screenwriter Peter Morgan, who is said to want to take advantage of her likeness to the former PM.

Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance will play Lord Louis Mountbatten, according to Daily Mail reports. 

The Duke of Windsor - Edward VIII, the former British king who abdicated the throne to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson - will also need to be re-cast.

He was played by Alex Jennings in seasons 1 and 2, and in an interview with the Radio Times, he said he "wished" he could have continued playing the role until the Duke's death.

He said: “I would love to have been involved in my story in The Crown, to have done the whole arc up until the Duke of Windsor’s end."

Where was it filmed?

The Crown isn't actually shot at Buckingham Palace - those scenes are largely filmed at Lancaster House, which is just down the road on Pall Mall in London.

The scenes shot in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace are filmed within the Greenwich Naval College building.

But for season 3 specifically, the cast were spotted filming in Liverpool - but there were signs for Washington D.C., suggesting the location was used as a replacement for the US capital, according to the Liverpool Echo.

A sign for the famed newspaper building now known as The Washington Post was also erected, and retro American cars were pictured in the street.

Hylands House in Essex is also thought to be used as a filming location for the U.S. White House.

Some scenes in season 3 were filmed in Andalusia in southern Spain, including a scene set in the 1960s when the Queen arrives on an official visit.

Olivia Colman was spotted filming a scene from the Aberfan disaster in the South Wales valleys in October 2018, looking solemn as she paid her respects following the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip which occurred in 1966. 

She was also pictured filming at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire alongside Helena Bonham Carter.