The Crown season 5: What will happen? Who are the new actors taking over the roles? All you need to know about Netflix’s royal drama

Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville are among the actors confirmed to be replacing the cast in season 5, but what else do we know about The Crown’s penultimate series?

By Sophia Moir Published: 4 January 2021 - 12.00pm
Getty Imelda Staunton The Crown Queen Elizabeth

Actress Imelda Staunton, left, and Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, right

Season 4 of The Crown, Netflix's drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, has arrived on the streaming service, taking us through the 1980s and introducing us to two personalities who made a significant impact on the decade - Lady Diana Spencer and Margaret Thatcher. 

While the drama was originally planned to run over six 10-episode seasons, while writing the fifth season, The Crown creator Peter Morgan decided that it was "the perfect time and place to stop". Then, in July 2020, it emerged that Morgan had changed his mind and Netflix confirmed on social media that a sixth season would be in the works after all.

So now we know that the fifth series of The Crown is going to be the penultimate series, looking at the time period in question - the turbulent early 90s - in greater detail. It also gives new cast members including Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville double the time to appear on screen.

So from expected release date of The Crown season 5 to the new cast members that are replacing Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and Tobias Menzies on screen - what do we know about the series so far?

When is The Crown season 5 on Netflix?

Following the release of The Crown season 4 on Netflix in November 2020, filming on the show is taking a break with production not scheduled to start until June 2021, according to industry website Deadline.

This means The Crown season 5 will not arrive on Netflix until 2022.

The filming break is not understood to be related to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, with a filming break for 2020 always part of the production and release schedule.

Eagle-eyed viewers of The Crown will know that a similar break occurred when a new set of cast members were introduced between season 2 (which was released in 2017) and season 3 (which was released in 2019).

From Imelda Staunton to Lesley Manville - who’s in the cast of The Crown season 5?

Imelda Staunton - Queen Elizabeth II

The Crown Imelda Staunton Queen Elizabeth Getty

Imelda Staunton takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Olivia Colman for The Crown seasons 5 and 6.

She will become the third actress to have worn the crown in the series - the role of the young Queen was played by Claire Foy in seasons 1 and 2.

In a statement, Staunton said she was "honoured" to be joining the show. She confessed: “I have loved watching The Crown from the very start. 

"As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts. I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”

The Irish-English actress received critical acclaim for her role in the period drama film Vera Drake, winning the Bafta for Best Actress, along with an Oscar nomination. 

Many fans will recognise her from playing Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films, along with roles in Pride, Return to Cranford, The Girl, Flesh and Blood, A Confession and the Downton Abbey film.

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Lesley Manville - Princess Margaret

The Crown Lesley Manville Princess Margaret Getty

Lesley Manville will be playing Princess Margaret in seasons 5 and 6 of The Crown, taking over from Helena Bonham Carter (seasons 3 and 4) and Vanessa Kirby (seasons 1 and 2).

In a statement to announce her casting, Manville said working alongside Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II will be a “complete joy”. She revealed: “I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret. 

“The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don’t want to let the side down. Furthermore, to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy."

Manville is another acclaimed British actress, with five Bafta nominations and an Oscar nomination to her name.

She's best known for roles in Phantom Thread, River, Another Year, Mum, and Maleficent.

More recently, she's appeared in the TV series Save Me, World on Fire and Harlots.

Jonathan Pryce - Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Crown Jonathan Pryce Prince Philip Getty

Jonathan Pryce is set to take over the role of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh from Tobias Menzies. Matt Smith played the role in seasons 1 and 2.

Pryce recalled his “positive” experience making The Two Popes with Netflix as part of his reason for signing up to play the real life character. He said: “I am delighted to be working with Netflix again. 

“The positive experience I had making The Two Popes has given me the confidence to tackle the daunting prospect of portraying Prince Philip. To be doing so with Peter Morgan and the company of Imelda and Lesley will be a joy.”

The Welsh actor earned his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Pope Francis in the Netflix film.

He has also appeared in films including The Wife, Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as TV shows including Game of Thrones and Taboo.

Elizabeth Debicki - Princess Diana 

The Crown Elizabeth Debecki Princess Diana Getty

TV shows and films like The Crown

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

Elizabeth Debicki will take on the role of Princess Diana from season 5 onwards. The character will be introduced as Lady Diana Spencer in season 4, played by Emma Corrin.

Debicki said it was a "privilege" to be portraying Diana, Princess of Wales on-screen. She confessed: "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."

The Australian actress is known for film and TV roles including The Great Gatsby, Everest, Widows, and The Night Manager.

Dominic West - Prince Charles (rumoured)

Dominic West Getty

Actor Dominic West is in 'late-stage discussions' for the role of Prince Charles, according to industry website Variety.

Prince Charles was previously played by Josh O'Connor, who was introduced in season 3.

Dominic West is best known for roles in The Wire and The Affair. More recently, he appeared in the first two seasons of Sky One comedy series Brassic as Vinnie's blundering GP. 

Aside from his rumoured upcoming role in The Crown, he's set to appear alongside Lily James in the BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s classic novel The Pursuit of Love.

The new actors playing Camilla Shand (later Camilla Parker Bowles), along with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's four children - Prince Charles, Prince Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward - have yet to be announced.

What will happen in The Crown season 5?

The Crown season 5 will pick up where The Crown season 4 wraps up, which is in late 1990. This means the series is likely to cover the 1990s - a turbulent time for the Queen and the Royal Family. 

In series 5, we'd expect to see the Queen's “annus horribilis” of 1992, which saw three of her children's marriages break down and a fire severely damage Windsor Castle, covered.

In a speech given to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne in November of that year - just four days after the Windsor fire: "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'annus horribilis'."

The Queen 1992 speech Getty
The Queen giving her famous 'Annus Horribilis' speech in 1992

Later that decade, in 1995, Diana took part in a frank interview with journalist Martin Bashir, which is still making waves 25 years on. In 1996, Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced, before Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997.

The events after Diana's death were covered in the 2006 film The Queen, starring Helen Mirren in the title role. That film was also written by The Crown creator, Peter Morgan.

The Queen also celebrated her Golden Wedding anniversary with Prince Philip in 1997.

Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother both died in 2002, but it's not known whether these events will feature in season 5 or 6.

Season 6 will take the story up to the early 2000s.

Where is The Crown season 5 filmed?

There’s not currently any information on the filming locations for season 5 as it’s not set to be filmed until summer 2021.

Is there a trailer for The Crown season 5?

There’s not currently a trailer for season 5 of The Crown as it has not been filmed.

Season 4 of The Crown is now available to watch on Netflix.

Watch The Crown seasons 1-3 on Netflix.

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