The Crown season 5: cast, story and everything you need to know

The Crown season 5 poster
(Image credit: Netflix)
The Crown season 5: key info

Imelda Staunton in The Crown season 5

(Image credit: Netflix)

- Now streaming on Netflix

- Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West, Jonathan Pryce and more star

- The show's story will be sailing full speed ahead into the monarchical chaos of the 1990s

- Production on season 6 has resumed after the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The Crown season 5, like previous seasons, blends real-world events with elevated drama, and is brought to life by an outstanding cast that extends the show's reach far beyond fans of the UK's royal family.

Seasons 1-4 of the hit show used anime-style time skips to keep mixing things up, bringing in new cast members – like Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson – who have taken the show from strength to strength. The Crown season 5 continues that trend, with another cast shake-up bringing proceedings into the 1990s as we head towards the show's inevitable conclusion. 

Below, we detail everything you need to know about The Crown season 5, including its cast list, story and what it tells us about future seasons. 

Spoilers follow...

Release date: The Crown season 5 was released on Netflix on November 9, 2022.

Story: With The Crown season 4 ending in Christmas 1990, this next season explores the end of Charles and Diana's marriage, John Major's time as Prime Minister, and the Queen's annus horribilis in 1992.

Cast: Imelda Staunton takes on the role of Queen Elizabeth II, with Jonathan Pryce playing Prince Philip, Elizabeth Debicki cast as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret and Jonny Lee Miller as John Major.

The future: The Crown has already been renewed for a sixth and final season, which began filming in 2022. Shooting was temporarily put on hold, however, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.

The Crown season 5 release date

The Crown season 5 began streaming on Netflix on November 9, 2022.

The wait for new episodes was longer than usual – but not, surprisingly, because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, the show had planned to take a gap year long before the virus began presenting the world of TV and film with numerous challenges. 

Season 6 is now in production, though shooting was paused temporarily in September during the national mourning period following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

The Crown season 5 cast

Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki as Charles and Diana, respectively

(Image credit: Netflix)

The fifth season of The Crown will undergo another sizeable cast shake-up, as the ageing royal family enters the 1990s – The Crown season 4 ended in late 1990, as we'll discuss further down. Here's who we know will be appearing:

  • Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II
  • Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret
  • Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana
  • Dominic West as Prince Charles
  • Claudia Harrison as Princess Anne
  • Jonny Lee Miller as John Major
  • Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles
  • Flora Montgomery as Norma Major
  • Marcia Warren as The Queen Mother
  • James Murray as Prince Andrew
  • Sam Woolf as Prince Edward
  • Bertie Carvel as Tony Blair
  • Humayun Saeed as Dr. Hasnat Khan
  • Timothy Dalton as Peter Townsend
  • Lydia Leonard as Cherie Blair
  • Natascha McElhone as Penelope Knatchbull
  • Senan West and Timothee Sambor as Prince William 
  • Teddy Hawley and Will Powell as Prince Harry

We’ll be waving farewell to Olivia Colman and welcoming Imelda Staunton to the role of Queen Elizabeth II. You may recognize Staunton from her time as the abominable Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. Similarly, Tobias Menzies will be stepping aside to allow fellow Game of Thrones co-star Jonathan Pryce to take over as Prince Philip. 

Additionally, we’ll see Phantom Thread’s Lesley Manville assume the role of Princess Margaret, and Elizabeth Debicki, who you may know from Christopher Nolan's Tenet, will play the slightly older version of Princess Diana. After a 2020 report suggested Dominic West was joining the cast as Prince Charles, Netflix finally confirmed he was part of the show in August 2021.

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Season 4 also ended with the resignation of Margaret Thatcher, which means we’ll see a new Prime Minister enter the fray. Season 5 will follow the tenure of John Major, played by Jonny Lee Miller, and we’ll get a short burst of Tony Blair (Bertie Carvel), too, who was in office during Diana’s death. 

Most recently, it was announced that prominent Pakistani star Humayun Saeed will be starring as Dr. Hasnat Khan, the heart surgeon with whom Diana allegedly shared a relationship between 1995 and 1997.

You'll find plenty more confirmed cast members in the above list, including details of who will play young Prince William and young Prince Harry. 

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The Crown season 5 trailer

Netflix released a full-length trailer for The Crown season 5 on September 20, which we've embedded below.

The Crown season 4 recap

The Crown season 4 picked up in 1977, but the first episode honed in on 1979 with the election of Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). It also showcased the murder of Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance), claimed by the IRA, which served as the show's entry point into focusing on the ongoing Troubles in Northern Ireland. We also started to see the show come into what might be termed recent history, with focuses on working class struggles, the dissolution of Apartheid, and Diana’s influence on the public.

The Queen (Olivia Colman) also took an early shining to Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) as Charles’ (Josh O'Connor) perfect, prospective bride. After passing ‘The Balmoral Test’ with flying colors, the royal family pressured Charles into marrying Diana. 

The Queen’s relationship with Thatcher also began on kind grounds, but slowly neutralized over the course of the season as ol’ Maggie’s rule got more and more ruthless. The pair’s personal relationship soured, but ended in a dignified fashion with mutual respect shown for the traits they have in common.

The Crown

A new cast is on the way for The Crown season 5. (Image credit: Mark Mainz)

Season 4 also did a fantastic job of making each and every cast member pretty unlikeable. The substantial age gap between Charles and Diana makes for a turbulent dynamic – Charles’ petulant reactions to Diana’s personal struggles paired with his unwillingness to let go of Camilla (Emerald Fennell) makes him hard to watch in season 4.

Throughout the season, the Queen observed Thatcher’s weakness when it came to her children, particularly her son Mark who she cited as her favorite. Upon learning this, The Queen sets off on a personal journey to reconnect with her own children, and discovers that they all carry their own indiscretions, emotional baggage and personal struggles. 

The Crown season 4 wrapped up in 1990 with the resignation of an unpopular Thatcher and a particularly frosty Christmas at Balmoral Castle. During the festivities, both The Queen and Prince Philip tire of Charles and Diana’s marriage complaints. While the Queen simply and coldly urged Charles to focus on his royal duty, Philip turned a darker corner, with a quiet warning of the consequences Diana will face if her marriage fails.

Hey, maybe that's why some critics want to see a pre-show disclaimer reminding people that The Crown is a fictional drama, and not a documentary (something Netflix has confirmed it has no plans to do).

The Crown season 5 story

Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown season 5

The first official look at Elizabeth Debicki in The Crown season 5 (Image credit: Netflix)

With Thatcher gone and Charles and Diana’s unhappy union in full swing, we’ll be sailing full speed ahead into the 1990s. It has also been confirmed that there will be a sixth and final season of The Crown, set to conclude in the early 2000s. Showrunner Peter Morgan has said that "season six will not bring us any closer to present day – it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail."

The Crown season 5 doesn’t have an official plotline yet, but we can take a swing at what might happen based on its trailer (below) and real-life royal events, with an additional season taken into account.

1992 was a particularly rough year for the Windsor clan. It saw the breakdown of not one, but two royal marriages – Prince Andrew’s separation from Sarah Ferguson, and Princess Anne’s official divorce from long-term husband Captain Mark Phillips. Prince Andrew’s wedding featured briefly in The Crown season 4, and we get a glimpse into Anne’s spousal struggles too, which suggests they may have a more pivotal role in season 5.

Of course, we’re in for a further ride with Charles and Diana’s relationship, and that was not shy on scandal. In June 1992, author Andrew Morton released ‘Diana: Her True Story’, a bestselling autobiographical book that detailed Diana’s struggles and the turbulence of her marriage, with her own personal input. The book was published while she was still married to Charles. As you can imagine, it didn’t go down too well with the rest of the family, so we suspect it might crop up in the next season.

The Crown season 5

(Image credit: Des Willie)

And to top off that year, we're set to see a fiery, fictionalized spectacle based on the 1992 Windsor Castle fire. The real fire burned for around 15 hours and caused six minor injuries to staff – and a great big castle fire is a good old excuse for some top-notch TV drama, isn’t it?

All in all, the Queen dubbed 1992 her "annus horribilis" in a famous speech. That's bound to be great material for the writers of Netflix's hit series. 

We’ve also got scope for a number of scandals inside the British Government in the 1990s. Notably, we have John Major’s 1993 ‘Back To Basics’ campaign, designed to promote traditional familial values, but ultimately fell into ruin following a number of scandals inside the Conservative Party. 

The Arms to Iraq affair that coursed through the 1990s may also make for juicy plot developments in The Crown, as government-approved sales of weapons to Iraq made John Major quite unpopular in the run up to Tony Blair’s winning election in 1997.

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana in The Crown season 5

Elizabeth Debicki as Diana in The Crown season 5 (Image credit: Netflix)

Finally, the core of The Crown season 5 will be the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage until their divorce in 1996. We all know that there’ll be ample room for tension and drama there, and lots of us remember the level of publicity surrounding the scandal. Judging by season 5's first trailer, things are going to get suitably messy. 

Showrunner Peter Morgan has, however, confirmed that season 5 won't cover Diana's tragic death in 1997, as that event will form the crux of season 6. There's been a good deal of controversy concerning how the show plans to deal with the tragedy, but those involved in its production have pledged to handle the subject with  the utmost sensitivity. 

In any case, we'll have to wait until next year (or longer) for all that. In the meantime, The Crown season 5 is now streaming on Netflix.

Danielle Partis

Danielle is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor specialising in entertainment and B2B reporting, with bylines at, Pocket Gamer, Louder and more. She can usually be found drinking a bucket of tea and idly grinding in Destiny 2.

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