The Crown season 5 review: Is the Netflix royal drama still a hit?Nov 9 | 3 min read
Season 5 of The Crown is finally here with all 10 episodes streaming now on Netflix.
Season 5 sees another set of cast changes as the focus shifts onto arguably the most turbulent decade of the Queen's long reign, the 1990s.
The arrival of the Al-Fayeds, Diana and Charles's divorce, the Andrew Morton book and the BBC Martin Bashir interview are all covered in the new episodes.
Find out what lies ahead for the royal soap opera and who is joining the cast of the award-winning show.
The Crown season 5 cast
As with previous seasons, the entire cast of The Crown has been replaced for the fifth and sixth seasons to reflect the changing age of the characters.
Watch our exclusive Secrets from the Set interview with The Crown season 5 cast:
Full cast list
- Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, Harry Potter) - Plays Queen Elizabeth II
- Lesley Manville (Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, Mum) - Plays Princess Margaret
- Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Tomorrow Never Dies) - Plays Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
- Elizabeth Debecki (Tenet, Widows) - Plays Princess Diana
- Dominic West (The Wire) - Plays Prince Charles
- Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense, Rushmore) - Plays Camilla Parker Bowles
- Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) - Plays John Major
- Bertie Carvel (Doctor Foster)- Plays Tony Blair
- Lydia Leonard (10 Percent, Flesh and Blood) - Plays Cherie Blair
- Anatoly Kotenev (As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me) - Plays Boris Yeltsin
- Marcia Warren (Jam & Jerusalem) - Plays Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
- Timothee Sambor / Senan West - Play young Prince William
- Claudia Harrison (The IT Crowd) - Plays the Queen's only daughter, Princess Anne
- James Murray (McDonald & Dodds) - Plays Prince Andrew
- Emma Laird Craig - Plays Prince Andrew's wife, Sarah Ferguson
- Sam Woolf - Plays Queen's youngest child, Prince Edward
- Humayun Saeed - Plays Princess Diana's love interest Dr Hasnat Khan
- Khalid Abdalla (Moon Knight) - Plays Princess Diana's partner Dodi Fayed
- Salim Dau (Oslo) - Plays Dodi's father Mohammed Al-Fayed
- Andrew Havill (Downton Abbey) - Play the Queen's private secretary Robert Fellowes
- Natascha McElhone (Designated Survivor, The Trueman Show) - Plays Penny Knatchbull, now the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, a friend of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth
- Oliver James (Motherland, Trying) - Plays James Colthurst, a friend of Princess Diana's who acted as a middleman between the princess and Andrew Morton, the author of her biography
- James Bond actor Timothy Dalton - Plays Peter Townsend, the man Princess Margaret once hoped to marry
- Ben Warwick (Emmedale) - Plays BBC broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby
- Andrew Steele (Free Rein, Outlander) plays royal biographer, Andrew Morton
- Prasanna Puwanarajah (10 Percent, Doctor Foster) - Plays Martin Bashir
- Michael Jibson (Quiz, The Essex Serpent) - Plays Panorama editor Steve Hewlett
- Nicholas Gleaves (The Rising, Coronation Street) - Plays BBC director general John Birt
- Richard Cordery (About Time, Judy, Marcella) - Plays Duke Hussey, the Chairman of the board at the BBC
- Victor McGuire (Goodnight Sweetheart, Coronation Street) - Plays the 'amateur radio operator' who gets the audio recordings of Prince Charles and Camilla talking intimately
Imelda Staunton - Queen Elizabeth II
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.
In September 2021, Staunton recorded a short message from the set of The Crown to announce that filming had commenced and to say how much she was looking forward to building on the success of Foy and Colman, whose portraits in the role of Queen Elizabeth II sat on a table behind her.
Lesley Manville - Princess Margaret
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
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
More TV shows and films like The Crown
- The Tudors
- Downton Abbey
- The Queen
- The King’s Speech
Elizabeth Debicki will take on the role of Princess Diana from season 5 onwards. The character was 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
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 upcoming role in The Crown, he recently appeared alongside Lily James in the BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s classic novel The Pursuit of Love.
Olivia Williams - Camilla Parker Bowles
Olivia Williams takes over from Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles's mistress and the "third person" in the marriage that Diana referred to in her 1995 interview with Martin Bashir.
Camilla, introduced as Camilla Shand in season 3 of The Crown, was a girlfriend of Prince Charles before he met Diana. When the couple married in 2005 she became the Duchess of Cornwall and now, with Charles' accession to the throne, she is the Queen Consort.
Award-winning actress Olivia Williams has appeared in many films and TV shows including Lucky Break, An Education, The Ghost Writer and The Sixth Sense.
Timothee Sambor / Senan West - Prince William
Prince Charles's eldest son will be portrayed by the son of the man who plays him in The Crown - Dominic West's 14-year-old son Senan.
Variety revealed in November 2021 that Senan's audition tape caught the eye of the show's producers and that the young prince will appear in the final episodes of season 5.
He's also played by Timothee Sambor.
Teddy Hawley plays Prince Harry.
Jonny Lee Miller - John Major
In a surprise bit of casting, Trainspotting and Elementary actor Jonny Lee Miller was confirmed as the actor who will play Conservative Prime Minister John Major.
Major was the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997. He was the surprise winner of the leadership contest after Margaret Thatcher was ousted from power but went on to win the 1992 General Election.
However, his time in office was never smooth as dealth with the economic fall-out of Black Wednesday, battled Eurosceptic rebels in his own party and was mercilessly mocked by ITV's Spitting Image for being dull and the 'Grey Man' of Downing Street.
Irish actress Flora Montgomery (Bloodlands) will play Major's wife, Norma.
Bertie Carvel - Tony Blair
Doctor Foster and The Sister actor Bertie Carvel will play Prime Minister Tony Blair in season 5 of The Crown.
After becoming Leader of the Opposition in 1994, Blair was elected to No.10 in May 1997 following a landslide victory for the Labour Party touting his New Labour brand.
This is thought to explore his relationship with the Queen following the death of Diana just four months later. As the nation awoke to the tragic news, it was Blair who addressed the nation from his Sedgefield constituency, referring to Diana for the first time as "the People's Princess".
The Crown creator Peter Morgan's 2006 film The Queen addresses the relationship between Blair and the monarch in the days following Diana's death. Michael Sheen played the Prime Minister, with Helen Mirren playing the Queen.
It won't be Carvel's first appearance in the Netflix drama - in the season 2 episode titled Marionettes, the stage and screen actor played broadcaster Robin Day.
Lydia Leonard (Gentleman Jack, Ten Percent) will play his wife, Cherie Blair.
Humayun Saeed - Dr Hasnat Khan
Pakistani actor and producer Humayun Saeed has been cast as Princess Diana's 'companion' Dr Hasnat Khan in season 5 of the Crown. The Princess and British-Pakistani heart and lung surgeon Dr Khan enjoyed a romantic relationship between the summer of 1995 and June 1997.
Diana visited Dr Khan's family in Lahore in May 1996, and her friends are reported to have described Hasnat as the "love of her life". Dr Khan told the inquiry into her death that although they had talked about getting married he believed that he would find the inevitable media attention "hell".
Karachi-born Humayun Saeed is an award-winning TV and film actor who is among the most popular stars in Pakistan. As the country's government noted in a tweet marking the news, he is the first Pakistani actor to be cast in a Netflix Original series.
When is The Crown season 5 on Netflix?
At its TUDUM global launch event on 24 September, Netflix revealed that season 5 would be released in its entirety on Wednesday November 9.
The streaming service also released the following teaser trailer, confirming speculation that the breakdown of the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, would be the main focus of the new season, which will span the years 1991-1997.
How many seasons of The Crown will there be?
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?
What years will season 5 of The Crown cover?
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'."
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.
The Crown season 6 will take the story up to the early 2000s, and may include the deaths of the Queen's sister Princess Margaret and her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, in the spring of 2002, and the Golden Jubilee celebrations later that year.
Where is The Crown season 5 filmed?
Filming for season 5 got under way in summer 2021, and we know that some of it has taken place in Scotland.
As reported by the Scottish Sun, Imelda Staunton was spotted filming scenes in the town of Macduff, Aberdeenshire.
Staunton, alongside the actors playing Princess Anne (believed to be Claudia Harrison) and her husband Timothy Lawrence, were also seen filming on a beach around Covesea Lighthouse near Lossiemouth, according to the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald.
In February 2022, Staunton and Pryce were also spotted stepping out of a Rolls-Royce outside the London Colliseum in a recreation of the 1995 Royal Variety Performance, although it's not known how the scenes fit into the plot.
Netflix have released a dramatic trailer for The Crown season 5. Beginning with the fire at Windsor Castle and the Queen standing alone in the charred ruins of St George's Hall, the 150-second clip descends into a cacophony of soundbites as the very image of the Royal Family appears to fall apart along with the marriage of Charles and Diana, to the tune of 90s hit Bittersweet Symphony.
After brief of Diana's notorious interview with Martin Bashir, the ceremony that marked the handing over of Hong Kong to China and the burning of a bonfire effigy - is it Diana or the Queen herself - the clip ends with Imelda Staunton's Queen saying "How did it come to this?"
Will Harry and Meghan be in The Crown?
While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepping down as working members of the Royal Family and moving to the US is undoubtedly hogging the front pages at the moment, the timescales of the final two seasons of The Crown, and writer Peter Morgan's insistence of looking at events from a distance, means that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's departure and televised interview with Oprah Winfrey are unlikely to be featured in the drama.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter in August 2020, Morgan explained that events which seem significant today may be less so with the passage of time.
"Meghan and Harry are in the middle of their journey, and I don't know what their journey is or how it will end," said Morgan.
"I sort of have in my head a 20-year rule. That is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance."
He suggested, however, that the story of Harry and Meghan may be hinted at as The Crown continues to focus on the relationship of Charles and Diana and its tragic outcome.
"To be a dramatist, I think you need perspective and you need to also allow for the opportunity for metaphor. It's quite possible, for example, to tell the story of Harry and Meghan through analogy and metaphor, if that's what you want to do.
"Because there've been so many examples in the past, whether it's Wallis Simpson or Edward VII, or whether it's Diana and Prince Charles. There have been plenty of opportunities in the past where there have been marital complications.
"There've been wives that have been married into the Royal family that have felt unwelcome and that they don't fit in. So there are plenty of stories to tell without telling the story of Harry and Meghan."
That's not to say the Sussexes won't be appearing on Netflix in the near future. In September 2020 the couple signed a deal to produce a range of programmes for the streaming giant through their own production company. Programmes are expected to include documentaries, feature films, TV series and children’s shows.
Will there be a season 6 of The Crown?
Season 6 is officially confirmed and is expected to follow Tony Blair's years in power and his professional relationship with The Queen following the death of Diana.
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