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The Crown season 5: cast, story and everything we know so far

Imelda Staunton in The Crown season 5.
(Image credit: Netflix)
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The Crown season 5: key info

- Filming is currently underway
- Release date set for November 2022
- Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Debicki, Jonathan Pryce and more all confirmed to star
- The show's story will be sailing full speed ahead into the 1990s, meaning it'll likely cover Diana's tragic death
- Official set photographs have given us our first look at the new actors in action

The Crown season 5, like previous seasons, will blend real-world events with elevated drama – 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 have used anime-style time skips to keep mixing things up, bringing in new cast members – like Emma Corin and Gillian Anderson – who have taken the show from strength to strength. 

The Crown season 5 looks set to continue that trend, with another cast shake-up bringing proceedings into the 1990s as we head towards the show's inevitable conclusion. 

Below, we'll detail everything we know about The Crown season 5 so far, including its release date, cast members and everything we expect to see from its plot.

Spoilers follow...

Release date: The Crown season 5 is filming now, and will be released on Netflix in November 2022.

Story: With The Crown season 4 ending in Christmas 1990, expect this next season to explore 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 will take on the role of Queen Elizabeth II, with Jonathan Pryce playing Prince Philip, Elizabeth Debicki cast as Princess Diana, Lesley Manville taking on the role of Princess Margaret and Jonny Lee Miller playing John Major. In August 2021, Dominic West was added to the cast as Prince Charles.

The future: The Crown has already been renewed for a sixth and final season, which is apparently set to cover up until the early 2000s.

The Crown season 5 release date

The Crown season 5 will release in November 2022, Netflix revealed during its Tudum event in September 2021. Imelda Staunton shared the news via a Queen-like address on YouTube, which you can find below.

The wait for new episodes has been 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. 

Incidentally, a recent Deadline report (opens in new tab) suggests season 6 is set to film in 2022, so the gap between the next two seasons should be slightly shorter. 

The Crown season 5 cast

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 so far.

  • 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

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, too. 

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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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 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 may 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.

Finally, the core of The Crown season 5 will undoubtedly be the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage, until their divorce in 1996, and Diana’s tragic death in 1997. We all know that there’ll be ample room for tension and drama there, and lots of us remember the impact that Diana’s death had on the world. 

We don't yet know, however, how true to real life The Crown will remain, and how much justice it will serve Diana in her final moments. With season 6 on the cards, it is also unclear whether season 5 will even get to Diana’s death. It may serve as a dramatic season finale, or simply be left for the final series.

Still, we won’t be seeing any of that until November 2022. In the meantime, maybe it's worth bingeing a few documentaries about the royal family and reminding yourself what really happened.

Axel Metz
Axel Metz

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Tesla models to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and a degree in English Literature means he can occasionally be spotted slipping Hemingway quotes into stories about electric sports cars.