The Crown season 4: What will happen this series? Who’s returning to the cast? Who are the new characters? Where was it filmed? All you need to know about Netflix's royal drama

Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson join The Crown as Lady Diana Spencer and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but what else do we know about the highly-anticipated fourth series?

By Sophia Moir Published: 19 October 2020 - 10.48am
Netflix

It’s the last time we’ll see Olivia Colman in her award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II, alongside actors including Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter and Josh O’Connor. 

There’s a lot of anticipation around The Crown season 4 on Netflix - not to mention the fact we’ll be introduced to the characters of Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson).

From the release date, first-look trailer and who’s in the cast, to what will happen this series, the true stories it’s based on and filming locations for the show, we reveal everything we know about The Crown series 4 so far… 

When is The Crown season 4 on Netflix?

Mark your diaries because all 10 episodes of The Crown season 4 will be available to watch on Netflix in the UK from Sunday, November 15 at 8am.

Is there a trailer for The Crown season 4?

Yes, the official trailer for The Crown season 4 was released in October 2020.

Watch the trailer below:

A sneak peek trailer was first released in August 2020. 

It features Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman) saying: "Something as important as the monarchy simply cannot be allowed to fail”, overlaid with footage of Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and a young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin). 

Watch the trailer below: 

From Emma Corrin to Gillian Anderson - who’s in the cast of The Crown season 4?

New characters:

Emma Corrin - Lady Diana Spencer

Emma Corrin joins The Crown season 4 as Lady Diana Spencer, who became Diana, Princess of Wales after she married Prince Charles in 1981.

Corrin is best known for her guest role in ITV's Grantchester, as well as playing Esme Winikus in Batman origin story Pennyworth. The Crown is her biggest role to date.  

The Crown Emma Corrin Princess Diana Netflix

Gillian Anderson - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Gillian Anderson is another new cast member for season 4, as she portrays Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - Britain's first female PM.

Anderson is best known for roles in The X-Files, The Fall, Sex Education, and more. She's been nominated for five Golden Globe and Emmy awards, alongside two Baftas.

The Crown Margaret Thatcher Gillian Anderson Netflix

Other new characters

Series 4 of The Crown also introduces Georgie Glen as Lady Fermoy, the maternal grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales; Tom Byrne as Queen Elizabeth II's third son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Angue Imrie as Queen Elizabeth II's fourth son, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; Jessica Aquilina as Prince Andrew's ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.

Returning characters from season 3:

Olivia Colman - Queen Elizabeth II

Olivia Colman returns to play Queen Elizabeth II. The British actress is no stranger to royal roles, having won an Oscar for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite, for which she also won a Golden Globe and Bafta.

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

 

Helena Bonham Carter - Princess Margaret

Helena Bonham Carter is also back to play Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister. Some of Helena’s 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 Crown Helena Bonham Carter Princess Margaret Netflix

Tobias Menzies - Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Tobias Menzies returns to play Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth II. The British actor is best known for his roles in Outlander, Game of Thrones, The Night Manager and The Terror.

 

Josh O'Connor - Prince Charles

Josh O’Connor plays Charles, Prince of Wales - Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son and the heir to the British throne. 

The Crown Netflix Josh O'Connor Prince Charles Netflix

He's mainly known for playing Larry in TV series The Durrells, but he's also earned international acclaim for his leading role in British drama God's Own Country. He appeared alongside his The Crown co-star and on-screen mother Olivia Colman in the 2018 TV adaptation of Les Miserables, in which he played Marius.

 

Erin Doherty - Princess Anne

Erin Doherty plays Princess Anne, the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Erin appeared in minor roles on Call The Midwife and Les Miserables before her big break in The Crown series 3.

 

Emerald Fennell - Camilla Shand

Emerald Fennell plays a young Camilla Parker Bowles, known as Camilla Shand at the time, who was introduced in The Crown series 3. She married Prince Charles in 2005.

The British actress is known for roles in Call The Midwife, The Danish Girl and Victoria. Emerald is also an established screenwriter and author, and took over from Phoebe Waller-Bridge as showrunner and head writer of Killing Eve season 2.

The Crown Emerald Fennell Camilla Shand Netflix

Marion Bailey - The Queen Mother

Marion Bailey plays the mother of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret - known by her title of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when her daughter Elizabeth became Queen. British actress Marion is known for roles in Allied, Mr Turner and Vera Drake.

 

Charles Dance - Lord Mountbatten

Charles Dance returns to play Lord Louis Mountbatten, an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II.

Some of Charles' most highest-profile roles include Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, Karellen in Childhood's End, Raymond Stockbridge in Gosford Park, and Commander Denniston in The Imitation Game. 

 

Claire Foy returns?

One actor who you might not expect to be returning for series 4 is Claire Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth II in The Crowns seasons 1 and 2 - before Olivia Colman took over.

The actress was photographed filming a speech, dressed as Queen Elizabeth II - then a young Princess Elizabeth - on her 21st birthday.

According to Harpers Bazaar, who have pictures of Foy perfectly recreating the regal moment, the scene is "Princess Elizabeth speaking from Cape Town in South Africa on April 21, 1947".

The publication added that Princess Elizabeth's 21st birthday speech was particularly memorable as she said: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

What will happen in The Crown season 4?

The finale of The Crown season 3 was set in the mid-1970s, and largely focused on the breakdown of Princess Margaret's marriage to Lord Snowdon (Ben Daniels), and the introduction of Margaret's toy boy, Roddy (Harry Treadaway).

TV shows and films like The Crown

  • Victoria
  • The Tudors
  • Downton Abbey
  • Outlander
  • The Queen
  • The King’s Speech

Politically, we saw British Prime Minister Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins) inform Queen Elizabeth II that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The leader of the Labour party announced his resignation as Prime Minister in March 1976.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were seen en route to the Silver Jubilee celebrations, which happened in 1977, so we know the series ended around then.

Series 3 of The Crown picks up almost directly after this, as the 1970s draw to a close. Queen Elizabeth II and her family find themselves preoccupied with safeguarding the line of succession by securing an appropriate bride for Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), who is still unmarried at 30 - Charles' 30th birthday took place in November 1978. 

We will then see Charles' romance with a young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin), which provides a much-needed fairytale to unite the British people. From the first-look trailer, we know we will see Charles' and Diana's wedding, which takes us into the early 1980s - their wedding took place at St. Paul's Cathedral in July 1981. 

The Crown Lady Diana Spencer Emma Corrin Netflix

We also may get a glimpse at a young Princess William, as we're expecting to see Charles and Diana's Royal Tour to Australia, which occured in 1983. William would have been a nine-month old baby at the time. 

Plus, we could catch witness Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding, as this took place in July 1986.

However despite these fairytale romances, we see the Royal Family becoming increasingly divided behind closed doors.

Politically, the nation begins to feel the impact of divisive policies as Britain's first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), is elected in May 1979. 

Tensions arise between her and the Queen which only grow worse as Thatcher leads the country into the Falklands War in 1982, a conflict which generates tension within the Commonwealth. 

The Crown Gillian Anderson Margaret Thatcher Netflix

This storyline may coincide with the collapse of the Labour Party in the 1983 general election. The party suffered a landslide defeat, taking just 27.6% of the vote and giving Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives a 144-seat Commons majority.

We'd also expect to see the death of Lord Mountbatten - Prince Philip's uncle - who was assassinated by a bomb that was hidden aboard his fishing boat in Ireland in 1979.

The series 4 time period also covers a number of near-death experiences for the queen. In 1981, a 17-year-old man fired six blank shots at her during the Trooping The Colour Ceremony, before another assassination attempt involving a separate 17-year-old man in New Zealand made headlines later that same year. 

Then, in 1982, one of the worst royal security breaches of the 21st century occured, involving a British man who entered Queen Elizabeth II's bedroom in Buckingham Palace.

The series should then wrap up around the mid-1980s, ready for series 5.

The Crown Olivia Colman Queen Elizabeth Netflix

Where was The Crown season 4 filmed?

Production for the fourth season began filming in August-September 2019 and wrapped in March 2020 - despite production running into the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Deadline, The Crown’s production company Left Bank Pictures “decided to forge ahead with a final week of filming”, with the production company “simply needing to tie-up loose ends on the series”.

Although one scene that went unfilmed was an avalanche scene in the Alps for a week - for an episode literally titled "Avalanche". 

Cast and crew were unable to get on planes at the time - presumably when global air travel started being cancelled due to coronavirus. So, the crew made some adjustments and "slightly recut" the episode to make it work.

"It works metaphorically now," the show's creator Peter Morgan told IndieWire.com. "It's less a story about what happens in the Alps and more what happens in the aftermath. We had to be willing to adapt and rethink and complete things."

In terms of filming locations, actors Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles) and Emma Corrin (Diana, Princess of Wales) were first spotted filming together on location in Almeria and Malaga in Spain in September 2019.

According to Tatler.com, The Crown’s production team headed to southern Spain to recreate the young royal couple’s 1983 tour of Australia, where they visited Alice Springs, Uluru and Bondi Beach. 

Grazia Daily reports that Corrin was also spotted filming at The Savoy in London, for a scene set in the 1980s at the Barnado's Children's Champion Awards.

The Crown Prince Charles Lady Diana Spencer Netflix

Manchester's Northern Quarter was also transformed into New York City, with Corrin again stepping in front of the camera to recreate Diana's famous solo trip to the Big Apple in 1989, according to SecretManchester.com

The trip involved Diana visiting the not-for-profit Henry Street Settlement and meeting with homeless mothers and children, as well as an AIDS patient at Harlem Hospital.

The scene where you first see Emma Corrin wearing Diana's wedding dress ahead of her wedding to Prince Charles was filmed in Lancaster House in London, according to an interview Corrin gave to British Vogue.

"We were filming the scene when you first see her in the wedding dress - I think it was Lancaster House in London - and I had a team of about 10 people helping me put it on, because it’s massive,” she said.

“I walked out and everyone went completely silent. More than anything else I wear in the series, it’s so… It’s her.”

Watch The Crown seasons 1-3 on Netflix.

Season 4 of The Crown is released on Netflix on Sunday, November 15.