It’s A New Era
Based on award-winning play The Audience by series showrunner Peter Morgan, The Crown is a lavish, Netflix-original drama chronicling the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to the modern day. Series one began with an inside look at the early reign of the Queen, who ascended the throne aged just 25 after the sudden death of her father, King George VI. As the decades pass, each series unveils the personal intrigues, romances and political rivalries that played a role in shaping the events of the later 20th century. Series three touched on the events which shaped the royal family in the 1960s and 70s, ending with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Series four, which begins on Netflix on 15th November, kicks off at the end of the 1970s, and finds the royal family preoccupied with safeguarding the line of succession by finding an appropriate bride for Prince Charles, who is still unmarried at 30.
Most Of The Cast Will Return
Series four of The Crown sees Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) return as Queen Elizabeth II, Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones) as Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club) as Princess Margaret. Elsewhere, Erin Doherty (Les Miserables) continues as Princess Anne and Josh O'Connor (God’s Own Country) is Prince Charles, both of whom are set to return in bigger roles as the series shifts its focus onto the younger generation of royals.
There Are Some New Faces, Too
In episode one, we’re greeted by the 1979 election, where Queen Elizabeth finds herself inviting Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, to form a government after a landslide victory. Gillian Anderson takes on the role of the Iron Lady. When her casting was announced last year, social media was awash with approval – especially when it came to nailing Thatcher’s trademark hairstyle. We’ve no doubt she’ll capture the divisive PM’s steely determination across her 11-and-a-half-year tenure.
Elsewhere, having been thwarted in his choice of bride, Camilla Shand (a role reprised by Emerald Fennell), Prince Charles’ relations with his family remain strained. Grief stricken and lost, Prince Charles tries to take his great uncle Lord Mountbatten’s advice and find a suitable bride. Enter young aristocrat Lady Diana Spencer, who charms him immediately. Diana is played by newcomer Emma Corrin, who – like Anderson – has got the look and voice down to perfection. After a brief courtship, Charles proposes, and Diana is quickly propelled from the life of a normal teenage girl into one as the Princess of Wales. Across the series, she goes on a transformational journey to become a global superstar, but the fairytale marriage portrayed in the world’s media isn’t quite what it appears to be.
There’s Plenty of Turbulence
When Lord Mountbatten is assassinated by the IRA, the family is rocked to its core, robbing the Queen of a key ally, and Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh of a father figure. During this period of grief is when Diana enters the picture. Their wedding in 1981 is an occasion which unites the entire country in celebrating young love. But as the ten episodes progress, and relations between the royal couple become strained, so too do dealings between the Queen and Thatcher, especially when the Queen’s constitutional obligation to remain silent is put to the test.
The Backdrops Are Stunning
Series four will take us to some beautiful places, including South Georgia, where the invasion of the Falkland Islands sets Britain on the path to war, and across the world to Australia, where the Waleses embark on a politically sensitive tour after Republican prime minister Bob Hawke is elected. There will, of course, also be visits to Balmoral Castle, where both Thatcher and Diana are subjected to the infamous ‘Balmoral Tests’, and the sandy beaches of Mustique, where Princess Margaret retreats during a difficult period in her life.
There Are Two More Series To Come
Although showrunner Peter Morgan previously announced series five would be The Crown's last, Netflix confirmed in summer 2020 that the show would get a sixth season after all. As is now tradition, the final pair of series will have a new cast take over the key roles. So far, Imelda Staunton has been confirmed to play the Queen, Leslie Manville will be Princess Margaret, Jonathan Pryce is set to take over the role of Prince Phillip, Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana and Dominic West is rumoured to be mulling the role of Prince Charles. With filming due to begin in summer 2021, we’ll have to wait until 2022 for the next instalment. Thankfully, series four is set to be excellent enough to keep us satisfied.
Series four of The Crown is available to watch in full on Netflix from 15th November. Series one-three are available to stream now.