The Crown season 5: Who are the new cast? When is it released? All you need to know about Netflix’s royal drama

Netflix royal drama The Crown season 5 is filming with a new cast including Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Lesley Manville.

By Sophia Moir Updated: 6 July 2021 - 1.34pm
Netflix Imelda Staunton will star in The Crown season 5 as Queen Elizabeth

Season 4 of The Crown, Netflix's drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, arrived on the streaming service in 2020, 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. 

The new episodes won critical acclaim and were among the most talked about TV shows of the year as Gillian Anderson's Thatcher and Emma Corrin's Diana captured the imagination of viewers.

If you've made you've already made your way through season 4, you might be wondering when you can expect season 5 and with another complete cast change, what lays ahead for the royal soap opera...

Will there be a season 5 of The Crown?

The award-winning Netflix series will return for season 5.

It will be covering the John Major government years, the turmoil of Diana and Prince Charles' marriage breakdown and the tragic death of Diana in 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?

When is The Crown season 5 on Netflix?

Filming began in June 2021, and in a special announcement at the Netflix TUDUM event, Imelda Staunton revealed that the new series would premiere in November 2022:

Who will play the Queen in The Crown season 5? Who else is in the new cast?

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.

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 

Elizabeth Debecki plays Princess Diana in The Crown season 5 Netflix

More 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

Dominic West plays Prince Charles in The Crown season 5 Netflix

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.

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.

Camilla Parker Bowles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward - TBC

The new actors playing Camilla Shand (later Camilla Parker Bowles), along with three of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's four children - Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward - have yet to be announced. Claudia Harrison has widely been reported to be the actor playing Princess Anne, but this has not yet been confirmed.

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'."

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?

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.

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.

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.

Season 5 of The Crown is coming soon to Netflix.

Watch The Crown seasons 1-4 on Netflix.